Yeah, I kinda thought my trainer was kidding about the whole CS thing. But it is WAY popular here. I go into the Baganoor government building to teach English, and 50 year old tax guys are playing CS. The bank workers are playing CS. This little old guy in the internet cafe wearing old school Mongolian clothing (the del) is playing CS. It’s crazy 😀.
I’m glad I’m out in the khodoo (country side). The city is way crazy. I figure half a nation’s population living in one place would do that.
Baganuur is way Russian in the way it’s built. It’s this splat of apartments in the middle of no where. There’s another half of the city about 3 miles away on another side of a hill that’s completely abandoned. The main city is made up of 57 apartment complexes (I think), 2 ger districts, 3 schools, 1 bank, 1 open market, and 1 government building. There’s also a mine about 2 miles away where we teach English. To about every 2 apartment complexes, there’s a gadzar (restaurant, literally means ‘a place’) and a khonsnii delgoor (grocery store) on the first floor of a building. They’re usually around 15-20 feet square rooms where you can buy some ‘ish or grab some food for cheap. It’s the same out in the ger districts. They have squat little cinder buildings every other 2 rows or so. I’ll send pictures, but the USB reader on this computer just seems to be a face port with no actual innards.
It’s been pretty smooth sailing. Got stranded out in the mountains for about 3 hours at night, but it was cool. There’s no light pollution in Mongolia, the sky is amazing. The branch is good out here. There’s one thing here that’s way reverse from America though. The youth are way more active here than the adults, especially the men. Out of like 20 people that were there, most were kids (like these two little brothers that are like 10 or something that trundle off to church even if their parents don’t come), their mothers, and 2 priesthood holders over 30. The branch president is Elder Bat Munkh from the other companionship. It’s cool though, two of the YSA age members go with us a lot. Galthaa (his name means ‘my fire’) and Ugii (she has a longer name, but nicknames in Mongolia are the first syllable of your name then ‘gii’, so my nickname is Mongolian would be said “boogie,” figures, that’s what you called me as a kid.) are the ones that go with us for the most part. We teach a lot of lessons, so it’s good. People are usually way more relaxed when they see us walking around and laughing with someone from the city.
Next random thought: Being a big fat white guy in Mongolia makes you an automatic celebrity. After walking the whole city for a week, I think I might be the biggest human being here. The biggest guy I’ve met here was still about 6 inches shorter than me, way skinnier, and he was still bigger than everyone else. It has its problems though. There are usually 2 or 3 people who want to wrestle me on a daily basis, a few more drunks who want to fight, and my companion is always laughing at me because a) girls are talking about me in Mongolian or b) our language students try to flirt in broken English. The funniest part is that they always ask me how much I weigh. Apparently that’s a good thing here.
Anyways, we’ve been working a lot with one family this week. They we’re the first members of the church in Baganuur … but now only the daughters go to church, and the son and the mom just stay home. We’re out there a lot, just getting to know them. It’s a good thing you sent the photo album. They love the pictures of us at the temple, our family when I was a little tot, the Birmingham temple, the staff break, and some of the art shots I took at the MTC. It’s been going way good. They’ve started reading and praying together again, and when we went a few days ago, their son warmed up to us & wanted to take us in two on two basketball, and the dad was attentive. The Dad is a funny guy, he likes to mess with new elders, but most odd Mongolian food isn’t any weirder than the stuff rednecks eat. The second day we came by, he brought out this bowl full of horse meat and boiled innards, handed me a knife and said “id id” (kinda like saying eat up in English). So I shaved of some leg meat, diced some fat of the intestines, and downed it. He stared at me, said something in Mongolian, and then just started laughing. My trainer said that it was ” He’s gonna have no problems here”. They’re going way out into the country side for a month, so we’ll see how they are when they get back.