March 2, 2010

The trip home

Well, by now, a few of you are wondering if I ever made it home. Yes, I arrived in Kansas City where my brother Mike picked me up at the airport. But from the next morning till now, it's been rush, rush, rush. Not very restful but productive to say the least.

First, I went to see my grandmother who is 96 years old. Her health isn't good and she's blind. I'm glad I went to see her. Tsetsgee had sent a stuffed camel because it was something nice she didn't have to see to appreciate. Rest well Grandma.

With Grandma Pabst

After that, I spent the first week mainly with family. I gave all the brothers and their wives Mongolian slippers that they all enjoyed. Tsetsgee had bought mom a pair and she has barely taken them off since I gave them to her. She 'loves' them! Unfortunately her son forgot his mother's gifts back in his room in Mongolia so he will have to send them to her when he returns to Ulaanbaatar.

On the 14th, Valentine's Day but also the Lunar New Year, we celebrated my mother's birthday at my brother Mike's house. It was a grand affair with too much food. Mike loves to barbeque, even when it's snowing. A fun time had by all.

Snowing pretty hard out on the grill

After that I spent a lot of time searching for videos and buying books for my students back in Mongolia. The number one thing they asked for was TOEFL books. TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. And I bought a lot of them. But I also got a lot of vegetarian cookbooks for the cafe, so meals should definitely be different when I return.

Plus, for all Tsetsgee's help this first year and a half, I decided to buy her a new computer, a laptop. It will be her 'work' computer, but I also want to make it her personal computer in case she ever leaves FPMT.

On the 28th, my extended family - all the aunts and uncles and cousins - had a big celebration. Again with too much good food. And we had a great time playing the "Mongolian Trivia" contest with gifts provided by my students.

Towards the end of my too short vacation, I tried to see as many friends as possible, especially since I might not see them again for a long time. Had dinner over at the Dishman's. Geri cooked while Mike held court along with daughter Katie and her significant other Jimmy.

Mike, Geri, Jimmy & Katie

Then I got together with my old gang, from oh so long ago. Bonnie and I were room-mates and through her and another friend Erica, I met Kate, Karen and Claire when we were all single. Now Bonnie's oldest is almost in high school. Karen has two children as does Claire and Kate is a stepmom. Things sure have changed but my friends haven't. Such good people.

Karen, Bonnie, Jim, Claire, Karen

Jason and his wife Ginger took me out to a great Italian restaurant. He donated some DVDs for me to take back to Mongolia, so I helped Jason out by being one of his first 'control group' subjects in a pilot study he is doing for his PhD.

Met my old boss from my Baptist Medical Center and Holmesdale days as a Physical Therapist Assistant. With Deb was Courtney, another coworker for many years. Both told many tall tales in our old haunt at the 75th St Brewery.

And I can't forget all my pals down at Minsky's, where I tried to spend time when my schedule allowed. Even Katie and April met me there before I left to return to Mongolia.

And now, I'm less than 48 hours away from leaving again. I will miss everyone, but am anxious to get back to my 'other' home, Mongolia.

With my mom