Just last night, I was telling Tiffany that we probably ought to check our passports to see whether our student visas expired after one year or two. Then today, the director of our school came to us and started explaining to us the hoops we would have to jump through to get our second year student visa. She explained in Mongolian, of course, which was extremely helpful. Later, she came in and gave me a sample letter that I needed to write out by hand, filling in all the appropriate blanks. It is basically a request saying that it takes a long time to learn Mongolian, and that I need to study for another year. It’s a tad ironic, because I have to write it in perfect Mongolian, which tends to give the lie to the idea that I need to study for another year. I asked the director if I had to handwrite it, and she indicated that I did. If I typed it on the computer, she said, they would just think she wrote it. (Which, of course, she did. I just copied it.)
I have seen these handwritten affidavits on several other occasions. Once, for example, I signed my name to a handwritten full page, having no idea what it said, just that a friend had written it. That was just to get some boxes out of customs. I think that, in America, most bureaucrats would look askance at handwritten document, especially those created by foreigners who are still relatively new to writing with a different symbol set. Here, though, it seems to be the mark of authenticity.
By the way, in Mongolia, almost everyone writes in cursive, which is not, of course, the first symbol set you study. So, for the first several months, you can read nothing that anyone writes. Then, you start to learn cursive. I can do a reasonable job at it now, although I still make a few errors. I almost never write in cursive in English, so it was a bit of a learning curve for me.