Now that I have secured my very own ger, allow me to give you a tour.
The view from my front door shows the back half of my hashaa, or fenced-in family complex. I live next to my school principal's house, and her mother and brother also live in gers in the same fence. There are two guard dogs that are always tied up outside to scare off trespassers. After washing my laundry by hand in my tumpen, I hang it to dry on those fence posts you see. All ger doors face south.
This is my kitchen. I am super lucky to have a refrigerator and a rice cooker, not requirements by any means! As evidenced by the refrigerator, I have 24/7 electricity, another perk. All Peace Corps Volunteers are required to have electricity, but some only have it for a few hours a day.
This is my kitchen table. The chair without the TV on it is the one I sit in to eat and drink my coffee. (Thank goodness for coffee singles!) All of my cooking utensils were gifts from the teachers at my school, including the electric kettle, by which I am able to make coffee and tea, and which is therefore one of my prized possessions. The TV gets four or five Mongolian channels, and although I never turn it on, I probably should because it might be good language practice.
My wood stove is my means of keeping my ger warm and cooking meat and veggies. My current diet consists of vegetable soup with meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, and salt, or a stir fry of the same ingredients over rice cooked in my rice cooker. Yum. Once I've had a chance to scope out the stores in town I might be able to get more creative! As for heat, it's still pretty warm here, but I usually make a fire in the morning since it's starting to get cold at night. A wood fire lasts less than an hour unattended, and that's the only source of fuel here, so I'm glad I have my hardcore Peace Corps-issued sleeping bag for those long winter nights!
Then there's my bed, which is comfortable and has a nice stack of blankets and sheets and a rug on top. No pillow, though! Next to it is my water filter, which provides water I can actually drink.
This is my desk, where I write letters and type things like blog posts and study Mongolian. Above it is hanging a map of Mongolia, where I've marked the new sites of my friends from training, with a big star on my own new site! I also keep my photo album with pictures of family and friends from home right there. My closet has all of my clothes in it, predictably. It also has hooks for my coats and scarves and a shelf where I keep my books, Mongolian language resources, and teaching materials.
Next to that is my dry sink. As you've probably worked out, I have no running water. The dry sink works by pouring water in the metal basin above the faucet, which then will run out in a stream due to gravity. The drain flows into a bucket under the sink, which I then empty out into a pit next to the outhouse as it gets full. Water comes from the well in the middle of town, but I haven't had to go fetch it myself yet; there are a few children who live in my hashaa who have that responsibility. Another stroke of luck!
Finally, there is the center of the ger. There are two beautifully painted posts holding the roof up, and a round window from which protrudes my stovepipe. When it rains, you have to take the stovepipe down, go outside, and pull the felt cover on top of the ger to cover the window.
And that's my ger!