Saturday, December 6, 2008

A short post to my friends at Osborn's. I have tried to send a couple of emails. They apparently aren't getting through. Could someone check with Randy and see why. I suspect it has something to do with coming in from Mongolia. I'd like to send an email direct rather than through the blog.


This was a very full 'Preparation Day', so called. Not much 'preparation' but a full day, none-the-less.

First, we conducted our first Michigan English Language Proficiency Exam. It went well, for the most part. However, we have only 26 tests on hand but had about 40 students show up. So we had the 26 who pre-registered remain and told the rest they would have to take it another day! Not what we would have wanted.

The rest of the day we spent with our Area Supervisor and his wife (Elder and Sister Gibbons) and some of the other senior couples. The highlight was a trip during the afternoon, to a new statue of Chengis Khan, located about 65 kilometers from Ulaanbaatar. It is actually going to be an impressive complex when finished. The statue itself is pretty much complete.

And what a statue it is! This thing is enormous (see picture)! As tall as a ten story building! You can see the rather small looking vehicles out front of the building. People can actually go inside the statue, up some stairs and out on the neck and head of his horse (see next picture) You will notice that Sister Caldwell actually went out there! I don't know which is more impressive -- the statue or mom going out there on it's head!

It's made of stainless steel -- about 210 tons of it! That's nearly half a million pounds!

They will be adding a beautiful area around the statue which will include gardens, several ger groupings where people can rent a 'room' to stay in, an entry way (right now we just cut across the field in our SUV and made our way to the statue anyway we could), and other things. There is a nice restuarant in the building (see picture) and also some nice conference facilities in the basement.

Oh, by the way. I did the driving!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Meeting's Over (See previous post)!

Just had to quickly post our new Christmas decorations! Obviously we received the recently sent Christmas package from our children! Notice the tree, nativity and Poinsetia spray in the hanging stocking (stocking courtesy of Marcia). Thanks a bunch! It just might actually start feeling a bit like Christmas around here!

But you can forget the previous post about the cold temps. It's late evening now and we're already colder than last night (see the new temperature gauge in the header above)! Ouch! It ought to be really fun tomorrow as we pick up our area supervisor at the airport in the morning!

Someone tell Amy she needs to check her email this morning. It is important.

By the way, Happy Birthday, Julie! December 4th ends here in just a little bit but it's just getting a good start there! Hope you have a really great one!

Love you all!

Mom and Dad


Just in case you missed it, winter has arrived in full splendor here in Mongolia! The HIGH temperature for today, was a balmy 13 degress Fahrenheit. . . . . BELOW zero! And as if that isn't bad enough, we've had a 7-8 mile per hour wind along with it! Wind chill -- a minus 35 degrees or so! Trust me, if you haven't 'been there', you have no idea what that can do to a person. Just walking the couple of blocks from our apartment to the office can be a real challenge. We wear coats, hats, boots, gloves, ear muffs and then wrap scarfs around our faces. Sister Caldwell's glasses quickly become fogged and then completely frozen and covered in ice! She can't see a thing and I have to lead her the rest of the way to the office.

And they keep telling us that the temperature will drop another 20 degrees or so before this is over!

Item #2: We got a package from home today! Yiiiipppppeeeee! Haven't had a chance to get home to open it, yet. Will have to wait until after my first District Council Meeting (see entry below) --- which begins right now! Oppps!

Item #3: By the way, I was just asked to serve on the District Council (the mission field version of the Stake Council). So I am once again a Stake/District High Councilor! We won't talk about how the call was extended. Let's just say it was a bit more informal than we would be used to in the States!

TIM (This is Mongolia)!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our Office and Poland

Here's some pictures of where we work. Our office is small (but we are accustomed to that!) but nice. The gal sitting at the computer is our Assistant/Translator Miigaa. She is really great! We feel fortunate to have her to help us. The gentlemen is one of the young men who we are helping with the Michigan English Language test and who is applying to the Church college in Hawaii. They have to pass the English test before they will be accepted to any of the Church's Universities or Colleges.

The next picture is of the hallway/room just outside the office door. If you look carefully behind that pillar, you can see the doorway we come through to get to the office and the big meeting room outside the office. So if we get feeling cramped, we just go out there. That is also where we hold many of our classes.

The girl you can just see sitting at the desk is someone looking for a job. We keep job postings available in this room and people come, check out the listings and then use a phone we also provide, to make calls inquiring about those jobs. There were about 20 or so people who came in during the day today.

Just outside the above referred to door (the behind the pillar), is this area. We come down a wide staircase which is just to around the corner to the far right in the picute. Lots of young people come and play ping pong during the day here. I've thought about playing a bit, but these guys would make me look pretty pathetic!
The final picture is another view of that big room that is just outside our office door. People come in and browse through the job listings at these tables and then wait their turn to use the phone.

We also use the tables for classes and instruction, as already mentioned. And, of course, the room is used for Sunday School classes on Sunday and/or whatever else we happen to need it for. Immediately to my back as I was taking the picture is a kitchen where we can prepare food. We will be holding a senior missionary potluck dinner there this Saturday night as we entertain the Area Employment Specialist and his wife who are coming in from Hong Kong. He will be here for five days and mom and I are in charge of his itinerary while he is here.

Yesterday (Monday our time), the President of Poland came to visit for a couple of days. We have already mentioned that we live across the street from the Chengis Khan Hotel (by the way, we pronounce that Genkis Khan but the correct pronounciation is Chengis Han) which is the nicest place in town. And, of course, that is where the Polish President stayed.

So all day yesteday and all day today, the street (all the way down to our office) was lined with uniformed police and there were police cars everywhere! And they would sometimes close the street entirely to automobile traffic. I came out of the office and was walking down the sidewalk at one point when I noticed I seemed to be the only one on that side of the street. It wasn't long until a somewhat excited officer let me know I had to be on the other side of the street -- immediately!

This evening (Tuesday our time) our visitor seems to be gone and everything is back to normal.