Roused from sleep, I only knew that it was "dark." Which in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia "dark" could be anytime from 5PM until 9AM. This particular dark was just after midnight. And this particular waking was because of smoke. The apartment was filled with thick, acrid smoke. We checked every furnace and room to make sure it wasn't coming from our apartment. Questions like "What does one wear, exactly, to go stand outside in -30 degree weather to wait for an undetermined amount of time?"
It ended up unresolved. The smoke was coming from our neighbors apartment. When 5 firemen showed up, our neighbor simply refused to allow them in her house. They knocked on her door for close to an hour and she stood on the other side of the door and refused to let them come in. Apparently everything is alright, because we didn't have to evacuate and we still have our health.
This is my third full day in Mongolia. I will be here for 2 short months, so I want to make the best out of every day. I love working with the churches. I went on a hospice visit with Helen and one of the Mongolian doctors on my first day. The patient's daughter spoke Russian and I was able to have a conversation with her. After that, I went to a party at one of the churches for the senior citizens. Apparently, everyone over 60ish speaks Russian, so I introduced myself in Russian and was understood by almost everyone. We danced after lunch, and an older woman taught me the Mongolian spinning-whirley dervish!
The stores sell Russian and Korean foods. Every box has either Russian or Korean lettering on it. I feel super prepared to be here! Every day holds new adventures, new low temperatures, and new learning experiences for me. I'm so thrilled to be here - and right now I'm just hanging on for dear life.