Friday, December 3, 2010

Mongolian Dentists

Okay, so I went to the dentist actually a long time ago, but this is the first chance I've really had to update since then. This probably means that I'm going to exaggerate a lot since my imagination has had so long to work on the actual experience. In order to be more accurate I've decided to give a little summary of the tools used in order from most normal to the weirdest. Don't expect accuracy in naming the tools.

Hookie thingy - exactly the same as all dentist hook things. Used to scrap off plaque or whatever it is that they do.

Dentist drill - essentially normal, except that it seemed bigger and certainly made a much louder noise and caused my head to vibrate a little

X-ray - I suppose the x-ray itself it probably normalish, but i had to hold the film in place by myself. Also, for my first x-ray I had a towel to protect me from the rays, not sure how effective that was...

Mouth Guard - It was some very strange thing that went into my mouth and had a plastic hook for holding my tongue away from where the dentist was working. I'm pretty sure she broke it out for our last two dentist appointments because my tongue was very uncooperative for the first three appointments. She wasted so many of the cotton ball things trying to keep it out of the way. Anyway, the mouth guard thing seems like a good idea at first, but it is very very uncomfortable.

Local Anesthetic - I got real numbing medicine too, but the local anesthetic is basically lip gloss which is (supposedly) capable of numbing. After several hundred seconds (no idea how long it actually was, but by the time the procedure was almost over) my lips actually did start to tingle with numbness. I still don't know why they decided that my lip needed to be numb for the root canal.

Push-Pins (of infinite evil) - The push-pins were the most painful part of my mongolian dentistry experience. My dentist had a large assortment of these things in multiple colors and lengths, but they are essentially very very long and thin push pins which were used to scrap out the inside of my tooth. They were used just about every appointment and by the last time just the sight of them made me flinch away. Scary things, hope you never see them.

Metal Rod - Not at all sure what this was used for, but it is exactly what it sounds like. It was a metal rod...which was held under an open flame (lighter) for a while until it was burning hot and then placed into my mouth. It actually didn't hurt, just was really really freaky to smell burning tooth.

Anyway, after 5 appointments my tooth feels 100% better, so all the strange tools did their job appropriately. Talk to every one later...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mongolian Root Canal

So, I woke up a week ago today with a terrible terrible toothache, so I called the Peace Corps doctor and caught the next taxi/meeker/bus trip into Ulaanbataar for a dentist appointment and was promptly told that I needed a root canal. Now, I've always been told and seen on TV that these are not pleasant procedures, but they are very very painful. Luckily, I have the disposition to kind of not remember the pain after it's over. So I know it was painful, but I don't really remember it now. I had three appointments during my week in UB and not one of them ended before I was in tears. Now, I have a week off from treatment before I go back to dentist next friday. I've decided to go home for this week. The toothache is entirely gone right now, I just have the weird feeling of a giant hole in my tooth.
I did get some really great stuff out of my trip to UB though. I got the chance to buy some nice American cereal for a fellow pcv that really wanted them, and I found Halloween costumes! I love halloween so this is a big deal. I'm going to be a skeleton. There were also pumpkins and I'm really regretting not buying one for a jack-o-lantern, but it's too late now. At the time, carrying one back to my soum seemed like a daunting task.
Anyway, right now I'm visiting some friends in Darkhan as a pit stop on the way home. I kind of feel guilty about this since I skipped out for so long already, but I wanted to see their apartment and visit for a while and then it was too late to find a ride back home. I'll leave early in the morning, so I won't miss out on too much time.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween, the best holiday there is. And Thanksgiving which is okay, but not nearly as cool.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's been ages!

Why hello world (meaning my two followers), how has life been treating you these last few months? I have had quite a number of exciting experiences, but I really don't have the time or inclination to relate them now. Suffice it to say, that I am now alive and living in Mongolia. I have been teaching at a secondary school for the last month and have forgotten most of my mongolian language already. I have made very very few changes in my school. I have introduced the word "vacation" as opposed to "holiday" and, just today, introduced "Yo, wuz up" to the mongolian-English vocabulary. What great accomplishments.

Despite the fact that I am teaching them nothing, my mongolian friends and neighbors are incredibly helpful and nice. They listen to me destroy their language daily and usually laugh with good humor. They also come over to my home and clean it for me, which I actually don't like. I happen to think my house is nice and comfortable...It has a lived-in feel to it. They also help me carry my water and chop my wood and show great solicitude about my cold feet. One of my co-teachers even brought me a pair of woolen slippers to keep my toesies warm.

From my porch, I can actually see Russia, though I cannot see the Russian president's house. There is a large and beautiful cathedral across the border from my town, and it is one of my first sights in the mornings. My cooking skills improve daily. I can now make a better omlette than I ever could manage in the states, I can fry dumplings with the best of them (not really...but decently enough), and I even managed to make steamed banana bread which was delicious. I lack nothing in my life right now to make me happy except maybe a hot shower and a visit from people back home.

I hope the world is in as contented of a state, but I doubt it. Have a wonderful next couple of months, if I forget to update this again.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Graduation Approaches

After 17+ years of being a student, it's almost over! My final papers are due, my student teaching portfolio is due, and my cap and gown have been purchased. With most of my fears of failure now past, I can really feel confident that I actually get to leave in June for Mongolia. There has been a tiny voice telling me not to get overly excited until the diploma touches my fingers, but in just two weeks, it'll do just that.
Following graduation, I'll have just one month to visit family and get in all the American sights and culture possible. Then, I'm off to the Land of Ghengis (Chinggis) Khan, freezing temperatures and beautiful sunshine and blue skies. I've done my shopping, told my apartment manager and given notice at work. All that's left is to enjoy my final month and pack my bags!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Clearing Out

Greetings and salutations to you, my reader. It is a pleasure to meet you. Or rather I hope it's a pleasure for you to meet me. I'm Lauren, and at this moment this is a very sad and empty blog. But, soon enough it should be full of my hopes, dreams, aspirations, and desires. I should, very soon, actually have some things of interest to relate. For now, I'm afraid my life is as boring as it is filled with menial uninteresting tasks. I go to school and I work.

My routine and dull existence was shaken up a couple months ago when I received my invitation to serve in the Peace Corps. I've started this blog as an outlet during my preparation for the trip and during my time there. I'll be serving in Mongolia for two years as an English teacher. I graduate in May and leave in June. I'm young and inexperienced, but I still hope I have something to contribute and some help to offer.

Before I can leave, I have to clean and empty my apartment. I am not an incredibly neat person. I understand that organization is key in the world, but somehow that understanding has never made its way into my personal living space. So I have a large job ahead of me for Spring cleaning. So far, I have a large bag of papers saved up from years of school work ready for the recycling center and a box of random books, clothes, movies, tools and electronics ready for the Goodwill, but there's no end in sight. I also have a large pile of things which I cannot bring myself to donate/throw away but which I also cannot choose to take with me. What should I do with this pile...