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:
I saw this box of tissues and bought it just so I could show it to Tom. I think it will do more thank keep our noses dry; it should perk up our apartment a bit until our things arrive.
We arrived to Mongolia just in time for the biggest national sporting event / festival, Naadam, which features the “three manly sports” of Mongolia: archery, horse racing, and wrestling. The games are held throughout the country in the summer, and the biggest one is held in UB, which is what we got to see. Continue reading
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.”
The weekend after Naadam, Tom and I were sitting around our new house checking out the local TV stations, and we found the most amazing thing.
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.
We 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.
Since we got here and saw the mountains just south of the city, I have been dying to get out to the countryside. This can be difficult without a car, and although we have one coming, it’s not here yet. Lucky for us, a few Mongolian women that work for Tom invited us to go for a hike in the very mountains I’ve been admiring.
A couple days ago a friend took me shopping for pots and dirt so I can attempt an indoor herb and greens garden. Fingers crossed.
That night Tom was in our office and said “We need to have a talk.” He found the mini trash can pictured below that I accidentally bought.
In UB there is a grocery store chain called Good Price that people refer to as the American grocery store. It stocks products that can be hard to find here. I saw their logo today, I love that they are borrowing from a certain Austin-based grocery chain for their branding.