Love as though you have never been hurt before,
Sing as though no one can hear you,
Live as though heaven is on earth.”
During the middle of June, 20 volunteers embarked on a journey to visit the reindeer herders to bring them a mobile library, teach life skills, and improve their health. The group was split into the East and West taigas after over 22 hours of traveling by Russian vehicles on unpaved roads.
We finally arrived at Tsaganuur, Khovsgul province, where we spent a night to relax before we had to go on a 6-hour horse-back trip to get to the reindeer community.
We watched the sunrise
Watch a local go out for a morning catch
Helped a local fill and carry her water jug home (after i took this picture)
Watched Brittany get pushed over by a dog while doing yoga by the lake
And awaited our horses and guides arrival
While the guides packed the horses…
I prepared myself by using knee pads as padding for my thigh/butt…they laughed, but I was the one bruise-free in the end, muahahahah
During the journey, my horse would race other horses, then would stop, eat and race back to the front. We called him The Beibs because he kept whipping his hair out of his face.
After crossing rivers,
and learning to swoop up flowers from the ground,
we finally arrive in the reindeer community.
Upon our arrival, we pitched up our own tents
and collected wood poles from a kilometer away to begin to build our community teepee
We laid out the tent canvass, cut it up…
and Tuvshne helped us sew them into the appropriate sizes we needed to cover our whole teepee.
Gambaa (left), the community leader, Nick (middle), and our Mongolian counterpart and an English teacher, Serdambaa (right), worked together to tie the 3 poles that was the foundation.
We began to set up the rest of the poles,
lay the canvass across the poles,
tied the canvass down to prevent from blowing away,
and waited for the kids arrival! As we set up their new library/arts and crafts room for the next 10 days, the kids excitedly ran over to meet us all and see what fun things we had to offer.
Thank you EduRelief and Friends of Mongolia for donating the books and teepee material. Teaching supplies were split amongst the PC volunteers. Next year, we’ll have to be better about getting donations because we all were pretty much living off of nothing until our next payday! If you’d like to donate for next year’s project, let me know! :)
We all came here not knowing what to expect. Some of us heard rumors from tourists that have visited before, some from our Mongolian friends and community members, others didn’t know reindeer herders existed! Some of the rumors include:
- the reindeer people live like animals, they’re filthy and are barbaric
- they don’t speak Mongolian, they only speak Tsuvan (a language of the north)
- they don’t have electricity or access communication to the rest of Mongolia
- they don’t get to eat a lot of candy, so they make great gifts
- they kill their reindeers, they don’t really care for them
- they pee in the river they drink from
- they don’t know how to read or write
- they move 4 times a year
Here’s what we learned:
1. The reindeer herders are hospitable and kind.
Here’s Tuvshne baking us bread because we didn’t have a stove for the 10 days we were there. She even offered us to cook in her place if we wanted to
They showed us how to milk reindeers and let us try it, even though reindeers produce little milk and every drop counts for them
They invited us into their teepees, offering us bread/milk products every time and to just hang out during the beating hot sun or rainy cold weather. They invited us to spend the nights in their teepees during the cold nights, which I was extremely thankful for! :D
They get flour and everything else from the center. Most of their furniture is made out of fresh wood!
2. They actually speak Mongolian and Tsuvan. How else would we have been able to communicate with them?? The younger children have lost Tsuvan because they live in the province’s center during the school year, learning what every Mongolian child learns in school: Mongolian, English or Russian, Geography, Math, Home Economics, History, and Art.
Our books were only there to stay as long as we were, 10 days. We donated it to the province center’s school, where the kids attend so that they don’t have to worry about transporting to books, when they move every season.
It was interesting teaching them a lesson on fruits and vegetables. More than half the items we tried to teach, they’ve never seen in their lives.
3. They do have communication to the province’s center and to the west Taigas. They are warned ahead of time if there are foreigners coming their way through a radio. We were also able to get an update that the volunteers that went to the West side were safe.
Also, if they climb to the very top of the mountain, they get cell phone service. Some of their family members live in town or in UB, so they try to call once a week. We climbed to the top to let our Safety and Security Officer know that we were still alive :) It was about an hour climb.
Anonymous asked: I miss you dear!!!
well, this is sweet :) I wished I knew who you were so that I can say the same!
