Arrival & Getting Settled

We made it to Mongolia! Getting settled has been wonderfully easy so far.

Our “sponsors” from the embassy met us at the airport at 10:30 this past Monday night and helped us to find our new home. Tom went to work first thing the next morning — which I think is hardcore because it’s a 12 hour time difference, but we did have two days to start adjusting during our two-day stop over in Seoul. My first day in UB, one of our sponsors took me to the grocery store, showed me around the neighborhood a bit, and took me to lunch with several of the spouses. That night we had a nice dinner at what I suspect will be one of my favorite restaurants with the person that Tom is replacing and his wife.

Here are some initial thoughts on the city and our place:
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Friends at Naadam

Some of the Mongolians who went to the Naadam opening ceremonies were well dressed and were wearing medals that intrigued me. I think the medals became a part of Mongolian culture when Mongolia was part of the Soviet Union: according to Wikipedia* (I know, I didn’t feel like digging further than this), “Awards and decorations of the Soviet Union… recognized achievements and personal accomplishments, both military and civilian.”
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A Great Time to Be in Mongolia

Last week I met with the director of a Mongolian foundation, and I left energized and looking forward to getting to know my new home over the next couple of years.

I loved hearing this Mongolian talk about how we are experiencing a pivotal moment in history for Mongolia. He told me there is a new energy among the Mongolians, and he feels the decisions made now will direct the path that the country will follow for generations. Most of us arriving in Mongolia realize that this is a cool time to be here, but it’s just different to hear it from a Mongolian.
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Great Mongol

Great Mongol BeerWe had dinner tonight at beer garden / restaurant called Great Mongol. Dinner was tasty and this giant beer cost about $5. For all of the talk about no spices and old mutton for Mongolian food, we’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the restaurants in UB.