Wednesday, May 11, 2016

5.5 Weeks and Counting....

Together at ASU for the first time
It is just over five weeks until my summer vacation will begin. It feels like forever at the moment. This is for two reasons. First is that for the previous 10 years of my work in education, I was done with my school year before June 1. The other reason is that summer time is the BEST time to be in Mongolia. And while we are not yet having consecutive days above 70 degrees, it IS warming up and there are plenty of hours of sunshine. There is a strong pull to be outside and NOT gainfully employed. Having to work into the end of June (17th this year; it will be WORSE next year--June 23!!!!!) feels really wrong. is the ways things are.

Saturday, midday
Recently we hosted our annual Open House at ASU. This was the FIRST time for both Zorig and Enji to visit me at my school AND to tour it for themselves. We are hoping to have Enji attend in the fall. They were both very much impressed and talked about how it was different from a traditional Mongolian school, and even from the Russian school that Enji currently attends. Enji snapped pictures and took video of a performance so that he could share it with grandmother. We ate lunch together in my current library; and they were able to tour the library that will be my home in the coming years. 

Sunday evening
Spring in UB is marked by CONSTRUCTION. Construction everywhere. The sound of cranes, trucks, workers can be heard all around the city. Roads are being resurfaced, trees are being planted, and sidewalks are being demolished and laid a-new. There are even improvements outside our apartment building. In just over 24 hours, a raised flowerbed was installed. On Saturday the concrete base for the bricks was yet drying. When we returned to the city on Sunday evening, the entire raised bed was installed and settling, with all the new dirt already inside of it. I'll be curious to see what is planted--I'm hoping for flowers of some sort. And I think there will be benches installed on which to sit (there are some planter boxes down the way that have bright blue wooden benches as part of their construction). I was impressed with the speed by which these were built. Just last summer after I arrived, this entire area was being dug up to install new hot water pipes and/or new wastewater pipes. I'm taking the installation of these boxes as a hopeful sign that while I do expect to be without hot water at some point this summer (as I hear that is common), perhaps it won't be the five week duration.

Place for a bench. 
Ah yes, as I left my apartment this morning I took note that there IS space for a nice bench insert to be added. Much of the construction here in Mongolia is with bricks and concrete. I've also seen a version of stucco. The climate is very dry and cold. Wood does not withstand these elements as well. We shall see how our summer house holds. Zorig has built a beautiful and HUGE deck on the front of it. He is feverishly working to complete most things in time for a party in June before many of my teacher friends leave for the break. It will be a blend of a House-Warming and a Marriage Celebration (since we were surprised by that event back in October and then winter set in). I've always been a person that counts down and this spring is no different. Last year I was counting down to my departure for Mongolia; now I'm counting down to my first summer break in my new homeland. It can't begin soon enough (and then I know it will be over far too quickly!). 

37 Days until I am officially on summer break....