6am, start the ger fire to make milk with tea. 6:30, milk the cows. 7am, separate the mama and papa sheep/goats from the kids and let them go wandering. 7:30, provide food and water to the little animals to help them grow strong and healthy. 8am collect dung and add it to the pile to dry for the winter. 9am, begin the process of making milk products to sell. Later in the day, hop on his motorcycle or horse (most people use motorcycles these days) to herd the animals back… this is “Hangai’s” daily routine in the springtime. He lives in a ger with solar panels and a car battery that provides electricity, television, landline phone, and nice Mongolian-carved furniture.
“Hangai” helps his parents tend the 100+ animals, each season doing something different, but for that season, pretty much having the exact same routine everyday. The fur of animals grow in the winter, it begins to fall during spring, beginning of summer, so relatives usually come and help cut/pull off the fur (depending on the animal). Sometimes, they even give nice designs/haircuts. The winter is the harshest season for all animals…and people. It’s too cold to milk the animals and they don’t produce much either. If they don’t have a cellar built for them, they may die in the freezing cold. When weather gets in the negatives (wait, that’s normal in the winter…) uhhh, when Mongolia experiences a lot of snow, the animals can’t graze and many, if not all, will starve or freeze to death—this is called a zud. Mongolian herders fear 2 things: a zud and wolves. Some herders have riffles to kill the wolves that are hunting their animals. Because wolves usually attack at night, families sometimes wake up to a bloody field and bone remains. The last zud was in 2010, where “Hangai’s” family lost more than half their livestock. After organizations like World Vision helped his family, they are now doing better and trying to raise as many animals as they had before. When “Hangai” grows up and has a family, his wife and kids will most likely move to the center of town once the kid is old enough to go to kindergarten (2 years old), while he stays back to live his herder life—at least this is how one of my counterpart’s brother’s life is now…Could you live the rest of your life having the same daily routine, while your partner and kids were having a more interesting life?
“Naraa” is a bright and independent young girl. Her school in the countryside only goes up to the 9th grade. For 10th grade, she moved to the center of the province to finish her high school career. Like all other dorm children (190 at my school), all she packed was one carry-on sized bag when she moved into the dorms. Breakfast is at 7am, lunch is at 1pm, and dinner is at 7pm—if you don’t make it, you don’t get to eat. Her younger sister, only 10 years old, followed her to get a better education and also lives with her in the dorm. They get to see their parents on school breaks (3 total) and just until a few years ago, they couldn’t really communicate with their parents due to unavailable landlines. Today she has 2 phones, each carrying a sim of the 2 most popular providers (MobiCom and Skytel). On top of being a rock star (receiving tons of medals from sports competitions, spelling bee, poetry, and Mongolian script), she’s a mother figure to her younger sister. Her parents are herders, so she’s pretty well off. When I first learned about herder families, I thought they were considered as those who live in poverty, however, somebody put it in perspective for me: my monthly Peace Corps stipend is about 250,000 tugriks, while one sheep will sell for 140,000 tugriks at the most (after selling all the milk products you can make from it and fur as well!). Not to say that this comes easily (I’ll introduce you to a herder child in my next blog). “Naraa” rarely visits UB (Ulaanbaatar, the capital) and once she graduates, she’ll be living in the dorms, having to adjust to a developed city full of traffic, buildings with more than 5 floors, public transportation, foreigners roaming the streets, street children begging for food, pollution, restaurants that sell more than just the traditional Mongolian food, even chain restaurants! (KFC just opened at the beginning of June…what a shame). Now imagine being in “Naraa’s” shoes, moving from a small town of less than a thousand, to maybe 12,000 in the provinces’ center, to a city with 1.4 million people, more than half the population of Mongolia…do you think you’d be able to adjust?
Playing frogger to cross the streets and hoping to not slip on the black ice, “Pujee” is a student who was born and raised in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. Every winter, she’s faced with bad congestion due to the pollution from cars and the smoke from the ger districts that gets trapped in the valley that UB was formed in. When people heard that UB was a land of job opportunities, many left their hometowns, pitched up a ger in the ger districts and hoped for a better life. However, they experienced the opposite. UB’s economic divide has become more and more wide. In UB, if you work for the government, a mining company, a cashmere shop, or a tourist company, consider yourself well-off. “Pujee” lives in the school dorms, while her grandparents lives on the outskirts, just a 15 minutes bus ride away…during rush hour, 1.5 hours away. Like many Mongolian children, her parents are divorced and she was raised by her grandparents.
