Wednesday, October 8, 2008

60th Anniversary

The first month of the new school year was centered around the planning of our school’s 60th anniversary celebration. Teaching was almost non-existent as both teachers and students were all busying themselves with their own assigned tasks. Teachers were making banners, posters, and beautifying the school. Students were clearing the school field, practicing their songs and dance, and following the beat of the drum as they march to Soviet style formations. The result was an intense 2 days of celebration.

The first day was the opening ceremony with all the pomp and circumstances. Everybody in town came to the school: past teachers, alumnus, and all the townspeople. It was a rare opportunity for everyone to see each other again. They were treated to music by the Dornod aimag Army band along with songs and dances performed by teachers and students. In the afternoon, it was time to showcase one of Mongolia’s national pastimes; the volleyball competition. As with my other posts, I will reiterate the fact that these kids are ridiculously good at the sport. And as with any other competition in this country, certificates and medals always follow at the end. At night, the party moved to the gym where platters of salad, bread, fruits, and horhog (real Mongolian BBQ) awaited the guests. There was once again singing and dancing throughout the night, occasionally interrupted when each class presented their gift to the school for the 60th anniversary. Gifts ranged from big stuffed teddy bears to traditional Mongolian instruments, to television sets and high end camcorders.

The second day of the celebration started off with a concert directed by the school’s music teacher. But before the performance, I had to sit through two excruciating hours of certificate and medal giving ceremony. It seemed like everyone was getting a medal except for me. After two hours of agony and boredom, the concert began. The performers were students from 5th to 11th grade. They sang and danced to traditional Mongolian music, Russian songs, and there was even an homage to Backstreet Boys’ “I want it that way.”

Following the concert there was a reception at a popular restaurant in the aimag (provincial) center. There, the vodka flowed and the music swayed all the alcohol induced Mongolians to a rhythmic dance. Even I stepped on the dance floor to try my hand at the Mongolian waltz. One step left, one step right, left, right, left, right, and then spin til you can’t tell if the dizziness was caused by the excessive alcohol consumption of vodka or just plain old dancing.


wana said...

hey trinh! i've been quite delinquient about reading your posts but i've caught up using my many hours at a computer while at work. heh.
good to hear that you're adjusted and enjoying your time there. and the students are cute so that's always a plus. i must say, there's also a lot of alcohol consumption which i assume is another reason you're enjoying it so much. =)
well be safe and please continue to update!

Trinh Thach said...

thanks for the comment Wana. Everything is great here as both the teachers and students are eager to learn and share what they know. I am enjoying myself. You should make a trip out here if you can. Its pretty close to Korea. :-)