Mongolia and North Korea

I was visiting with one of my teacher’s families, talking with her husband, when he asked me what I would be doing after Mongolia. I told him I would be traveling, visiting my friends in Korea. He the asked me which Korea I was going to. It didn’t register at first until he said “North […]

Read More Mongolia and North Korea

The Art of Mongolian Card Playing

Mongolians have two main cards game that they admire: Huzur (Хөзөр) and Moshik (Мощиг). Huzur (Хөзөр) The ultimate goal is to beat the card that was played before you and play all the cards from your hand. After playing a card, you must draw back up to the number of cards you started the game with. […]

Read More The Art of Mongolian Card Playing

Mongolian Beers

With its penchant for vodka, it’s easy to sometimes overlook the selection of beers that Mongolia has to offer. Granted, most commercial brands of beer, no matter where you are in the world, are not the greatest, I find that most expats dislike the brews of Asia. Mongolia doesn’t exactly have the best commercial brands […]

Read More Mongolian Beers

The Year 2013 in News: Mongolia

While eating dinner at a local restaurant, something peculiar came on TV: An English newscast read by a Mongolian woman. I had never seen anything like it before, but apparently, it is out there. She was reviewing the year’s top stories in Mongolia. Here are some of the stories I remember her talking about that […]

Read More The Year 2013 in News: Mongolia

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 […]

Read More Ger Districts

Out of Sight

He curls on the frozen earth Beneath the dumpster Beside the parking lot that, So poorly constructed, Pools water in rain and snow Which then freezes into A lake where no one can Tread without a great deal Of frictionless agony. He peeks out when he hears Someone coming to discard Their rubbish and Unwanted […]

Read More Out of Sight

Offering Condolences

Death. It’s a topic that makes most cultures squirm a bit, and I’ve seen more than my fair share of Mongolians aptly avoid the subject. Some believe that speaking about it invites it into your life. I’ve recently had two of my teachers experience such a terrible loss. I was at a loss for what […]

Read More Offering Condolences

Drivers and Travel

Traveling by car in Mongolia can be quite an interesting experience (or ordeal, some say) for those not expecting what is to come. Most routes from villages (soums) to city centers are unpaved, often rocky and bumpy, and can last for several hours at a time. Mongolia is building more paved roads between major areas […]

Read More Drivers and Travel

Thanksgiving in Mongolia

This year for thanksgiving, I did two different activities: Turkeys with my teachers and chicken with fellow volunteers. I was talking to Halee, another volunteer in Hentii aimag, when she mentioned making hand turkeys with her speaking club. For the uninitiated, a hand turkey is when you trace your hand on a sheet of paper […]

Read More Thanksgiving in Mongolia

Traditional Mongolian Symbols

There are many patterns and symbols present in Mongolian life that have existed in the country for hundreds of years. You see them everywhere: On clothes, cookies, doorways, buildings, etc. Knowing what they mean and why they are put where they are can give you a rare insight into the inner workings of Mongolian culture. […]

Read More Traditional Mongolian Symbols