In my town, I’ve noticed many grandparents that are happily married and many parents that are single parents. Many Mongolians get married and have kids at a young age (before 22); if you’re about 25 and single, people begin to question who you are.
”Pujee’s” older sister recently got a job offer in the center of another province as a hotel and restaurant manager—she waited so long for a job offering in UB, but when there wasn’t any, she had to go to the “countryside”. Her older brother, who studied Russian his whole life, is currently working as a translator in Russia. He knows that she enjoys learning English and is good at it, so he’s been pushing her to study abroad. She’s a part of a big brother/big sister program for orphaned kids and hopes to be a Social Worker one day. Social Work is a new concept to Mongolia (just 10 years), so she’s not exactly sure what she’ll end up doing. She’s in a constant state of stress because of UB’s congestion and her unknown future, however, she has entertainment and stress-relief options such as the theaters, bowling alley, children’s park, ski resort just outside of town, endless international meals, salsa clubs, etc that kids outside of UB don’t have. If you were “Pujee” and you got a job offering as a school Social Worker in a province with a population of 21,000, would you be able leave behind all the fun entertainment the city has to offer?
My external hard drive is filled with viruses…I won’t be posting pictures for a while. My next few posts will be about Mongolian Children.
In a quickly developing country, where tradition is intertwined with modernization, the children of Mongolia face a range of issues. From living in the dorms starting at age 8, to being corpally punished, to ditching class for internet cafes, more attention should be given to Mongolian children. June 1st marked International Children’s Day and was celebrated nation-wide…why don’t we celebrate this in America? In this month’s issue :P I’ll share with you the children I’ve met, the choices they have to make, and leave you with something to think about.
For the first one, graduation is coming up and one of my counterpart’s younger brothers is faced with a tough life choice that he may or may not have control over. He is the youngest of 6 siblings and 1 of 2 boys. All of them moved to the center of the province when they were old enough to attend school. His older brother dropped out of high school to help their parents tend the herd of animals (sheep, goats, and horses) that support the whole family’s education and living. Now that “Baatar” is about to graduate high school, he has been asked to live with his brother and parents in the countryside, while all his friends move onto college in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. He’s expressed his dreams of continuing his education, but his parents and older siblings need his help as a herder…what would you do if you were him?
Next time, I’ll post pictures from their graduation. School isn’t out yet, but they celebrate their “bell holiday” about a month before the official last day of school. 5th, 9th, and 11th grade celebrates the award ceremony together, then throughout the day, there’s a party for each grade level. After their graduation, all students prepare and take finals, on top of that, 11th grade students need to prepare for concourse exams that will determine their future college.
June 2nd marked my one year stay in Mongolia. I remember how nervous I was coming in and being overwhelmed by the Peace Corps volunteers that welcomed us briefly at the airport before we were sent off to our first night at a ger camp. Now here I am, moving on up from being the rookie! This year, we only welcomed 40-something volunteers at the airport. This time last year, 68 others came with me and 66 remains. Many years ago, Peace Corps sent volunteers in the winter and all volunteers early terminated! With new volunteers coming in, it means older volunteers going out. To celebrate our last time together as a group of sitemates, we went to visit a family’s home in Ultziit soum, 3 hours away, out in the middle of nowhere. These were the weekend’s activities:
Watching the herd wander off after we separated them from their kids:
Offering water to the kiddies:
Then we walked to Zula’s (one of our town’s English teachers) mom’s house, about 1.5 miles away. She lives on her own, finding herself so bored that she sometimes milks the animals at midnight. She works so hard and has the same routine…I don’t know if I could live this lifestyle…this is her:
She showed us how to milk the mother camels:
We took pictures with the baby camels while mother stared us down:
Cutting camel fur
and picking off the fur that has shed:
Cheering on the boys as we watch them wrangle the horses down to give them haircuts too:
Watching them chase down a horse after it escaped:
Resting before lunch time:
The volunteers of Dundgovi and the hospitable family:
If you followed this link from my facebook status, APRIL FOOLS!
Now, I know you’re curious about my restroom business, so I made this special blog for those of you have asked me how it all works…warning* these pictures may be disturbing and I suggest you not read on if you’re going to complain or judge me!
These are the different restroom options that I’ve experienced…first, INDOOR PLUMBING: arguable the worst and best. The best if there’s a toilet seat and the worst if there isn’t. I prefer outhouse over a non-seated toilet. All apartments have toilets, while homes may or may not. My yard family’s home has running water, but not a toilet or tub.
