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In a historic moment Mongolia clinched a gold medal in Judo- instead of writing on it I am going to shamelessly link to our friends and co-workers, the Lain’s blog.

If you have not met Larry, Krista, Avery and Eli I would like to introduce them.  We will be going through language school together.  They were one of the couples (among a total of 4 headed to Mongolia) that we met at Wheaton and we both live in Darhan (although different areas).  They have been living in a ger (the felt Mongolian tent).  Avery and Eli are about the same ages as Annika and Toby which is great!

I can’t believe I don’t have pictures of them!  But I promise we will soon.  The Lains love to rock climb- what a hardship having to bum rope rides off of them!  We love you guys.

setting up the IKEA desk

setting up the IKEA desk

Did we mention that we have been to 3 shops that claim to be IKEA?  They are all in UB, and all do carry some amount of IKEA stuff.  We purchased a desk, a lamp and cutting boards.  We will probably go back when we get other opportunities and just see what else they have.  Their prices are high for some things while really good for other things.  When you drive around UB you see signs everywhere for IKEA, North Face, and a lot of other recognizable brand names.

Of the many things I packed and re-packed over the past several months, some of those I am most thankful to have brought are the kids’ IKEA dishes.  Yes, I can buy more here, but it was great to just pull them out of the duffel and put them in the cabinet and know that if all else failed, the kids had something on which to eat their meals!  With all the shopping fatigue and the drains on cash supplies for other necessities, I couldn’t help feeling thankful to have a few simple things from home in our kitchen here.  There has not been much that I’ve unpacked and wondered why I bothered to bring it.  I can really only think of one thing, and it simply came by mistake (I thought it was a waterproof mattress cover for Toby, but it’s a crib pad!).  We did bring a lot of clothes for the kids and a lot of their stuffed animals, but right now I don’t regret either one.  I’m glad not to have to do laundry every day for them and the stuffed animals are played with and cuddled everyday.

I’m looking forward to hanging the few pictures we brought with us as soon as I figure out how to do that on the concrete walls . . . The small winter scene by Larsson in a red frame will look perfect and will be another touch from home.

Thanks for the comments and for letting us know that you’re reading what we write!  We won’t have as much time to write as soon as classes start, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to read what YOU write!  Please keep in touch with us as much as you can.

with love from the Wood’s

Mark has been doing all the blogging until now, so here goes my attempt.  I have been fighting with the computer to upload some photos for all of those who are clamoring to see pictures and decided since I’m sitting here anyway I might as well write a few things, too.  We’re spending our days shopping and unpacking.  It really is a luxury to have the time to learn how to do all the day-to-day chores before we get into language learning, and it’s a big blessing to have team members who take us everywhere and translate for us – not to mention those who move furniture and appliances!  And some who also have a good eye for color and understand how much we should pay for things here (thanks, team!).

I’m trying to keep up with the laundry since we don’t have much room to hang things for drying.  We purchased a much-used drying rack which certainly helps with the space issue; however, it’s going to take some getting used to having very crispy jeans, t-shirts, socks, and everything in between.  It’s one thing to have crisp sheets and another thing altogether to have crunchy towels and washcloths!

While Mark was home recovering from the stomach thing that we’ve all passed around, I purchased a really big couch today.  There aren’t many choices for furniture here in Darhan, so when we found a couch in a neutral shade and fabric (not lime green, plastic orange, or shiny gold leopard print) for a good price, we knew it was meant to be ours.  Just for the record, Mark did see it yesterday before I actually purchased it.  However, in our small apartment the size is a bit overwhelming.  I may need to re-arrange my furniture a few times to figure out how it’s going to work.  At least it has 4 sections so that gives me a few more options.  Mom, I know you would love to help with this challenge so feel free to draw some diagrams as you get time!  (No comments about the rug — it’s borrowed temporarily).  I’m just happy to have a comfortable place for us and our guests to sit, and also very glad to be done with that part of the shopping.

We want to say a big “Thank You” to all of you who have blessed us with your prayers and your financial help.  You’re an important part of everything that God is doing in our lives here and we need you all.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.  We start language classes one week from today, so we would appreciate your prayers for that transition.  Annika also starts 2nd grade that same day!  We still need to arrange for childcare for Toby, but we feel really good about the possibilities available here in Darhan.  Pray for us to make the best decision for Toby regarding his caregiver.  We love you guys!

Here’s a picture of Annika by the drying laundry (in the living room pre-couch).  Annika posed for me yesterday while Toby was napping, so she’s in most of the recent pictures.

a periwinkle kitchen is cheery!

a periwinkle kitchen is cheery!

After arriving in Darhan we have been staying in the guest house (another apartment in the same complex).  Each night we have had dinner with another member of the Darhan team- we feel very supported, welcomed and incredibly well fed.  Our days have been filled with market runs, shopping and getting things together for our apartment.

On Thursday morning we began moving our bags from the guest house into our apartment.  We were waiting for cabinets to be hung and a few other things.  The walls are concrete so any drilling needs to be with a hammer drill and is quite large (no drywall- removing an wall paper here is a major task that involves re-plastering the walls).  The worker’s drill did not have a plug, just two wires that the other worker held into the socket- welcome to Mongolia.

We now have internet access.  We purchased a wireless card that basically fits into our USB port and acts like a cell phone for our computer.  Its pretty fast and the best part is we don’t need to connect to any lines and can take it anywhere.  At $300 US it isn’t cheap to start out with but its only $20 a month- they don’t have plans over here on cell phones or internet or cable.  So the good news is we will be able to post pictures.  There will be some that are out of order.  The next week we will be at field forum so it will be about a week until we post again.  Skype is up and working although the audio still has kinks so best to chat first to see if we are around.  We can’t skype around the clock – its a 13 hour time difference.