Friday, August 08, 2008

My Sweetheart

Two thoughts occurred to me today:

  1. aloe juice is delicious and...
  2. my husband gets way too little blog time
About the aloe juice, it is now officially my favorite beverage. Since I'm cutting back on caffeine, it has replaced coffee as my preferred drink. It's so yummy with all that pulp floating around...mmmmm

Ok, about Hetee not getting much blog space, I don't know why that is. He's totally blog worthy, I just don't seem to write about him very much compared to the kids. I thought about why that is and, I think it's because he's just so sugary sweet that it's hard to pick one thing to write about.

I don't know if any of you other grown women out there are afraid of needles, but I am. I was thinking the other day that in the nearly 7 years we've been married, Hetee has always held my hand when I had to get a shot or give blood for tests etc. His hand has always been there for me to squeeze the living daylights out of and, he never complains.

Through the births of 3 children his hand was the grounding factor that kept me focused. If I let go of his hand, even between contractions I felt like I might lose touch with reality and pass out. (So much for the relaxation techniques!)

Anytime I have to face something in life that I don't think I can go alone (there are many of "needles" along life's path), I fish for and always find my Love's hand. Ready. No matter how silly or childish it may seem, he never rolls his eyes or acts in a way that makes me feel like I need to grow up.

And that's just one reason I'm crazy about this guy.

May I Help You?

In Mongolia, customer service generally leaves a lot to be desired. Customers usually don't get any special treatment in stores, banks or restaurants.

I tend to get really frustrated at the lack of manners of the people who are supposed to be serving me. Sometimes I look around because I just know there's a hidden camera somewhere, waiting to make me look like a fool.

Waiters in Mongolia have to be the worst.

Here are 3 scenarios that took place over the course of the last 3 months or so, in different restaurants in UB and in Darkhan.

Waitress #1:
We were enjoying lunch in the restaurant of the fancy hotel/resort we were staying at with friends from UB. We took our time ordering our food, each family taking their turn and adding this or that to their order. Each time the waitress would bring something to the table, someone would inevitably ask for a glass of water or an extra spoon, or for more sugar, etc.

With each request, the waitress got visibly angrier. It was really obvious and I was starting to get kind of nervous. I mean, I didn't want to put her out but we were obviously really chaffing her behind!

Now,I had a real dilemma: 3 kids who all needed 3 separate plates and forks.

I swallowed hard, and in my nicest voice asked if we could get more plates and utensils. The waitress put up her hand as if to stop me from talking and said in a shaky voice,

"Just make up your minds and order once and for all. Don't keep asking me for more stuff!"


Waitress #2:
Again, we were in UB having dinner with friends. The waitress at this Chinese restaurant was really funny. Each time someone asked for a certain meal from the menu she'd wrinkle up her nose and say, "That's disgusting".

The first time she did this, I didn't think much of it. After all, I've been in Mongolia a while and these things kind of seem normal by now. But when she did it a second and a third time, I had to stifle the chuckles.

Seriously, someone fire her!

Waiter #3:
A few weeks ago we were having Sunday lunch at the Texas Pub in Darkhan. The waiter, obviously distressed at the fact that he'd have to wait on me- a foreigner who most likely didn't speak Mongolian- took forever to actually get to our table and take our order.

When I gave him our order in Mongolian (Hetee was on the phone, busy), he relaxed a little.

I ordered Fantas for the kids- a treat when we eat out- and a Coke for Hetee.

The Waiter returned with 2 warm, grape Fantas. He didn't bother to ask if we wanted grape or orange.

I asked him if he didn't have anything colder. He said they had cold drinks but they were orange.

Now, I didn't say I wanted grape, so why did he automatically bring the warm grape drinks instead of the cold orange ones? Because he knew the drinks were for the kids and, in Mongolia, kids don't drink cold things. But he could have asked. Both the grape drinks and the orange drinks are "Fanta".

So, my kids were upset that they had to drink the warm drinks, since the guy had already opened them before asking us and, I didn't want to be unreasonable and send them back.

Oh, and he never did bring the Coke.

Oh, yeah, here's a free tip:

If you're ever at a restaurant in Darkhan and they give you a straw, don't use it.

It's most likely been used before. I can tell this from the chew marks and holes.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What's Been Making Me Smile

  1. visions of care packages, dancing in my head
  2. blasts from the past (thank you Mr. Internet)
  3. my sister, Jennifer has her daughter, Alaina back after 5 years of court battles
  4. squash and rhubarb (thanks Krista!)
  5. our very own table tennis para-olimpian (Go, Badral!)
  6. a husband who is sweeter than honey and goes out of his way to spoil me rotten
  7. chick flicks
  8. Starbucks from afar
  9. Dr. Pepper and mango juice in UB
  10. Lord Of The Beans

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Happy Birthday, Nate!

Nate turns 6 today!

10 things I love about Nate:
  1. He's fun-loving
  2. He loves to joke and make people laugh
  3. Nate is one of the friendliest kids I know
  4. He's a math whiz
  5. He eats raw red bell peppers with me
  6. He likes to do things the unconventional way
  7. He's a great party planner
  8. He's my firstborn
  9. He's strong willed
  10. He thinks I'm cool

His party was on Friday. We invited everyone to come at 12 noon. At 12:02, when no one had shown up yet, I found him outside in the street, barefoot...

Forlorn and dejected. "Why aren't they coming, Mommy?"

Friends... (check out Abi in her dancing dress. Thank you, Aunt Ella!)

But, before long, everyone arrived and the party started.

And cake. The perfect combo for a 6 year-old!

The highlight of my day Friday was Nate, coming through the front door, after an outing with his daddy, holding a small bouquet of real, imported roses! As he handed them to me he said, "Thank you for giving birth to me, Mommy".

It was also great to see the look on Nate's face as he opened his presents. God gave him the "desires of His heart" (Nate's words) : A two-wheel bike (from his American Grandparents) and a CD player (from his Mongolian grandparents).