Second, THE OUTHOUSE:
You should make sure to bring enough toilet paper with you, but don’t bring the whole roll or there’s a chance you may drop it all down the hole!
Position #1: Tip Toe Lean. The newbie leans forward and squats on their tip toes, causing extreme tiredness on the thighs. Maybe I’m just not flexible enough to comfortably have my whole sole touch the ground :
Position #2: Uncontrollable pee. The newbie that only goes when they REALLY need to go will moves side to side, making sure their pee aims into the hole:
Position #3: Hold on to your dear life. The newbie going #2 will find something to help them not fall through the whole by either latching your fingers to the front of the outhouse (with the door closed of course) or…
Position #4: I need support. holding yourself up by putting your arm back against the wall:
Position #5: The skillful squatter. The skilled squatter will practice squatting throughout the day
and will be able to squat back (heels down), relax, and even smoke a cigarette if they desire. (I think this is what my yard dad does…since there’s all these butts down and around the outhouse). I don’t recommend texting in the outhouse like you do on your toilet seats because…well, you might not see it anymore.
Other positions I’ve heard from talking to other volunteers (yes, we talk about our restroom business as if it’s normal) include: straight up sitting down on the planks or kneeling on the planks…ya’ll can use your imagination for those ones :)
Position #6: The friendly position. Sharing an outhouse with someone can really show how close you are with them.
During the winter, we all have different techniques as it’s cold as heck to stay in your outhouse for a long time. Most ger dwellers use their dry sink bucket, which must be emptied every day or else the liquid will freeze and possibly crack your bucket:
Others that are braver will do a little warm up exercise, run out and go as fast as they can!
I like to have good timing and wait until I get to an indoor toilet to go #2.
Some friends and family members were curious about the winter upside-down poopscicle…so I’ll courageously add a picture at the end of this blog.
Position #7: The one where you can see the whole world:
and finally, Position #8: The one where the whole world can see you:
Thanks Devon for taking a picture of me while i do my business. lol
and now for the poopsicle….
okay, I’m not brave enough. you can message me if you really want to see it!
HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY!
Tsagaan Sar, literally translated to “White Moon/Month” is Mongolia’s lunar new year celebration. Before I get into talking about this amazing holiday, I want to talk about the weather, now that it’s starting to warm up.
First, I want to say that I need to be more careful for what I wish for.
January was the coldest I’ve felt in my life! On my facebook status, I jokingly wished Santa for a truckload of coal…and guess what I got:
Before January, I had chopped coal and chopped wood delivered into my little patio, so all I had to do was drag those right in whenever I ran out. Here’s an excerpt from one of my journal entries:
"I’m so exhausted. This whole week has been so exhausting. I’ve come home every night to a freezing ger and I’m having trouble starting my fire on the first try. Why was November and December so easy for my fire to start? Sometimes,after the 5th or 7th match doesn’t do its job, I just want to give up and cry…but I can’t… I’ll just freeze to death. Why did Peace Corps send me to the coldest serving country when my only reservation on my application was that ‘I get cold very easily’? I guess Peace Corps just wanted to do what it does best…challenge us. Coming home after being at work for 8+ hours to drag my coal in from negative degrees and chop my wood and coal has taken a toll on me. I’ve felt so tired at school, sometimes too exhausted to even say ‘Hi’ to people. I want this winter to be over already!"
For English club, I assigned my 10th and 11th grade students to write me a letter about anything that was on their mind, so I did the same. I expressed my tiredness and the hardships of living in a ger on my own—dreading the fact that I had to go home every night to chop wood and coal was always on my mind. When they read this part of my letter, they excitedly volunteered to come over the following weekend to help me chop and bag my fuel! It lasted me about a month, which meant I had way more energy to push through this freezing weather. Overall, I am thankful for my fuel (and my students of course!) for keeping me warm <3
So here’s a little history about Tsagaan Sar (White Moon/Month):
The origins of this name isn’t clear, but some Mongolians believe white symbolizes happiness, purity, and abundance of milk products. Those who celebrate the Lunar New Year like to greet the New Year making everything new so they deep clean their homes and sew new deels (pronounced dells), the Mongolian traditional outfits for the whole family. This year, my counterpart’s mom gifted me with a deel. If you buy the material and get someone to sew it for you, it can cost 60,000 to 200,000 Tugriks, depending on the size and material. Some people don’t wear deels for various reasons, especially the younger generation. Some excuses I’ve heard include being “too fat,” “too short,” or just overall not looking good in one. In bigger cities/towns, most people don’t wear deels because of modernization. I was excited to walk around my town to see all the people in their colorful deels.
