Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Assorted Observations

Dad and I in front of my school
Well, it's safe to say my adjustment to life in Asia and Mongolia has begun. This road will be long and bumpy at times, I know, but there is only one way to go......down it. 

I know many of you want to hear about things. Food. Culture. What the city is like. Where I've gone. What I've done. Etc, etc, etc. I will attempt to use this post as a smattering of odds and ends. It will not be cohesive...but then making a new life in a foreign country is not cohesive or chronological. It's been a series of fits and starts, realizations, a connecting of dots that aren't so obvious.

It's been from hot to cold. It was in the 90s for my first few days in UB; then one morning on the fishing trip, it dropped below freezing, we think. Right now, it's been in the upper 70s or low 80s. Totally do-able and comfortable. The sun is intense here, just like in Colorado. It's arid, which is nice and allows ones clothing to dry quickly after being washed (people don't have clothes dryers here). 

First, I can say that not having hot water is NOT as hard as I thought it would be. Having NO water, which did happen for about 24 hours, is NOT good. So I am thankful for the cold running water. That said, I have learned to keep pots of water on the stove--because one never knows when the cold water might be out for a few hours. Plus, these heat up darn quickly and one can manage a modified sponge bath and hair washing quite easily. It's impressive how little water one needs to be clean. And when it was hot, the cold shower didn't feel so bad. 

Here is a list of other assorted observations for your reading pleasure:

  • That sound.....the music coming from the truck down the street.....IS NOT THE ICE CREAM man. It is the trash truck!;
  • Sidewalks are NOT smooth. They are more like cobblestone and one needs to be constantly aware of where you step. This is not a city in which one would want to walk the streets inebriated....as a twisted or broken ankle would be easy to acquire;
  • Not much is standard. I live in a 4th floor walk up. The top stair in each flight is considerably higher than all the rest;
  • Most places open up at 8:30 or later...some not until 10 am. However, they are also open later. The Post Office here is open until 8 pm, even on Saturday. They stay up late, and sleep late (till 8 or after). It's a different life schedule, as a general rule (my job/school comes with a traditional Western timetable!);
  • On that note, making dinner at 9 or 10 or even 11 pm is not unusual!;
  • I had wondered about traffic noise in the apartment. Interestingly, in the middle of the night, all I hear are teenagers hanging out on the playground outside our bedroom window, or dogs fighting. No real traffic noise;
  • Items I've had to hunt for....but have found: Scotch tape and Spray Cooking Oil;
  • My post office box is just 4 minutes away; the local public, and American friendly library, is just 10 minutes away; there is a grocery store/mall across the street and NUMEROUS restaurants, bars, and karaoke spots!;
  • Things are smaller here....stoves, sinks, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners. One buys qtips (not brand name, of course) by the 100s, not in bulk; I haven't yet found cotton balls anywhere;
  • Pandora and Songza don't work here. Thankfully, my comrades in the "American Wives Club" have informed me about Jango;
  • One should always carry toilet paper in one's purse or pocket; oh, and dental floss too--at least for those of us not adept at using a toothpick.

Yes, things are different here. But not everything. The library I visited even has ancient old card catalogs still lying around (though thankfully not being used).

Yesterday I met up with one of the fellow teachers from ASU. It was nice to spend time with a fellow American. We then went to dinner with other female expats and Mongolians who are a part of the International Women's Association of Mongolia. They sponsor a social outing each month. It was nice to be out and socializing.

Now I'm heading out to acquire yet MORE hangars and a few household items. Hope to be posting again soon. I'm happy to be here. Though I miss my U.S. friends and family, and the comfort of familiarity in surroundings, I can assure you that I am being welcomed with arms wide open here. 

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