December 8, 2011

Settling in...

The school outside my window. Today's temperature: -31F
Ah, Mongolia. My second home. [smile]

Well, I've been here a week and settling in. Almost like I never left. Everyone is still here, so I don't have to get used to anyone new. It's like coming back into the family.

The biggest surprise, is me. Everyone is shocked at how much weight I've lost. Almost everyone is very happy with the change, "You look younger." seems to be the most repeated phrase. But one of my students thought I looked "sick". I guess losing weight is not something one does in Mongolia to her. Oh, well, I feel great and I'm sure she'll see that soon enough.

Otherwise, everything seems the same. The city is still a bustling metropolis, with too much traffic and noise. It's getting colder, daytime highs in the single digits and lows about -25F. So, normal. But, to me, there seems to be more snow this year. It looks nice.

I've started running again and doing my bodyweight exercises. It might take me a bit to figure out my running layers for the temps here in Mongolia. Using my pollution mask too. I can use my classroom for my bodyweight workouts. Kind of cut back on my mileage due to the change in altitude but still hoping to ramp it up again as I get ready for the Ulaanbaatar Marathon this summer.

My classes have started. I am just continuing from the previous teacher who had to leave, which is always hard when you pick up for someone else. Disruptive for both the teacher and the students. So far, I know about half the students from before which really helps.

So far, my strategy for leaving the computer, and work, in my classroom is working. It makes it easier for me to relax when I should be relaxing instead of trying to do too much work. But, in the center, I'm still called to do too much 'extra' work, especially when it comes to the computers. I'm going to have to figure out someway to manage that.

Thursday I will start my Mongolian lessons with Tsetsgee. And I will talk with Khongor today about more language lessons. My hope is to have tutor sessions 5 days a week. It really is the only way to learn a new language, jumping in with both feet, so to speak.

Finding a morin khuur teacher might be more difficult, as I need someone who can speak a little English so they can explain to me what to do. Hopefully, I can learn enough Mongolian to help later. We'll see.

For December, I'll be especially busy. I am teaching an extra class, plus I will re-start my Saturday English Club and Movie activities. And believe it or not, trying to figure out a new activity for my more advanced students. I'm so excited to be with my students again.

And, a final note, for the past year, I haven't been the most pro-active updating this blog. As this is a 'new' beginning in Mongolia, I hope to change that with updates every week or so. So, look forward to more adventures.

On the drive back from Immigration
The view of Sukhbaatar Square & Parliament from the 14th floor