The holiday is celebrated for 3 days, sometimes for the whole week or even until the end of the month. A few weeks before the first day of Tsagaan Sar, each family makes about 1,000 dumplings. A week before Tsagaan Sar, all the markets in my town ran out of flour! Good thing we got a shipment before the actual celebration for those procrastinators.
In preparation for T. Sar, I helped a total of 4 families and pinched about 1,300 buuz (the dumplings)!
Buuz making starts in the evening because most families don’t have freezers big enough to freeze the dumplings. The later it is, the colder and faster the buuz will freeze in order to reuse the board we lay them on. One family I helped finished at 4am!
Tsagaan Sar Eve is called “Full Day”. On this day, you must feel full all day to represent a full and prosperous coming year. Families have a feast, eating the food they have prepared for T. Sar.
During T. Sar, guests may come and go at any time of the day. The first day is reserved for family members, visiting the eldest first.
Here’s a general display of how each house has their table prepared. There’s a sheep’s body, an ‘edee’ (?) (the stack of brick biscuits filled with milk products, candy, and sugar cubes), alcohol, mare’s milk, fruit, dried fruit, and candy:
Here’s a close-up of the top of an edee:
So here’s the process:
1st: When you enter someone’s home, you greet the eldest person in the room first by doing a ritual named “zolgokh”. The younger person puts their arm under the elder person (like grabbing the older person’s elbow) and greet them with a question: “How is your rest?” or “Are you having a good New Year?” as they sniff you on both cheeks. Some people kiss the cheeks, but most older people sniff. People hold out a blue cloth to symbolize respect:
2nd: Older men carry around a snuff bottle, so they pass that to each person. When passing, you offer it with your right hand, with your left hand under your right elbow. When you accept, your sleeves need to be rolled down if they are rolled up, left hand under right elbow, and you just take a wiff of it. (This is how you generally pass and receive things in Mongolia)
3rd: You are offered milk tea (not like the sweet, yummy kind from Tapioca Express or Half and Half), fermented mare’s milk, and either wine or vodka, or both. Other drink options include camel’s milk, homemade sea-buckthorn juice, or homemade vodka. Here’s an image of Soyloo, my hashaa sister, holding 3 different drinks.
I thought this was ridiculous, until I got offered 6 at one house!
If you know me well, you know that I don’t drink much liquids throughout my day….T. Sar was so hard for me, I’ve never drank so much liquids in my life! You don’t have to drink them all, but you have to at least sip them.
*While you are drinking your liquids and eating different types of salads (potato salad, fruit salad- whatever the salad , it’s always mixed with mayonnaise), someone steams the buuz, which takes about 10-15 minutes minutes to cook.
4th: You flip your deel so that you don’t get the outer-side dirty (somehow, I still managed to drop food all over the outer deel) and at least finish the milk tea so that you can use the bowl to eat the buuz, which is usually served with different types of salad.
5th: After vodka is offered several times, children are offered gifts by the host before leaving. Some families give it to adults as well. Some families offered it to me just because I am a foreigner. Usually you don’t carry around a purse, so you stuff it into your deel.
then hope that your belt is tight enough…or else…
6th: Finally, you walk clockwise around the ‘edee’ on your way out and tap the side before eating a goody from it.
On the 2nd day, I went to the country side with my counterpart, where her parents and younger brother lives. During a restroom break (good think a deel is like a dress, easy to hide my goodies!), I took this picture on the side of the road
Their place was out in the middle of nowhere. There wasn’t another ger in site for miles.
Dulmaa’s nephew and their livestock:
A kid holding a kid! I just learned that a baby goat is called a kid! It was so cute watching him catch this baby goat:
The boys helped to herd the animals:
Total # sleeping in one ger: 14!
Some fun countryside photo shots:
I didn’t get to ride a horse as promised because they only had racehorses. When I saw one of Dulmaa’s younger brothers (not the trainer) fall off the horse after it randomly started speeding, I said “forget about it!” On the way home, we saw some wild camels…I’ll ride one one day!
