Bayarlalaa & bayartai

I’m very sad, for today I’ll be leaving Ulaanbaatar.

At the UB Post, I wrote an article on my first impressions of Mongolia for my internship. For that article, I concentrated on my overall experience and addressed it from the a racial perspective. However, I didn’t address many other things that shaped my experience here, such as the people, the food, and outside trips/locations. There was a lot of good and admittedly there was some bad, but overall this has been such an empowering experience that has helped me grow and flourish in unimaginable ways. Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this happen again – you guys are amazing! Here are some highlights of my trip that I feel were key in making the experience what it was.

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Implementing gender sensitivity in disaster relief

This article contains excerpts from my interview with Bjorn Andersson from the UNFPA Asia-Pacific region. It addresses disaster relief in the context of recent flooding in Mongolia. Link to original article is currently unavailable.

Following a few days of downpour this past week, several roads in the Bayanzurkh District of Ulaanbaatar have been severely damaged, raising safety concerns for residents amidst flooding. The capital authorities have issued several notices of evictions to unauthorized families and entities located in at-risk zones, but reportedly, they have refused to move.

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Foreigner’s perception of Naadam and women

Article written for the UB Post during Naadam, detailing my impressions as a foreign woman and addressing the progress of gender equality in the nation as well. Link to original currently unavailable. Picture credits to Sebastian Zusi.

For Naadam, the city bloomed with silk and color. Mongolians wore deels with bright hues and intricate patterns. By the National Stadium, people milled about on the grounds, drifting from tent to tent with khuushuur in their hands. And inside the Naadam grounds, on the field, there were four women. They all wore blue cotton deels and straw-colored hats, and they marched up to the line that marked their position. They raised their bows, pulled back the string, and then an arrow hurtled through the air. They were beautiful and graceful.

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Economic value of dogs for Mongolia

An article addressing strays and the potential benefits of canines for Mongolia. Link to original article is currently unavailable.

I recently went to Gandan Monastery to take photos with a couple of friends. There, we befriended a stray dog. She served as a model for our pictures and as a new friend. However, upon exiting the temple, we were dismayed to see several locals come up to the dog and scream at her. One man even started looking for stones to pelt at her.

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You Saw Me In The Mirror

Semi-fictional piece on friendships that build and break and haunt you with regret.

Once upon a time, I thought I had a best friend. As I’ve grown older my mind has gotten weaker, and I’ve allowed myself to forget the location of every wrinkle on her face and the exact pitch of her voice when she asks a question. But even though my memory is no longer pristine, I still can trace the bridge of her nose, and I still hear echoes of her voice.

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Interviewing UNFPA Mongolia

While I haven’t uploaded any of my articles in a while, this past weekend has been filled with amazing opportunities for interviews and coverage of fascinating events. In particular, I had the chance to interview the regional director of the UNFPA Asia Pacific region and attend the launch of the #HeForShe campaign in Mongolia.

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Gallery V: Storm in the Mountains

A series of loose Petrarchan sonnets meditating on the Hudson River School. These were featured as part of “Falling for Pawling,” a musical production based on student works performed by the Sherman Chamber Ensemble. This is the fifth and final poem in the series.

If in eternity’s arms, Rome was built in a day (1),

If solar storms flood the earth, the galaxies sprawl,

And time scores our lives away to nothing at all,

I don’t blame you for thinking it doesn’t matter anyway.

But things do matter, like fireflies in the Hudson Bay

That glimmer on our fingertips and in jars, or small

Spirals of rainbow in marbles, or the way your hair falls

Over your eyes, tangling shadow and sunshine rays (2).

I do not care that the universe spins and grows,

Not when stars that die still reach and bend

To give us light, and there are emerald seas (3). No one knows

How long we have, but the real meaning of life depends

On all the small things we can’t see. Life may ebb and flow

Towards nothing, but I think by knowing this, the world never truly ends.

  1. Ruins-Campagna of Rome by Albert Bierstadt
  2. Sunshine and Shadow by Albert Bierstadt
  3. Emerald Sea by Albert Bierstadt

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Gallery IV: Starrucca Viaduct

A series of loose Petrarchan sonnets meditating on the Hudson River School. These were featured as part of “Falling for Pawling,” a musical production based on student works performed by the Sherman Chamber Ensemble. This is the fourth poem in the series.

We’re like the two fish in the sea (1), once asked

By a wise old fish, “How’s the water?” They swam on

Without care, till on the both of them it dawned.

“What on earth is water?” they asked, flabbergasted.

We swim, like them, in moonlit rivers (2), steadfast

In drifting, never dreaming of snow on a Swiss lawn (3),

Of Greenwood Lake (4), of falling gardens in Babylon,

Of love; unconscious, floating, thinking this is the last.

We think this is the world, for all we know is here.

And in our future, everything above will still not matter.

But one day we must open our eyes, and that I fear.

I fear the day we must wake up and gather

The air in our lungs, when it all becomes clear,

When we see the truth, and realize, “This is water. This is water.” (5)

  1. Looking Out To Sea by Jasper Francis Cropsey
  2. Moonlit Lake by Jasper Francis Cropsey
  3. Winter in Switzerland by Jasper Francis Cropsey
  4. Greenwood Lake by Jasper Francis Cropsey
  5. “This Is Water” by David Foster Wallace

Gallery III: View Toward the Hudson Valley

A series of loose Petrarchan sonnets meditating on the Hudson River School. These were featured as part of “Falling for Pawling,” a musical production based on student works performed by the Sherman Chamber Ensemble. This is the third poem in the series.

Our splashing in puddles after storms (1) in August noons (2)

And chasing butterflies with light mesh nets by our hips

Have turned to mist and a cigarette between your lips.

We were bound kindred spirits (3), I used to assume

But we grew up. You breathe a ring of fumes

And murmur you forgot those Shandaken (4) trips

Long ago. I suppose it’s me and me alone who grips

To the past, but I’ve not forgotten how your smile blooms

When catching monarch butterflies in your light mesh net,

Or smelling mother’s rose perfume, or when

You cried at the sight of the Hudson River sunset.

These may be reminiscences of mere old men (5),

But though I can’t see through the smoke quite yet,

I find I still hope to see you smile again.

  1. Gathering Storm by Asher Brown Durand.
  2. An August Afternoon by Asher Brown Durand.
  3. Kindred Spirits by Asher Brown Durand
  4. High Point: Shandaken Mountains by Asher Brown Durand
  5. An Old Man’s Reminiscences by Asher Brown Durand

Gallery II: Morning, Looking East Over The Hudson Valley From The Catskills

A series of loose Petrarchan sonnets meditating on the Hudson River School. These were featured as part of “Falling for Pawling,” a musical production based on student works performed by the Sherman Chamber Ensemble. This is the second poem in the series.

One day you’ll learn the sky is not tinged blue

From the color of the Aegean Sea (1), and you will learn

That the lights of the Aurora Borealis (2) dance and burn

From magnetic fields, and everything you thought you knew

Is a lie, like seeing the Great Wall from the moon

Or wishing on shooting stars (3), hands clasped in taciturn

Prayer, or thinking that Earth revolves and turns

Around the Sun; but the Barycenter (4) is the true

Center of our universe. But even though you were wrong,

You will know of electromagnetic spectrums and such bores,

And you will know the true Barycenter of our universe belongs

In the warmth and gravity of a child’s hand in yours.

One day you will learn you were wrong all along,

But it will no longer matter, for you will have opened new doors.

  1. Aegean Sea by Frederic Church.
  2. Aurora Borealis by Frederic Church.
  3. The Star in the East by Frederic Church.
  4. “One way to find a planet” from NASA.