Monday, December 19, 2011


"I'm bored" might be my Peace Corps Mongolia catch phrase. I would choose "I'm cold" but too many other people would use that too. Since I'm bored a lot, I thought sharing a list of things I do to alleviate my boredom would allow all you people to understand my day to day life a little bit better. I'm not a champion at organization, so enjoy the random list!

1. Typical time wasters: TV, books, movies
Since being in Mongolia, I have watched 4 Star Trek serieses in their entirety and 3 of the movies; I've watched all 5 Planet of the Ape movies; I've watched the Star Trek trilogy (the original 3), the Resident Evil quadrilogy, 28 Day and 28 Weeks later, and so many, many more. I've also read novels, short stories and essays of many varieties. This category takes up most of my bored time.

2. Studying Languages
I'm not a studier in general so I only do this when forced or bored. Since being in Mongolia, I've picked up phrases in English, Mongolian, German, French, Japanese, Hebrew, Russian, Chinese and Spanish. Not very many phrases...specifically "This is an apple." Anyone who knows this phrase in another language, please contribute.
I also toy around with the Rosetta stone for Chinese on a regular basis. I don't intend to visit China...but knowing how to say hello and this egg is blue might come in handy someday.

3. Cleaning or Rearranging
My house has three rooms but somehow requires constant cleaning. I attempted to keep this up last year and was rewarded by frequent comments on my messy house. I've given up this year and simply forbidden people from commenting. I do still spend an inordinate amount of time sweeping the carpet and tiles, washing laundry, cleaning dishes and wiping off tables, but a lot less than last year. Now really deep cleaning only happens when I expect guests. I also just love to move furniture around.

4. Communications
With rare exceptions, if you've received a letter from me it was probably written while I was bored. That's not to say that you aren't important, but that I'm bored an awful lot and if I'm not bored then I'm busy and couldn't be writing a letter. So please don't take offense. Each month I spend a few hours writing letters which describe my incredibly busy and useful life. Also if you've recieved a phone call or e-mail or any other form of communication from me, this was because I was bored. Or maybe because I needed to ask or say something important, but I was probalby bored too.

5. Games
I have upwards of 150 games played on all the standard windows games. Everything from Freecell and Solitare to Minesweeper and Mahjongg. I also have downloaded and played Mario Kart, Zelda and Dungeon Crawl for the computer. I received a gameboy and some games in packages from my family. In the few months since they've arrived I've racked up over 20 hours each in Pokemon and Final Fantasy and I've beaten 3 out of 4 levels on PictoPuzzle. I play card and board games with my students from school on a weekly basis and I work on puzzle books for hours on end each month.
6. Listening to podcasts, OTR plays, and audio books
This week I listened to "the Host" by Stephenie Meyers in 2 sittings. I spent 12 hours on Sunday sitting on my couch just listening... It isn't even a good book. I have some radio plays from George Orwell and the like, and they're very enjoyable. I don't have the "War of the Worlds" broadcast but I've listened to the Count of Monte Cristo. The Radio plays are condensed of course, but I'm sorry that this artform has fallen from grace. I think I'd enjoy listening to them on the radio during long road trips or whatever. I've listened to a couple other plays and books, but most frequently I listen to podcasts. A friend gave me hundreds of "Stuff you should know" episodes and I listen while playing games or while cleaning the house.

7. Walking around my town aimlessly
My town isn't big, but I've walked the length of it a few times. They've put up a new statue of Sukhbataar and a really big Mongolian flag. We've also got a few new stores which I wander through sometimes. They're pretty fancy. We have blenders for sale! and tin foil. Exciting developments.

8. Buying unnecessary things
Sometimes I don't want to wander aimlessly, so I decide that I need another package of yeast or some cookie or candy just as an excuse to go to the delguur (store). Other unnecessary (but not useless) items purchased this way include thermos, gloves, hair brushes & combs, tooth brushes, hand rags, and dry soup mix.

9. Building or Baking unnecessary things
I built a pinata! which was unnecessary but awesome. I built a second one too, which is still sitting in my house with no purpose (next year's birthday I guess). I'm knitting a pillow...but it will never be finished. I finished knitting a silly woolen christmas tree. I bake cookies and cakes whenever I have the ingredients and the desire and the will. That happens surprisingly often. I made chocolate cake the other day in about 30 minutes. Delicious.
10. Hopeless projects

11. Playing with the cat
I adopted a cat from another volunteer who left. I spend some of my free time convincing him to jump very very high to catch a toy mouse. I spend some of my other free time rescuing mice that he's torturing. Catch, release, catch, release, catch, release and then I take the mouse outside. It's too terrified to run anymore...
12. Spacing out
Staring off into nothingness, which I've done a couple time just while typing this.

Now, after reading all that (if you read all that) you're probably convinced that I don't do anything productive here in Mongolia, but I promise that I also teach lessons for during the school day 20 hours a week or so, and have a few clubs and extra lessons after classes. Add to that my daily chores of fetching water, chopping wood, making fires, and cooking and my ability to slack off this much is actually kind of impressive, in my own special way.

Anyway, Happy Holidays to everyone out there. Enjoy the Christmas lights and the pretty wrapping paper for me.

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