Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wet Paint!!

We just recently learned that the sign in this first picture, means 'Wet Paint'. We do learn a little bit of Mongolian when the occasion demands it. Why do you care, you ask?  Read on.

We have been out of town for a few days and, in fact, still are at this posting, traveling with Elder and Sister Powell. We are traveling to three separate cities in the northern part of Mongolia, doing some training, testing and instructing. Things have gone pretty well and we have accomplished much. With the exception of one 'little' glitch, that is.

As we visited one of those three towns (Erdenet), we 'divided and conquered' for a bit. Sister Caldwell and I got things going at the Church building while the Powells checked on English instruction and sponsors. However, when they returned, Elder Powell said something like, "Boy, I wish I understood Mongolian!", turned his back side to us and lifted his coat. What we saw, you can also plainly see in picture number two!! He had sat down right in front of the sign, having no clue what it said! Someone did came along and rattled off a bunch of Mongolian to him, to which he pleasantly responded, 'Hi, how are ya'!"

A bit later, we had a couple of minutes of extra time and returned to 'the scene of the crime.' We found many people (all of whom could very readily read that sign) sitting on those same benches. We managed to talk Elder Powell (he was very hesitant at first) into lifting his coat so that they could see what the dumb Americans had done! We thought they might get a good laugh at our expense. Well, ok. At Elder Powells expense, at least.

But their reaction was a bit unexpected. When they saw Elder Powells trousers, they immediately looked very shocked, quickly jumped up off the bench and began checking their own clothing! They were certain they had 'sat in it' themselves!

Surprised, we hurriedly made some hopefully appropriate apologies and explanations (which none of them, of course, likely understood anyway) and quickly walked away. Once out of sight, we couldn't stop laughing!!

That was just one experience from this trip which turned out pretty good! We'll share more of our little excursion in the next few posts. Like maybe our visit to Russia.

In fact, we have much to share and are a bit behind. We'll try to catch up this week, if we can.
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Teaching English

As a result of the changes made in application of immigration laws (see prior posts), we will only be able to teach English for the organization which sponsors us. Our sponsor is now the Changiss Khan Hotel, just down from the Church office building and across the street from our apartment complex. A convenient location, indeed!

Unfortunately, we are no longer able to teach at the two places at which we have been teaching since we arrived over a year and a half ago – the National Archives and the Sukhbaatar Court Judges. We had enjoyed teaching there and will miss the friendships we had formed with many of those students.

We will spend about the same amount of hours at our new assignment with less travel time (that was sometimes a significant problem at the old locations – too many traffic snarls here) but more in class time. And there will be a lot more students. We taught only 12 or so students total at the old locations. We had 55 at our first class at the hotel.

But there are some nice perks at the hotel, too. The Operations Director and the Registration Director are both Returned Missionaries and the General Manager is an American (Sam Sallam) we have come to know through other dealings with him. He also is familiar with the Church and has a son who used to be an active member.

Between the three of them, they have insisted that we eat dinner there after class every day. That’s four days a week! And this is an upbeat, very nice establishment! At least one of the nicest in town, if not the nicest.

Thought you might like to see where we ate our first meal there. The sacrifices we have to make! This was actually a lunch after we held our first, level testing class. From now on, it looks like we will be eating dinner.

We’ll see if we will be able to stick with it every time we teach. But it will be nice, at least once in a while!! We’ll let you know how it goes, from time to time.

While we were there, they brought in a group of children from a nearby orphanage and feed them lunch in another part of the hotel. You’ve got to understand that these little Mongolian kids are just wonderful! Much cuter than the American kids (with the exception of our grandchildren, of course!).

They were sure excited!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goodbye!!

A couple days ago, we had to say goodbye to nearly all of the American Missionaires still left in Mongolia. It was a sad day. Seniors tend to get pretty close to some of the 'hometown' missionaries.

About half of them will be returning home, their missions having come to a close. The other half have been assigned to other missions for the remainder of their mission service. They had mixed feelings, wishing they could remain in Mongolia, but happy to be a serve somewhere. The half reassigned were those we had come to know while in the Provo MTC. Before all of the troubles hit, we had thought we might be traveling home with them in August.

The video is of those missionaries singing "Called To Serve" in Mongolia while also signing the song using Mongolian sign language. Most learn to sign while here, as well, due to the large numbers of deaf people there are.

video

Not many foreign missionaries left here, now. We did hear, however, that there will be 4 new Americans coming in July or August. That would be the first new foreign missionaries in a very long time.