06.09.2013 21 °C
As I am writing this, it is Friday, the sixth of September (already!). Now it's about six o'clock in the evening; today I had my first Mongolian language class! Nice ;-) it seems I can also actually learn some Mongolian hehe. My teacher asked if I experienced a culture shock haha, and I laughed, but it was actually a real question... I don't experience culture shock, although some things are of course really different from the Netherlands. Queues don't exist, people don't phone when they can't make appointments and buses are so full that you hardly can breath.
Last Sunday, all children in Mongolia had their great school year opening (1 September). It doesn’t matter which day the first of September actually is: the opening is always on the first of this month. So all children, parents and teachers were dressed up and actually always especially buy new clothes and get new haircuts for this official opening. Busy on the streets!
Last weekend it was beautiful weather again; about 25 degrees I guess, and Ada and I went to Terelj to see something of the surroundings. Terelj is one of the Xoroos (kind of “sub-districts”) of Nalaikh and we went there by “micro”, a small van which should actually take about 14 people but which took 25 that Sunday. Add this to the great Mongolian roads and you have a wonderful bumpy ride ;-) Anyhow, Terelj is a tiny farmers-village but is beautiful and the surroundings are really nice. Last Saturday we decided to go for a walk and took the Nalaikh-bus to Ulaanbaatar but got out close to Khonkhor and walked through the mountains. So beautiful! We even saw the Trans Mongolia express passing by :-)
After walking through the river, as we couldn’t cross it differently, we walked back to the bus stop and took the bus back to Nalaikh.
The week before this week I spent my time with meeting all kinds of interesting people in Nalaikh and Ulaanbaatar as a preparation for my internship; we talked with the addiction nurse and the managing doctor of the mental health department of the Nalaikh District Health Centre, with the director of the centre, the director of Amnesty International Mongolia, the deputy governor of Nalaikh, the project manager of the 10 year mental health programme of Mongolia, and the director of the Mongol Urkh Psychotherapy Association. All really nice and interesting persons :-)
This week I officially started my internship and the starting-up phase went well; although I have to get used to the Mongolian style of planning meetings and appointments, to the fact that almost all interesting documents need to be translated from Mongolian to English, etc.
About a week ago I also moved into my own apartment, which is about 100 metres away from Ada’s apartment. Really nice! I have to personalise it a little bit but it looks good! I’ll try to make some nice pictures and upload them as well. Oh, and I didn’t tell about our water-thing here (for the Zwolle-people: it’s almost the Harm Smeengekade guys ;-)) Throughout the week we don’t have hot water (if you have any water at all) so every other day I take a ‘shower’ by boiling water, filling 4 times a 1,5 litre bottle with cold water and add some boiled water, and then stand in the bath tub while creating my own shower. Normally in the weekends there is hot water again so we can take a real shower, hehe. The washing machine is also funny (Meike, I think I do understand now what you had to do in Surinam!) as you first need to fill one reservoir with hot water, add soap and your clothes of course, start the machine, drain the water when the programme is done, add fresh cold water, rinse, drain the water, add cold water again, rinse again, drain again, take our your laundry and put it in the centrifuge, start this programme, and then you’re done! (and you’ve been busy for about 2 hours)
I also wanted to let you know that I don’t have Wifi anywhere (in the office I do but somehow my iPhone doesn’t connect to that network) and I always have to go on the internet after working hours in Ada’s apartment. So my responses are not as quick as I would like them to be and unfortunately I can’t send whatsapp’s...
So: I'll definitely send you e-mails back as soon as I have found the time and 'peace' for this hihi, but it might take a while!
Thinking of you again :-)