We made it to Mongolia!

We have arrived – in Mongolia – at long last!

We left a day after packing out (again) our UAB (that’s the unaccompanied airfreight for you non-FS folks) and parting with the rest of our pantry (thanks to dear friends who carried everything they could to their homes) and a final farewell dinner at “our” favorite Falls Church brewery.

It was a whirlwind of a trip getting here and I am still amazed at how well the kids handled the never-ending flight followed by a crazy jet lagged layover in Seoul and then another hop onto Mongolia. Fortunately for Juliana the second flight was nowhere near as long as the first (she asked around hour 9 of the first flight how long the second one would be, crossing her little fingers that it would be shorter).

Flying into Ulaanbaatar, we were surrounded by pitch black darkness but still peeled our faces as close to the window as possible to check out the lay of the land (which we couldn’t see because it was pitch black dark outside but we tried). We arrived at the wonderful time of o’dark thirty – otherwise known as close to midnight and our 8 checked bags, car seats, 4 backpacks, and 4 carry-on “personal items” all made it to us in just under an hour. And then another skip and a hop and we were in our new home by around 1:45am at which time we had completely given up trying to understand clocks, days, and timezones.

All that mattered at that time was to claim possession of our new (and awesome) home (Facebook friends, you have been privileged to pictures) and decide who gets to sleep (whenever that would be) where.

Others (Luca) took this settling in bit far more serious – it turns out he had been spending the gazillion hours on a plane scheming what his room would look like.

May I present?


Luca’s room otherwise known as the “Museum of Dinosaurs and the Universe.” Yes, he unpacked his backpack and went to work making signs showing the way to his museum and then built displays for his dinosaurs at 2am. I guess we all have our priorities when we’re settling in….

IMG_9015The next day, John went off to work as usual (who needs sleep?) and I decided to make friends with the local currency – the Mongolian tugrik – which looks a little bit like Monopoly money especially considering the smallest bill is 20 MNT and the largest is 20,000 MNT. The kids were majorly impressed when I each gave them 500 MNT for their piggy banks; it just took a “little” bit of explaining that this was roughly the equivalent of 25 US cents.

Our fantastic embassy sponsors showed us around the next few days and while we had lots of fun playtime here in the sun (!),


we still had some catching up to do in the sleep department to avoid those jet lagged faces at dinner…


Next up? Recap of the first few days walking around – I know you’re all anxiously awaiting what UB looks like so stay tuned! (For a sneak peek, check out the new header picture above!)


4 thoughts on “We made it to Mongolia!

  1. Thanks, Nicole! I am enjoying John’s tea and hot water heater right now while reading your wonderful post! I feel like I am there with you. Keep sharing! 🙂

  2. That museum set up is brilliant – even moreso that it was accomplished at 2am after that flight itinerary! The jetlag faces I can relate to all too well, hoping that you all recover soon!

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