After we returned from the US, we had another 6 (6!) weeks of summer vacation before the kids were back at school. Although entertainment options have grown substantially since we arrived two years ago, there are still limited options so you have to rely on your own creativity and friends to make it all much more exciting.
During the past six weeks, I was often thinking of Gretchen Rubin’s words on finding happiness while raising kids: “the days are long but the years are short.”
And I will not lie, some days were really, really long especially as the beginning of the school year came closer and the weather went crazy: it rained every day from morning until night for one week straight -completely unheard of for this part of the world – we live in the arid steppe, people!
And even though some days were longer than others, we still managed to have lots of fun taking in some of the wonderful aspects of living in Mongolia like weekly horseback riding trips. Every Friday we headed out with friends to leave the city and head to the countryside to Saraa’s Ger Camp where we hopped on horses and rode, trotted, and galloped (oh, what a feeling!) across the wide open spaces. It was amazing.
We also spent a day exploring the near-by 13th century ger camp – an educational camp in which visitors get to experience Mongolian life during the 13th century when Chinngis Khan pretty much ruled the world. Some of us may have taken a serious interest in archery which caused Luca to save up his money and buy his own bow and arrow set.
Other highlights of the summer included a visit to Green Sense‘s greenhouses to pick vegetables and to Everyday Farm to feast on fresh strawberries.
And, who can forget a fun (and rainy) day cheering on the kids’ soccer coach aka the goalie for FC Ulaanbaatar. Yes, he even signed their jerseys – happiness all around.
And these were “just” the highlights in addition to playing countless soccer and baseball games in our shared backyard, riding bikes around the compound and UB’s National Park, making splashes in blow-up pools, shrieking at the fun of water balloons, and playing endless rounds of board games.
Luca read about 50 books this summer (I exaggerate, it was more like 40) including the entire series of “Horrible Histories,” a new favourite while Juliana made great strides towards reading independently (I thank the excellent, excellent summer school teacher we hired [me] although if you asked the kids, they’d tell you she was far too strict at times, oh well).
And then earlier this week, it was time to kiss the kids and summer good-bye and shuttle them back to school. After a quick pat on my back in which I congratulated myself (again) for a successful summer, I took a deep breath in so that I could fully appreciate my new “me” time which promptly led me to the spa and the hair dressers – well deserved if you ask me!