Friday, September 26, 2008

in retrospect

It's been a whirlwind month since I returned from Mongolia. I flew back on a Saturday and classes began on Monday. I've fallen back into old routines but I haven't forgotten Mongolia.

The last week in Mongolia was pure bliss, punctuated by more moments of what-am-I-thinking? I flew from Ulaanbataar to Moron (pronounced "maroon," not... the other way) and traveled by jeep to Khusvgal, located in northern Mongolia near the Russian border. I spent a few idyllic days by the lake, reading, hiking, drinking homemade vodka, picking berries off a cliff, and galloping across the grassy steppe while pretending I was Genghis Khan.

A few favorite memories:

- Playing card games with a pack of local boys and communicating through facial expressions and hand gestures. The group thought of elaborate "punishments" for the players who lost the game. My punishment? Acting like a goat and running around the room like a monkey.

- Waking up in the middle of the night to wild animals pawing at my ger and weighing the dangers of venturing outside or staying indoors and letting my bladder burst. It was a long night.

- Eating horshu made of ground sheep organs with some friends while the rest of the sheep was tacked onto the wall next to me.

- Saikhnaa and I looking for bread and talking about how strange it is that we've become such good friends.

- Gazing upon deer stones (megaliths) while surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. Ever.

So I'm back and alive and still have both kidneys. I am amazed at my ability to adapt to my surroundings. Mongolia seems so far away.

I plan to post some Khuvsgal pictures on my blog soon. Thanks to Evelyn and Susan W. for sending me the following article. Tim Wu writes a wonderful series about Mongolia.

This blog began out of convenience and its usefulness hasn't died yet. A few of you urged me to continue writing. I think I will. It's been freeing to put into words all the things that I can't or won't say. I'm sure that I will be having many more adventures. This is just the beginning!