Tuesday, January 31, 2012

...and you think your job stinks?

Really I wanted to title this post "Take this job and shove it"....after the old time country song, which then goes on to say "I ain't workin' here no more"!  Nope, not talking about PC, this job is cool... but I'm sure some of you reading this have had jobs that drove you crazy, had you dying for pay day, or just plain old dreading getting out of bed in the morning!  I know I've had a few!
People here in this struggling democracy do many jobs that I just cannot fathom!   The photos for this piece were taken in UB in winter.  I was cold just walking around outside, wearing long johns top and bottom, heavy jeans, wool sweater, 2 pair of smart wool socks, fuzzy lined boots, fuzzy lined hat, plus hood, scarf and heavy mittens.  The bitter cold wind chilled me to the core!  I cannot imagine having to tolerate the cold and work in those conditions just to eek out a living!
these women have chopped up the ice and snow from this patio and are moving it

road snow removal crews

changing billboard in daytime... 

ice and snow is chipped away

men in trees hanging holiday lights

ice and snow removal in progress
Ice and snow removal is a big job here, a long and arduous process.... no such things as snow shovels, snow blowers, snow plows.  People are the snow removal machines.  As the woman above are shown, chipping away at the frozen mess, it's then scooped onto a tarp and moved.  Streets are eventually cleared much the same way, with people wearing orange vests.
More crappy jobs here abound... I witnessed men changing billboards at night, when the temperature was at least 20 degrees colder than daytime, police officers standing in busy intersections directing traffic day and night, crews laying cable at night in the bitter cold, women and men on the sidewalks hawking their wares, ie. phone units, candy, cigarettes, sweaters etc., and the folks who work on the buses and trolley cars, collecting fares. 
So the next time you are feeling unhappy with your work, look on the bright side; you could have a job doing snow removal in Mongolia! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter time is for dreaming....

Winter is the perfect time for staying inside, dreaming, planning and reflecting.  I personally like winter for that very reason!  Snuggled up in the warmth and comfort of home, with a good book,  puzzle, knitting, movie, coffee; perfect for dreaming and reflecting about one's life.

Recently the birth of Carter, my "surrogate grandson", has inspired lots of reflection for me.  Since my daughter Vicki passed away over 5 years ago, her best friend Courtney became my "surrogate daughter".  Now, there are a couple other best friend,s Heaven and Joanna, that I keep in touch with, though not closely.

Courtney and I have helped each other heal from Vicki's absence as much as one can help another in such circumstances. We have hung out together and built a close and caring friendship.  One that has helped me through many tough times when I've been missing Vicki.   I served as the maid of honor in her wedding to Cody, whom Vicki knew and definitely approved of, in Vicki's stead.  It was an honor for me to be part of their ceremony and now more than two years later, to meet (via pictures on facebook for now) of their little offspring!

Being across the world in Mongolia, I will meet Carter on Skype sometime soon.  As my eldest son Pete tells me, we are just like the Jetsons (awesome cartoon) now, where we can see each other on the phone!!

My reflection occasionally brings me sadness and mournful feelings.  Vicki loved children, and though I don't know if she would have had any kids by now..... I know that I will never get that experience of knowing my daughters children.  She would've been a great mother, as Courtney will!  Like Vicki, Courtney is very caring, giving, loving and kind.  The exact traits I admired in my daughter.  

The universe has it's own rhythm, and life goes on no matter what..... I am very happy to have Courtney (and Cody, Brutus the adorable dog).. and now Carter in my life!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year!

me taunting one of the jejurs who always teases me! at school  shin jil party!

me in the middle with my amazing dorm teacher counterparts!
cool fireworks in Suukbaatar Square

the fireworks extravaganza reminded me of July 4th at home

Mongolian President wishing the country a happy and prosperous new year
Since New Year's is the big holiday celebrated here in Mongolia, parties and celebrations abound!  I personally have attended more gatherings and festivities here than my usual at home.
This holiday season I attended the dorm students Shin Jil party, where the girls looked like prom goers and the boys very dapper!  It was rather low key this year; held at the dorm, in the dining hall.
Then was the teachers party which likewise, is extremely formal and quite a good time!  For New Year's Eve I came to the big city where many places are closed, as many families stay home and celebrate.  The gang of PCV's I hung out with managed to find an Irish Pub open, where I enjoyed pork and sauerkraut for dinner!
Fireworks and a televised speech by the Mongolian President were the highlights on the square in Ulaanbaatar at midnight.  Though there were mostly foreigners there, quite a few locals were also present.  
Father Winter at dorm party!

dorm girls having fun!

two of my favorite dorm boys, holding the new year's cards i gave all the students

along with Father Winter are the Snow Princesses and the Mini Santas

even the boys are all dressed up!

I don't usually make resolutions for the New Year, but I'd like to think that I'll continue to attempt to learn more about myself, work on my spirituality and make the world a better place however I can.  My new years wish for everyone is love and happiness, wherever and whenever you can find it.  Give love and it'll come right back to you.  Welcome 2012, Year of the Dragon.