144 Character Poems: Set 2

A Slender Man He is so slender, like the lengthening Spring days. Thin as the shadows, glowing like the sun. Let’s see how we can make him break. Composed 03/05/14 Air Dried Dirty water cleans our clothes constantly assaulted by wind, dust, and earth, drying snaky river beds into our creases, seemingly impossible to remove. […]

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Copper Tour

I’ve visited the copper mine in Erdenet before, but I never ventured outside the viewing area above the pit, nor have I ever learned much about the mine itself or industry in the city. A few weeks ago, I was able to get a glimpse into a few businesses working with copper in the city. […]

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Spring Fires

Spring is marked by many unfavorable natural occurrences in Mongolia, such as high winds, dust storms, and perpetual sandstorms in the Gobi. One man-made disaster happens quite frequently: fires. They aren’t accidents or anything of the such. They are controlled burns. Sometimes. One March morning I woke up and noticed my apartment smelling of smoke. […]

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Rummaging through rusted iron bins filled with ripped bags and scattered bones, He chances upon empty bottles made of plastic that he sheathes in a hollowed flour sack. Up to his waist in remnants from his neighbors, he sifts carefully so as not to miss any. He fills three sacks and exits, carefully closing and […]

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Apartment Life in Winter

While nowhere near as challenging as living in a ger during the most frigid of months, apartment living can be a bit problematic, especially if you’re not in one of the larger cities in Mongolia. Infrastructure problems can be challenging. Let’s see if any of you apartment dwellers out there outside of Mongolia face similar […]

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Ger Life in Winter

I can finally write about the quintessential Mongolian experience: Ger life in the winter (My apologies to other volunteers who know this life all too well reading this post; been there, done that, right?). The traditional Mongolian dwelling– a felt circle tent known as a ger– is designed to be lived in by more than […]

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If I had lived 100 years ago, I would have been dead in 10; Plucked away to fight in some foreign war in a land that, if people squinted at me to blur the colors in my face, they would swear was my own, or perhaps eaten away from the inside by disease that festered […]


That Time I Had Bedbugs

If you’ve never had bedbugs, I salute you. They are a vicious breed that clings tenaciously to life. My experience was long, quite long, and made my summer quite difficult. I returned from the Reindeer Herders to my home in Erdenet to discover that I was waking up with small red bumps all over any […]

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Ger Districts

On the cusp of every large city in Mongolia, you will find a hodgepodge of fences, wooden houses, and gers. Many describe it as a shanty town that expands for miles beyond the city proper, showing no signs of slowing its expansion. City planners were concerned about this ever since the 1960s, according to Owen […]

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