On the first day, before we started visiting families, my Mongolian family and I went to the top of the hill to walk around the oovoo 3 times for luck:
Then, with another family, we went to the only other unique thing about my town, which is this horse statue:
Stephanie and Anh hosted a mini T. Sar and had us over. We took a “jenkin” (original) Mongolian photo:
Mongolians generally don’t smile in their pictures!
In January, our school teachers put on a concert for our whole province’s teachers for Teacher’s Day, here are a couple photos from that:
It reminded me of my college Vietnamese Culture Nights…good times :)
Notice that I’m the only one smiling…oh Mongolians :P
This past Friday was wear your deel to school day, so I want to share some photos from it:
Some students didn’t wear deels. Boys’ uniform is a suit, while girls are these maid-like outfits (center row, left seat):
This is my friend, Dashaa and her 4th grade class:
The elementary school boys wear blue suits, while secondary school students wear black suits:
Look at these 1st grade cuties:
Preparing for their picture, this first grader helps his friend button up his deel:
I thought this was really cute, so I’m going to end it with this picture :)
Happy Year of the Snake!!
Before winter hit, I got to take this beautiful picture of my ger :) I love the fact that I can see the twinkling stars every night.
This is the inside of my ger, I think i’ve showed this picture before.
Sometimes I get random visitors :)
Other times, I invite my English Club students to enjoy a projected movie in my ger, courtesy of the school (courtesy of World Vision who donated it to my school):
And when they come over…they eat all my candy, but 2 :P
This little friend is a solar bobby head…
Unfortunately, the sun only gets as close as the bottom of my dresser :(
I teach environmental art to some students and I’ve decorated my place with some of the flowers we made. Hopefully it inspires people who visit my ger! Our town doesn’t have a recycling program, so I gotta be creative with the bottles I use:
This is Anh’s ger getting winterized. They added another layer of felt to keep the heat in:
Added the ping (a patio?) to store the fuel:
added glass to the top so that sunlight can still get in without the chilly air
Back to the inside of my ger, here’s my dry sink and bucket:
This is how the water works:
I have an electric stove, but when the electricity goes out or when I feel like my fire is hot enough to make my food…
…I cook on the stove instead! (Notice my self-made heating wall. I went around my community looking for cement bricks before it began to get too cold to wander around)
Inside of my ping, I have wood and coal as fuel. My fuel is provided by my school and my school’s driver chops my wood for me :)
Inside my ger, I always have 1 bag of wood and 1 bag of coal ready to make my fires!
Before I start making my fire, I have to empty out the tray. (this is also a morning routine)
I dump it in a trashcan next to my outhouse:
Then I am ready to start my fire! (i also put some brings in the inside to hold the heat)
Everyone makes fires differently. Some volunteers only have wood, some only have coal, some don’t have any at all becaues they live in apartments or houses. I’m thankful to be living in a ger because I can at least control the temperature. Sometimes in an apartment, the heater won’t work, other times, the running water is too hot to even take a shower! Here are the steps I take to start the most effective fire, with the resources I have:
First, I lay down a sheet of newspaper:
Then I wrap small wood chips in paper that I can’t reuse anymore (2-3 sheets is sufficient):
Then I lay that down on top of the newspaper: (living her has made me a hoarder of paper. I just came back from a Peace Corps training in the city, and wished I was home so that I could save ALLLL that paper and poster paper used for my fires)
Then I lay thinner wood pieces over the paper (wood helps to catch the coal and gets the place warmer faster):
Then dump the coal on top of that! (coal keeps the ger warmer longer):
Then I light the match….
I’m happy to say that my fires can last up to 6 hours now! Before maybe a month ago, I was waking up every 3 hours to add coal or sometimes restart my fire, if it completely went out. Now, it’s not so miserable waking up in the morning!
My school gave me old desks and chairs for my wood…so I had a lot of metal pieces that wouldn’t fall to the bottom. I don’t know what’s worst…the fumes from the coal or the fumes from the paint of the furniture burning.
Winter is finally here…
This is what happens to my water when I don’t come home during the day to sustain my fire: :(
My surprise Christmas gift! Seriously the best gift ever. It’s an advent calendar of my friends and family with a message from each person. I didn’t want to open them because it’s just so cute! but once I started, I couldn’t help but open more than 1 a day :P It’s okay though because it took a long time for it to arrive, so I technically wasn’t cheating, just catching up! Thanks Nina and Jennifer for spending countless hours on this very merry Christmas gift :D
I love, love, love it! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!