The Halls left last night, and we felt that little sense of abandonment as we were sitting in their apartment by ourselves, knowing that outside is a world of Mongolia: cold and non-English-speaking! We really like Mongolia, but coping in foreign land without language is difficult.
Today we woke up (a little late, as the way it goes here), had our breakfast, and tried to piece together where our English classes for today we're up to in their textbook. About 10:15 we headed out into the cold. We stopped into the local-est store (there are little stores everywhere, and because we can't read mongolian, we often don't know what they are selling unless we step inside) and I tried to ask for some batteries. They didn't, but at least that was clear!
Off we went to school, with another stop in another store that yielded no batteries. At school Emma, another English teacher, was waiting in our office, along with Simon, who shares our office. Emma taught a combined class today with our two classes and her own. We helped out and assisted, and it all went fairly well. Tomorrow we take on our own classes. (We have two sets of classes, at different levels, meeting Tue/Thu, and Wed/Fri).
After class, we went and had lunch in the dining hall. Makes the crush at Moore look like a gondola ride - students grab lunch and are done in about 15 mins! We ate a kind of broth with potato, some vegetable matter, lamb, and some Buuz. Over lunch Simon filled us in a little on the Mongolian-language schools we might study at down the track.
We then walked into the city. It was a pretty warm day (top of -6 I think). When the sky is clear you get a really good view, because UB is cradled by mountains, and they are currently snow-laden. We stopped at Sukhbaatar square and took a few photos of Chinggis and Damdin. Then we walked down to Millie's, a kind of western-style cafe, where we had some lemon pie (=the base of a lemon meringue), french fries, and an iced coffee (no milk, just cold coffee with ice). We don't really mean to keep eating a bunch of westernised food, it just happens!
Then we had an unsuccessful shop in UB Mart, failing to find some mittens for Rachel (she has these oversized mittens at the moment, and basically when rugged up outside she has no hand motor skills. The problem of small hands). So then we walked back along Peace Ave., the main road, and went into "Golden Pen Stationery Superstore". Here we successfully bought some AA batteries (hurrah! our camera has been complaining about batteries for a few days, though sometimes I think it doesn't work properly because of the cold), and some pens and paper.
Last stop was the local shop to buy some bread. Then home for a rest, after our big day out.
We're doing well. I wish we knew some mongolian, but it's actually kind of hard for us to arrange to learn some. Our timetable is classes from 11-1 each day, 4 days a week, so sight-seeing, etc., is a little hard.
Pray we get more settled, that our classes go well, and that we get opportunities to share and model Christian faith and life. Also that we keep making some good contacts and relations over here.
Parliament House and a statue of Chinggis.