It turns out that we’re settling into life in Mongolia quite nicely. Last week marked our second work week, a week that for one of us was better than the other. That one of us with the better week is not the one currently writing the blog post. Speaking of that one, he has been quite absent recently from this shared blog he insisted upon. Interesting.
Anyways, I had a bit of a frustrating week last week. Work was horribly slow, and I spent much of the week working out of the VSO office in an effort to at least have internet access so I could do some researching…and emailing…and celebrity gossip reading. Isn’t that what all office workers do? The funniest bit is that when I met with my counterpart at the Health Unit this Monday, she admitted to me that she had entirely forgotten about my existence last week. At least it was just for one week. I also have to admit that the admission was a relief to me and a reassurance that hopefully she will not forget about me every week! We shared a good chuckle about that one…which was also nice since my counterpart has a very Mongolian, very emotionless facade (a facade that I will surely crack in no time – you just wait).
So yeah, very little to report on last week.
Nope, wait. A LOT to report on:
We have been going to a British Pub in town every Thursday night for trivia (or pub quiz as the Brits call it). We have a happy little team that proudly shows up each week to compete under the team name “The Short Bus.” Week one we were an embarrassment, although admittedly at that point we were not The Short Bus – we were “Margaret Thatcher Naked on a Cold Day.” How can anyone expect to win at pub quiz at a British Pub with such a blasphemous name? Honestly. So week two we very nearly dethroned the champs – or at least one set of champs. There are two teams that always win (and oddly enough one of them creates the quiz and rotates through as quizmaster each week – is that a conflict of interest?). Well we tied one of them, and the deciding factor was a beer chugging contest. Chris chugged…and we lost by a smidge but in our minds we won because we got a free beer out of it and we tied the quiz making team AND the other guy in the chugging contest had to use his winnings to pay to have his suit dry cleaned (for real, he told us so the next week) – HA! Anyways, onward to week three. We lost horribly, BUT we won the contest to come up with a slogan for the bar, so we won vodka shots. As for week four? WE WON WE WON WE WON! And while sitting in a dreary British Pub in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, I, for the first time in my life, sang along enthusiastically and proudly and with a huge heart with the rest of The Short Bus to “We Are the Champions.” And we were the champions! It was really a wonderful moment in Ulaanbaatar. And we got a free pitcher and almost 40,000 tugrug just for being trivia wizzes. And our world was a wonderful, wonderful place for that happy Thursday evening.
Here’s The Short Bus celebrating our victory in the phonebooth at the pub (you can’t see two members of our team – they are little and got into the booth first and are therefore blocked by the big people that climbed in last):
Anyways, enough about pub quiz…at least until Thursday.
We had a nice little weekend – quiet – all to ourselves in UB. Saturday we finally got ourselves some bedding so we could say goodbye to our sleeping bags. I also had a day that would make my mother’s laundry loving heart swoon – I don’t think the washing machine stopped running all day. I do think that Chris got nervous about just how much I reminded him of my mother. ha. I love my mom (hi mom!).
Sunday we went out for a nice little hike just north of the city. That’s where we saw the goats:
They explain how cashmere feels so nice. It takes four goats to produce one sweater in one year. I will purchase four goats before the year is up. And I will brush them. And I will clean and spin their goat hair. And I will make a lovely cashmere sweater.
Or I will just buy one.
Anyways, here’s a view of the hike too. You can see the ridge we hiked along, the neighborhood we came up through on the right side, and the city of UB in the distance. Kinda cool how close such pretty hikes are to the city:
The end of our weekend culminated in Tom. We went to buy a nice little house plant for our apartment, and the flower shop girls came up with this guy:
They kept telling us – and motioning – “tom…tom…” Tom means big in Mongolian, so evidently this little guy – who we appropriately named Tom – will grow up to be a nice big houseplant…we hope.
As for work this week, things have been going well. I have started my FGP (family group practice) visits. There are 24 in total that I need to visit, and I have made it to two so far. More tomorrow, but two today, and it felt great. Progress at long last. I’ll try and take some photos of them, because I do think it would be surprising to see what can house a clinic…
For now off I go. It’s time to make dinner.