Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Russian Words

Mongolia was basically occupied/built up by Russia for about 70 years. For example, the building we live in, and all the other Apartment buildings that look exactly like it all over town, was built by Russian military. Architecture is not the only thing the Russians built here. Because of their influence there are many words that we can easily recognize as similar to english. It doesn't matter if it is Minute or Second, Machine or Taxi, Meter or Allergy (with a Ga sound). Computer or Medicine Capsule, they are all spelled and known as "Russian Words"

This week I walked into a store and was pretty sure what I was looking for had a "Russian" name. "Man Aize" I carefully said with my best Russian accent. Blank stare from the clerk. "Mai Own Aze" I said again and again, and then finally walked out of the store concluding that I must be mistaken about the word being the same as English. Walked into school and asked my teacher in frustration: "How do you say mayonaise in Mongolian?" She replied by saying with the same pronunciation you or I would in an American store: "Mayonaise". That day I ate my tuna with cheese instead, and learned that sometimes the language is simpler than it seems.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Our Classroom

This is the room where our lessons and tests happen. Our room can get a little cold at times, as it's on the North side of the building. Our teacher helps us keep warm by bringing in an electric heater. Plus we drink lots of hot liquids.
Written on the whiteboard behind us is the date this picture was taken. Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Parentspeak Decoded

The other night at dinner, I was asking Renee about the following day's activities using Mongolian so the kids wouldn't get their hopes up or start yelling their vote for the whole restaurant to hear. I finished saying my encoded message just as Maggie brightly exclaimed "I want to ride a horse tomorrow!" Foiled again. Her language at Pre-school is progressing faster than we thought. Maggie got to have pony rides at her birthday. She and Lydia are getting better at riding horses, and speaking Mongolian!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Boy Named Sue

Any fans of Johnny Cash out there? I never thought I would identify so closely the song he made popular, written by Shel Silverstein.

Last week our pastor did two things. 1/ asked me to talk in front of everybody for 15 minutes in Mongolian. 2/ Gave me a Mongolian name. Number one is behind me now. Number two may stick around a little longer.

My new name sounds like Sue Hay, but in cyrillic is spelled Cuxee. Everyone seems to like it, especially Mongolians. Probably that's because Cuxee is the name of Mongolia's national hero who freed the country from Chinese rule in 1920. The name means Ax. Since he became a hero, they call him as Cuxbataar, which means Ax Hero. There's a city up near Russia named after him.

Hearing me called Cuxee, you may think of the American name grin to the lyrics of the song: "A Boy Named Sue"