April 28, 2010

Still plugging away in Mongolia

First, to all my loyal readers, I'm sorry the content for the blog has been a little thin, a little hit or miss. I assure you it's not because I'm sitting here doing nothing. Quite the opposite, I'm probably doing too much. But I'm doing things I want to do, not things I have to do. So, just to let you know I'm alive, here's a short list of what's been happening:

Classes are going well although attendance is a little off. I figure since most of my students are also university students, they are busy getting ready for their final exams so I don't really blame them for missing their English classes. Which is a good thing because I registered almost 25 students for each class when I only have desks for 20.

I know it's getting close to summer because some of my students are preparing to come to America in a summer work program. Obi, Shinee & Nasas found a job a Yellowstone National Park through one of the many work agencies (who charge about $1000 to find someone a summer job in America). We sat down and figured it out and the girls will won't make back all their expenses but the experience itself is worth it. But applying is only half the battle - now they must get a visa and that takes a personal interview. So I've been going over their answers to possible questions.

One of Ani Gyalmo's meditation students also asked for help with her visa interview. I agreed but later found out she works for one of these summer work agencies and asked me to help. "Only ten students" she said, so I went on my day off. Turned out to be 40 students and the girls boss tried to get me to commit to working three days a week for the next couple of weeks. You know the old saying, give an inch they'll take a mile - definitely holds true in Mongolia. In the end I agreed to work again on my day off next week.

I really want to work on my Mongolian this summer. Actually, to tell the truth, I need to begin my Mongolian again. With that in mind, and also for the work I've been doing on the vocabulary lists for the English Club, I've been exploring the world of digital dictionaries. As you can imagine, most are not for use on a Mac but a few enterprising programmers have figured out a way. Unfortunately, it's complicated and despite successfully getting three English-to-Mongolian dictionaries loaded on the Macbook, I can't seem to get the other dictionaries to work, especially the newest one.

Anyway, for those with a Mac and what to add English-to-Mongolian dictionaries to your Dictionary.app, here are the files. Just un-zip them, and put in Library > Dictionaries folder. Start Dictionary.app and go to preferences to check mark the new dictionaries. You can also move them further up the list if you want. On the front of the dictionary, if you want a shorter name, just control-click the title to edit.

AACS English to Mongolian dictionary
Tamuka's English to Mongolian dictionary
Toli English to Mongolian dictionary

The weather is kind of crazy, warm one day and then it snows yesterday. Mongolia doesn't get spring rains like in the west (they come in the summer) but they have dust storms instead. Don't leave a window open during the day, or you'll find a fine grit covering everything in your room.

What else, English Club is going well with capacity crowds. Every week we study a group of vocabulary - last week it was men's clothes, this week it's women's clothes. And we've expanded the Saturday afternoon movie to be every week. I've amassed almost three hundred movies so there is plenty to watch.

And, then there's always getting ready for Summer Intensive (4 weeks every day instead of 10 weeks twice a week) in June and maybe a TOEFL class in August.

Like I said earlier, I want to work more on my Mongolian this summer. The other thing is I want to loose weight. It seems everyone here is worried about my health. The weather is definitely improving so I don't really have an excuse. My days are tentatively scheduled:

  • 6:00AM - alarm, get dressed, meditation
  • 6:30AM - stretching, workout
  • 7:30AM - run or yoga
  • 8:30AM - breakfast
  • 9:00AM - relaxation
  • 10:00AM - Mongolian studies
  • 11:00AM - begin work

Now, you might say that starting work at 11 is a might late, but remember, I teach until 7:30PM (often helping students after class) and I work 6 days a week. Anyway, that's the plan. I'll let ya' know at the end of the summer how it's going.

Hopefully I'll write more next time. But until then, take care and see ya' when I see ya'.