Woody Packard

Words + Pictures

Mongolia, Again


Train to Darkhan, 2013
Sometime in the fall, the seed for another trip abroad found its way to our table. The application deadline for the English Language Fellow program was coming up in January, and Judy and I needed to make a decision on what our next move would be. Her job in Missoula would last until the end of August. Most of my belongings were in a storage unit. Having resisted the urge for pets, we had no animals to be concerned about. We were living in an apartment with a month-to-month lease. Even though it felt like I was just getting settled, if there was ever a time to spend another year in a foreign country, this would be one of the easiest.

Still, it was not a decision made without some hesitation. Being halfway around the world makes us inaccessible to family members who would likely face health crises in the coming year. Once again we would be starting over in the effort to maintain jobs in Missoula. And on a purely hedonistic level, it had been very easy to get used to reliable electricity, hot water, driving a car, and eating green salad.

Judy sent her application in January, but the decision to accept her was not made until June, so there was plenty of time to think about where we might want to end up. It is not an easy question. Our inclination was for something different, but I had reservations about starting over with another language without ever making it to beginner status speaking Mongolian, and there were still many unsolved mysteries about Mongolian culture. As with many other choices, this was a choice between wider and deeper: learning about another country, or learning more about one that we have already scratched the surface of. Although there is no certainty about where we would be placed, (or even that there would be a position at all) we decided to try for the deeper option and ask for a position in Mongolia.

By mid July Judy had been offered four positions in China, all in large cities, and none very attractive to us. Returning fellows are usually offered hard to fill positions, so it wasn't clear whether turning these offers down would eliminate us from any chance of a position. But someone with lots of experience with this program offered Judy the advice to “hold out for what you want.” So she did, and the next offer was for a position at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, in Ulaanbaatar. Not rural as we had hoped, but a chance to go back to Mongolia.

Close Story—Back to Pictures

Mongolia, Again

Click below to page through enlarged images or read the story.

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Khovd, Mongolia

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Missoula, Montana

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Foreign English Teacher

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Adult Students from Taiwan

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Foreign Visitors

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Picnic for Foreign Students

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Picnic for Foreign Students (and Teachers)

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Making Pizza in Mongolia

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Making Tsoivan in Montana

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Soyumboo on Batarkharkhan

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M on Mt Sentinel

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Family Portrait

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Family Portrait

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Cruising, Missoula

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Riding at Har Us Lake

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Khasha, Uliastai

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Yard and Orchard, Rollins

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Photography at Har Us Lake

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Photography at Flathead Lake

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Jargalant Foothills

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Mission Range, Flathead Lake

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Montana Clouds

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Mongolian Clouds

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Curious


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