Tonight Carmelita invited us over for dinner at her place on the school campus. It was fantastic. We asked our normal driver to pick us up at 6:30 and we left Carmelita’s apartment about 10 minutes early. So we walked a little of the way. Then we walked further. Then we went inside the grocery store to warm up. Then we went to a restaurant for a drink and to wait. He arrived almost an hour after we had hoped he would be there. Then we started home bu the traffic was so bad that we had to take an alternate route. We normally follow the route below in blue. Tonight we had the detour in red for part of the drive. It took another hour to get home making today the longest trip home yet (including waiting for our ride). It takes a little less than an hour to walk home.
Last night Pepper posed with this sculpture of Lenin.
We bought some things at the Black Market on Saturday so we can be a little crafty. A half a hide of leather of good quality was about $45. A bag full of snaps was under two dollars – same for a bag of rivets. The punch to set the snaps was under a dollar. On Sunday I used a hammer and nail to punch holes in bottle caps that I flattened with pliers and made a wrist band. The Cyrillic reads “Sengur” which is a pretty light pilsner widely available in bottles, cans, or on tap in Mongolia.
Here is one of the pillowcases Pepper made. She matched up the edge fabric and piping so well!
Pepper picked up a bunch of this great mustache themed fabric at JoAnne Fabric and made pillow cases out of it. They turned out great. I wish we had a sewing machine here to take advantage of the unique fabric we can get here.
It is time for us to start considering our plans for next year. We may have the opportunity to stay at ASU and continue living in Mongolia. But we also are beginning to look around to see what other employment opportunities are available to us. Some of the openings I have been interested in are more administrative as opposed to classroom oriented. But there have been a number of positions that have been classroom teachers – primarily in science – that I am interested in. It has become pretty clear that I really need to become a certified teacher to be more marketable. So I have been taking practice tests and spent some of the summer reading textbooks to brush up on my knowledge.
So far, we have been most interested in working in Africa but jobs in China certainly seem the most available. But that said, it is still VERY early to be looking for work for next year. Most schools do not require notification about intent to return until November or December.
There are companies like VeritasPrep that provide gmat prep and training for other tests. Sadly they don’t offer anything that will help me get ready to take the Massachusetts test to become a certified teacher.
We went to buy a wireless router after work today. The place we went has two entrances… the ones our driver dropped us off at were being repaired. But I think they put them in less than a year ago.
So we went through the alley that leads to the other entrance, past a 10 foot pit dug apparently for some utility lines. Then a cinder block wall blocked our access to the other entrance. Fortunately a Mongolian woman was in front of us. She asked a man standing nearby if she could go through a gap in the wall. I don’t know enough Mongolian to know that is what she asked but considering the situation I am pretty sure that is what was happening. He said she could. We soon saw a mass of people around a guy shoveling dirt onto smoldering trash. Burning trash seems to be so commonplace that the odor and sight wasn’t disturbing to us until we saw the ten or so spent fire extinguishers and powder around the site.
We held our breath and rushed through the smoke plume and into the building. After our purchase of the router we exited the same door… you know, since the other entrance was being fixed. Now there was a fire truck and firefighters working a hose line into the inferno of the garbage enclosure.
The floor of the gym last year was wooden but in poor condition. Many pieces were loose, there were dead spots, it had many gaps and it was quite slippery. The school owner decided to replace it. So, over the summer they used leveling material to create a perfectly flat surface. The PVC flooring has a bit of cushioning and far better traction. Unfortunately, some shoes leave marks and the lines will need to be repainted more often but overall the floor is much better.
Last week we decided to walk home. Part way there the police started blocking off the roads. Police were along the mile of road on both sides no more than 100 feet apart. For almost an hour traffic was completely stopped on one of the city’s busiest streets. Jordan recognized flags on light poles as Indonesian. Sure enough, a mororcade of police cars, busses, and dark cars went by and then the roads opened up. We found out later that the Indonesian president had arrived.