We have only been home for 11 days and we are going back to UB. Next week is InService Training for non-english teachers. So, we will be heading into the city on Saturday. This time, we have to take a co-worker with us. The trainings are more technical in nature, so this time can be used to build co-workers skillsets. It will be nice to see our friends again and eat good food. On a sad note, our favorite restaurant in our town closed up this past week. We were told that they were unable to make the rent payments. This is truly a loss for the community because their food was excellent and reasonably priced. Anyways, today is our 4th anniversary, so we will celebrate by going out to dinner in UB.
The daylight is dwindling at this point. Sunrise is 8:30am and sunset is ~4:30pm. Only a few more weeks, then the daylight starts getting longer again. The temperatures have been brisk (-15F at night, 8F during the day). There is a cold front moving in and it is expected to be -40F on Sunday night.
Bear is growing like a weed...he has doubled in the past 3 weeks. House-training is coming along well, but still room for improvement. Sometimes, he thinks that the plastic mat in front of the door is an acceptable place to pee. He has also starting showing interest in the animal bones/trash in the community. We need to break this desire ASAP. He will be staying at a friends' house while we are away.
This week Ashley got to meet with a US military medical team. The US military will be doing a community health program and specialist training next year and this was the preliminary planning meeting. I heard the team was surprised when they walked in and saw an American. Unfortunately, we don't hear enough about the good things that the military is doing around the world. We will probably get to help out next year with the clinics, and that will be a great experience.
I have been working on a project proposal for my NGO and writing articles for the local newspaper.
I joined the "fitness center" last week, which has been a very good, but surreal experience. The trainer is very strict and I can only lift if I follow his routine/regimen. Therefore, I am following his routine, which is actually similar to the one I did in America, though more intense. Working with a trainer in a new language is difficult, but I've learned more vocabulary. It must be strange for the Mongolians to see an American in the fitness center. The first time I was lifting, a bunch of guys came over to me, took off their shirts and flexed. They then wanted me to touch their muscles, which I politely declined. Wrestling is HUGE here, so many of the guys were strong, but also big. My goal is to be lean, which is not the goal of everyone else at the fitness center. There is 1 treadmill but it can't go faster than 4 miles per hour or the belt slips/stops. I found this out the hard way by running at 6mph, then hitting the front of the treadmill when the belt stopped. 4mph seems to be the sweet spot. I met the local soccer coach and he actually "tested" me in the gym, which was odd, but hilarious. He cleared the gym floor, put a ball down at midcourt, and I had to play 1:1 against him. Needless to say, I did fine and I was invited back to play. However, I showed up at the time he said and the gym was empty.....such is life here. Nothing is on-time and "plans" constantly change. I found a taekwondo teacher, so I may ask for private lessons starting in January. The physical exercise has been good and helps release stress.
The next post will probably be the week of Christmas.