Friday, August 21, 2015

Farewell to Summer....

Cheers to a lovely Summer Vacation!
This week I toasted farewell to summer--a full seven weeks of summer--from Zorig's latest worksite. We had an impromptu gathering there to drink some beer and make some barbecue. It went down kinda like this....... Zorig called around noon on Tuesday and said, "Come." I said, "how?" He said, "get a taxi and I'll explain." After an initial resistance to the unexpected invitation, I thought, why not? I have just today and tomorrow left of my summer! 

Part of adjusting to LIFE IN MONGOLIA is embracing spontaneity. Mongolians are very much a go-with-the-flow people. They don't have personal calendars littered with engagements and appointments and obligations (anything more than 2 days out is impossible). They make their plans as they go and with the people they happen to encounter. I'm getting used to it. And each time an afternoon or day like Tuesday happens, I feel more free and more alive, as I am vibrantly engaged with people and being IN THE MOMENT for all it and they have to offer. And really, how many times have us girls wished our guy was more spontaneous? Surprised us? Whisked us off for an afternoon or evening....of which THEY planned or coordinated? Just sayin'.....I got it good over here. I do. 

But back to Tuesday.......After a 25 minute (and $8) taxi ride out of the inner city and into a suburb-like area to the north, I arrived to the worksite. One of the things I love about these smaller neighborhoods are the colors. The houses are a mix of wooden and concrete (concrete covered bricks.....looking a lot like stucco), and can be colorful, but more importantly, the ROOFS are colorful. This next shot (click on it to enlarge the image) I took on the drive back into the city around 7 pm. I get the sense that people like to show a little personality this way. Or.....maybe it is as a colleague says--a product of what is on sale or available. Who knows. But I like the way it looks. 

After spending most of Tuesday and Wednesday with Zorig, it was time to attend New Teacher Orientation. This is my third time to do so, but my first time overseas and at an International school. 

It takes me about 30-35 minutes to get to work by taking the bus (remember...just $0.25 a ride!). I walk 10-12 minutes to get to the bus stop, wait 0-10 minutes, have a brief 7-10 minute ride, and then a 10 minute walk on the other end. Totally do-able and it feels good to be out and about in the crisp morning air while the city is yet fairly quiet. It was in the 50s the last two mornings. This week was relaxed with a 9 AM start both days. Next week it will dial back to 8:30, and when the kids start (on the 27th) I have to be there by 8:15. I don't know yet if I'll continue to take the bus or coordinate with other teachers for car service in the morning. I plan to ride the bus or walk home.

It was nice to meet the other new teachers. There aren't too many of us this year, only four or five, and then another three that have worked here before and are returning (which speaks volumes about ASU!). On Monday ALL FACULTY are back for three days and then the school year kicks off on Thursday. More about all of that soon. 

For now I'll leave you with something new, thanks to Zorig, of course. This is "string cheese" from Russia and is similar  (same taste, changed in size and packaging) to something Zorig and Indra enjoyed as young children. Taste-wise, it reminds me of a heavily smoked gouda. It doesn't peel apart like American string cheese, but it IS flavorful and the format is fun to eat, just the same. 

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