Arrietty, Pod, and Homily Clock enjoying a quiet evening in their house under the floorboards.

Growing up the way that I did, I became something of a pack rat. I am not sure what exactly inspired me to be that way, but I think part of it came from the charm of The Borrowers. The other part surely came from a desire to claim roots somewhere. Since we moved around so much, my roots became my belongings that I could bring from place to place so that no matter where I was at in the world, I felt a semblance of “home.”

As I’ve grown up, I’ve actively tried to undo that entrenched habit of keeping everything because I am just sick and tired of carting so much stuff around with me wherever I go. Even so, Eric and I have a home–albeit a small one–and we have belongings. A great deal of those belongings will not be making the move with us to Mongolia because it is neither practical nor cost efficient to ship these things with us. I have mentioned this before and will probably mention it again as an international move is no small undertaking.

Currently, we volunteer at a local shelter which will likely become the resting place of a good deal of our belongings as I know that they will be put to use there. But how do I decide what to donate and what to put in storage? Some items–like my grandmother’s sewing machine and attached sewing table–will obviously stay in storage because of their familial importance, but what about dishes and such? The minimalist lifestyle holds great appeal for this former pack rat, but won’t I regret getting rid of our cozy little nest? Fortunately, I should have several months this summer to determine what will stay and what will go. I just hope I’ll be able to make sound decisions!

In unrelated news: we are continuing to raise our support for Mongolia and are inching along slowly. Any progress is better than no progress! Thank you to everyone who has committed to supporting us in one way or another. We appreciate you!



PS. Any suggestions on how to approach this move are more than welcome!



Cайн байна уу!

There is a very possible redirection of our upcoming move to Mongolia. Originally, we were expecting to live and work in Ulaanbaatar, but it actually looks very likely that we will be moving to Erdenet instead. The second largest city in Mongolia with a population of ~100,000, Erdenet is also the capital of the Orkhon province and is north-west-west of UB. As far as settlements go, Erdenet is very young in comparison to the rest of the country as it only got started in the 1970s when copper was discovered in the region. (This is actually quite young considering Mongolia dates back to the 13th century and earlier.)

Close up of Mongolia. See Erdenet? That's home sweet future home!

Close up of Mongolia. See Erdenet? That’s home sweet future home!

The copper mines contribute to the local economy and make the city relatively middle class. Erdenet is also at a lower elevation than UB and slightly warmer, although not by much. A few additional facts that I’ve gleaned from my internet searches:

  • There is a large Buddha statue on the outskirts of the town as well as a Buddhist monastery to the northeast of the city.
  • Besides the copper mines, there is also a carpet factory which makes wool carpets.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about Mongolia online in general and even less about Erdenet. I will keep up my searches, however, and post when I find out anything new.

If everything continues to go according to current plans, Eric and I will be joining a veteran teacher to form a smaller teaching team in Erdenet, which will be nice for us to know another expat who also knows something of the country, culture, and language. In addition to the new location, we may no longer be teaching in a local university–even though there is higher education in Erdenet. Instead, we will likely be teaching high schoolers. Either way, we are excited to have a few more certainties to stand on in regards to this big change.




This post has nothing to do with fitness except in the ways that we needed to physically move ourselves from one government building to another. No, this post is all about paperwork! Lots and lots of paperwork. Even though my parents work internationally and dragged me along with them everywhere, I really had no idea just how much goes into an international move until this last year.

I’ve touched on the difficulty of deciding what to bring and what to leave in the US (or get rid of entirely), but that is only one aspect of this whole process. There is another part of moving that involves a ton of documentation. The following list is more or less what we have had done/turned in so far:

  • Medical insurance forms
  • Life insurance enrollment
  • HIPAA authorization form
  • Direct deposit enrollment
  • US state tax declaration form
  • State tax form
  • W4 tax form
  • Emergency contact form
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Digital diploma scan/digital issue date form
  • Recommendation letter (waived–woohoo!)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Physical passport
  • 4 passport photos
  • Digital passport scan
  • Digital passport photos
  • Health record (Required: chest x-ray, ECG/EKG, and HIV/AIDS testing. Everything had to be filled out, signed, and stamped by our doctor. We have a follow up appointment for travel immunizations.)
  • Criminal background check (involved getting a clearance letter from the FBI and two sets of fingerprints)
  • Visa applications
  • Authenticated marriage certificate (Surprisingly, we already had one of these lying around from when I got my legal name change.)

Although this is the extent of what I understand to be the entirety of our documentation, I’m fairly positive that there will be more paperwork to fill out once we get in country. And, if it means I’ll get to live and work in Mongolia, then all of this legwork is definitely worth it!