Posted by: soupysays | September 25, 2008

legal immigration, in a nutshell

A fantastic, visual representation of the journey it takes to become an American citizen (link via Metafilter).

The graphic did leave off one (long shot) route to America, diversity immigrant visa lottery. During my time in Mongolia, I had many many people ask me about green cards, and beyond marriage to an American, that visa lottery is it. Even attaining a student or travel visa is out of reach for most. Perhaps this chart should be hung in the US Embassy supported American Center of Culture and Information in Hovd.

America – the world’s biggest tease.

Satire. The only way I can process…all of this…America.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted by: soupysays | August 27, 2008


I have not forgotten my blog. Really.

I am currently couchsurfing in Budapest. After 5 weeks of buses and trains, I’ll get on a plane for Dublin tomorrow evening. After a quick beer run in the land of Guniess, I spend Labor Day weekend in NYC. I get to Denver, CO at 10:45pm on Sept. 1st and just make it home in time to wish my brother a happy 23nd birthday.

Currently, my mind is a bit of mess of languages and cultures. It’s hard to comprehend that tomorrow I’ll be back in a country where everything around me will be English (although with accents!). I’m excited to be back in the US. I’m looking forward to meeting with family and friends. However, I’m a bit nervous going from vacation mode to “find job and adjust to American culture” mode.

Leaving Mongolia was hard. Like crying even. Hopefully I can sum up that experience into words. I’ve been trying, but it’s hard. Not crying hard. I’m not a baby.

Posted by: soupysays | March 28, 2008

More Mongolian tidbits

The World’s Three:
Dark is a night without the moon.
Dark is a person without knowledge
Dark is a flock without sheep.


One log is not a fire
One person is not a home

A man falls 7 times and raises 8.

A person comes to a home with the man’s name and leaves with the woman’s name.

Posted by: soupysays | March 21, 2008

color molor

Recently, I have been reading Mongolian culture and folktale passages with my Mongolian tutor. I thought I’d share a little.

Traditional color symbolism:

  • White: The color. During Tsaagan Sar (Lunar New Year), people wore white colors, gave white gifts, rode white horses and ate white (dairy) food.
  • Red: Color of warmth and fire. Happy people wear red.
  • Green: Color of the earth.
  • Yellow: Color of Lamas. (Mongolians practice the “yellow hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism.)
  • Blue: Color of the sky. Blue is a popular color for deels
  • Black: Color of bad feelings, bad ideas, bad people. Black is also the symbol for grief. However, another name for husband is “black person.”

Like I said, these are the traditional associations. Now, people wear black whenever they feel like it, and no one cares what color your gift is.

Posted by: soupysays | March 13, 2008

spring in mongolia

Spring sand storms bring
an icky grimy feeling.

Also, being caught in spring sand storms induces such thoughts as, “Aw man, I just washed my hair two days ago.”

Posted by: soupysays | March 3, 2008

another reason to travel light

America’s Worst Airline Will Charge $25 to Lose Your Bag: Tim Leffel’s Cheapest Destinations Blog

Travelers reacted with annoyance and anger earlier when United announced that it was going to start charging $25 to check a second bag, but at least with United you stand a good chance of your bag actually showing up at your destination. Now USAirways is following suit.

ugh. I’m glad that I hauled a huge suitcase full of Mongolia items back to America this past winter. I flew both of those airlines on my recent visit.

Note to USAir: You are feeding passengers again. Cut this expense. I only had a 3 hour flight; I could have lived. If I hadn’t just come from Mongolia, I probably wouldn’t have been that excited about it.

Additional Note to USAir: Even though my flight was delayed and I almost missed my connection, Daddy Day Camp playing on the screen above me was the most painful part of my USAir experience.

Posted by: soupysays | January 9, 2008


As I got on the plane to Korea last month, I got slightly emotional about leaving. I was reminded that my PC service will have 8 months to go. Although I have no plans to extend my service, it still has been an important part of my life.Today, I am in Korea. I’ll be back in Mongolia before dark. However, excitement about returning has been numbed by the fact that it is January. Our Saftey and Security Manager reminded me of this via e-mail:

I would like to inform you that it is getting ver cold these days in Mongolia, especially, 11-16 Jan,It will be the coldest time in last 6 years in Mongolia.It will be -35-45C at night, and -25-35 at day time. 

For you Celsius challenged folk, that’s -31 to -49F at night and -13 to -31F during the day.

Posted by: soupysays | November 27, 2007

Holiday Eating Season

Mongolian Peace Corps Volunteer’s waistlines are subject to an extra long holiday eating binge. We still celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas by making stuffing, cookies, pies, and cooking chickens that we have slaughtered ourselves*. Then comes New Year’s. This is a big holiday in Mongolia. Every Mongolian workplace has their own party which includes eating, drinking, dancing and Russian champagne. In the beginning of February is Tsaagan Sar, the Lunar New Year. That holiday is marked by 3 – 7 days of endless meat dumplings, dairy products and vodka.

This year my holiday eating has gotten off to a fantastic start. First I celebrated Thanksgiving with my co-workers with a Thanksgiving pot luck. I brought pizza, and my co-workers all put their money together to buy boiled meat.

The Hovd volunteers celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend. Besides having chicken instead of turkey, we managed to perfectly re-create American holiday food.

And in two and half weeks, I’m going to spend three weeks eating Tex-Mex, sandwiches, dark green vegetables, ham, turkey, and every other traditional Christmas food. Oh, and enjoying drinking coffee and quality beer.

Yes, I’m coming to America.

I decided to come to the land of supermarkets, fountain drinks and infrastructure for a few weeks of long underwear-less vacation.

Here is my schedule:

Phoenix: Dec 16 – 20
San Antonio: Dec 20 – 25
Houston: Dec 25 – 27
San Antonio: Dec 27 – 31
Phoenix: Dec 31 – Jan 7

Yeah, that’s a bit of travel, but I doomed myself to it by visiting my family over the holidays. However, I’m flying between AZ and TX which is a lot nicer than my family’s traditional CO to TX drive.

Please let me know if you will be in those places while I am. I’d love for you to take me out for dinner or a beer. :)

Sorry if our paths will not cross during my short stint back in the homeland, but the ones I care about have done an excellent job of spreading out all over the place (says the woman that lives in Mongolia). We can meet up next year.

*Actually, the chicken thing is only a Thanksgiving tradition out where I live. And this tradition was started last year by me.

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