Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tsagaan Sar - the Mongolian New Year - and time with friends :)

I have been back in Mongolia for two weeks now. My time in America and Vietnam was great. And now back here, I know it is the right place to be for many reasons. God has placed Kathy and me here, and we are content.

I started teaching at LEI as soon as I got back. It is a new experience for me teaching English speaking. But it is going well. We had classes for a week, and then a week off for the Mongolian New Year celebration called Tsagaan Sar, meaning White Moon. It is a special holiday in Mongolia when families visit each other, have special food and have time off from work. Kathy and I visited several families, who showed us much kindness and love.

We also said goodbye to Nasim, our "son" from Afghanistan who is now an exchange student in a Korean University. And we spent time with other dear friends as well, which was great. Take a look at the photos to see... :)

We visited Munguu and her family, where her grandfather greeted us in the traditional way.

And we visited my "daughter" Anu's family also :)

Anu with her mother :)

Didi and Anu :)

Kathy being welcomed by Munguu's grandfather

Munguu with her grandfather :)

Nergui giving some traditional mild to her mother :)

Nergui, Munguu and Kathy before heading out into the cold :)

Our dear friend Munguu welcomed us home from our long trip ... :)

A basket full of cool folded paper stuff...

Anu, Bishrelt, Didi and Uka at our home

Bishrelt, Uka, Suugii and Kathy at our home :)

June, Michidmaa, Kathy, Nasim our "son" and me before Nasim flew to Korea

Kathy, Michidmaa, Nasim and me :)

Mr. Cool :)

Michidmaa, Kathy and I at Cornerstone Church

Kathy and I had the privilege of being invited to our friend Tuul's award celebration before Christmas. Tuul is ranked 3rd in the world in women's under-18 chess competition. We had a super time with her, and met some of her close friends.

Tuul with Kathy

Tuul's close long-time friend Badmaa

Me with Badmaa (former Miss Mongolia), Kathy, Tuul and Kivanc Haznedaroglu, a chess grand master

A performance by some tremendous young acrobats

A scene during one of  my recent morning walks to MIU

This last photo was taken on a sunny morning the other day. As I have mentioned, many of the homes in Ulaanbaatar burn coal and wood for heating. With the cold temperatures, much coal is burned some mornings, and the air can be horribly thick. But the smoke is generally blown away by 10 or 11am.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Last days in Hanoi and on to Mongolia!

After spending time in Saigon, Noel and I flew back to Hanoi, and then Noel headed back home to Mongolia. I spent an extra few days in Hanoi. I am so glad I did!

There was a bit of sunshine in Hanoi one day, but gray and a little bit of rain the other days. But no problem, the main thing was not to sight-see, but to see friends. It was great to spend time in the city and in the countryside.

So I have posted a bunch of photos. Yesterday - Friday - I headed home to Mongolia, with a transfer in Beijing. What a great time in Vietnam!! ... and now ....

Home again in beautiful Ulaanbaatar, with its -30C temperatures, smokey air, noise of the buses at the bus stop below our apartment... :) But I am here with friends and much to do, and ready to start the spring semester teaching English Speaking at LEI! I hope to be ready by Monday :)

Good bye my new friend Vietnam. Hello to my home in Mongolia!

A worker at Bich's farm

A ill cow being helped by this contraption!

My "daughter" Bich and her uncle on the farm...

Bich with her mother in front of their home/store

Bich's aunt in her aunt's kitchen

Relatives came to visit

My "Niece" Blondie :) ("Blondie" was born with blond hair)

Rinne my "daughter"

Binh, a new friend of mine :)

A girl being photographed at a university

Friends at a restaurant in Hanoi: Binh, Hoa, PJ, her husband, Hanh and her husband, me, Hoa and Jenny

The cooks and helpers in the kitchen :)

Rinne and Jenny ready to leave. Almost everyone has a motorbike in Hanoi

Me with my friend Julian

Me with "Zoom" :)

Niece Blondie, Julian, me, Zoom and Bich

Me and Bich at the mall with Blondie

Blondie and I at the arcade we all went to ... fun place but so much noise!

Be and Link at the Museum of Literature in Hanoi

Link and me

Of course you have to try the coffee in many places in Vietnam :)

An accident in the intersection. We saw two in an hour... not surprising!