Katieholder’s Blog

Mixed Bag…

This last week has been a bit of a mixed bag in the way of good and not-so-good days…

Monday was spent waiting for word about Ichko’s application that she turned in two weeks ago…no word that day, so Burne, Ichko and I were kind of on edge. The next day, I was done waiting, so I called the EARC woman myself to find out if she was going to be able to go onto the next stage of the application process, the TOEFL exam (an English comprehension exam that is extremely difficult and one of the hurdles many Mongolian students struggle to clear).

So, I called Mogii, chit chatted for a minute and just came out and asked her if Ichko was going to take the TOEFL. She said that she is!!! I asked when the exam was going to be given, and she said that Ichko was scheduled for May 15th which only gave us two weeks to cram. Well, aside from this whole application process, Ichko also has her own regular final exams to deal with this month so we really couldn’t work any this week. However, her mother and she went to the school director and asked him if Ichko could have a week off of school to prepare. He said yes, and so Ichko and I will be spending all of next week together.

Since we couldn’t study together this week, I let Ichko borrow some books and DVD’s to keep up her English lessons. I never thought of “Edward Scissorhands” as a teaching tool before, but that’s what it’s being used for now.

Soooo, I was having a pretty good week, feeling good about Ichko’s progress and really looking forward to the Cinco de Mayo party Brad and I are hosting at my apartment on Saturday (which means it’s technically an Ocho de Mayo party, but whatever) for our sitemates and co-workers. We found tortilla chips in Erdenet! Bring on the nachos!

Then an email from my Mom showed up in my inbox on Thursday. She told me that my beloved cat Penelope was diagnosed with an abdominal illness that can’t be treated and is fatal. The vet told her she may have only a week to live. After reading that, I basically cried at my desk all day long which worried my co-workers. Mongolians generally do NOT like cats, but my co-workers know that I have Caaral and a couple of “American cats”. They gave me hugs, patted me on the shoulder and brought me tissues throughout the day. It was the most difficult day I’ve had here so far, and the only day where I wished I was back home so I could snuggle my baby girl Penelope.

I went home early at 5:30 on the orders of Odnoo (my best Mongolian friend here and great co-worker). I called my parents and talked to them for about 30 minutes before they had to head off to work themselves. The talk helped a lot and I also got to Skype with my good friend Molly for a little while which also helped.

So, I’m back at work today and am really resolved to distract myself with grant research, emails, program discussions, etc. to keep myself focused on why I’m here in the first place. I also have some party planning to do, English club, and TOEFL preparation to keep me busy this next week.

I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures of the Cinco/Ocho de Mayo party and post them on Facebook for anyone who is interested. Also, could you guys do a favor for me and go through your DVD collections and pull out any movies you don’t want anymore so that I could lend them out to my English students in the fall? Disney stuff is actually really great as are romantic movies (comedy doesn’t really translate well here). Thanks everyone in advance! Remember to Enjoy Your Amenities!

‘The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.’


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  1. * rob says:

    I’m pretty sad about Penelope as well, but like you said you can’t think about that right now, you’re busy enough. When you come back this summer we can buy alot of zombie movies to use as teaching tools. Do you think that would help? Ha!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 2 months ago
    • * katieholder says:

      I think zombie movies would help immensely. It would help me identify possible allies to take with me during an invasion. Helping English…I don’t know. Maybe it would teach them how to use 4 letter words correctly.

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago

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