June 20. 7 pm on a Sunday. Aaw’s out someplace. I’m watchin’ a Mongolian-dubbed Korean soap on the teevee and eatin’ some chocolate. This counts as studying, right? Right.
Here’s what my morning was like:
1. Woke up at 7:30. Emerged from room at 7:45. Strongly suspected that Aaw, who sleeps on a bed in the living room, was waiting for me to get up before he got up. Also strongly suspected he was chuckling at me for sleeping so late.
2. Washed my hair, brushed my teeth, decided to wear a dress, took my big bucket and some water and some shaving implements out to the shower stall. Shaved.
3. Ate breakfast (leftover meaty noodle soup). Drank one of those instant coffees that come in a single serving sleeve (which the family buys just for me, I think).
4. Got out my notebooks and flashcards and things and settled in at the kitchen table for another weekend morning of studying Mongolian. Whee?
5. At this point, Aaw comes over, gets out a piece of paper and a pen, and draws me a pretty landscape: mountains, river, trees, sun. Lovely. He teaches me the words for all these things ( I immediately forget them) and then he gets across, mainly through charades, that we should take my books and go to the river and study there for a couple of hours.
6. Every pleasure center in my brain lit up, like a Christmas tree. I said TEEM* and he showed me his binoculars and I said TEEM, TEEM** and he told me to fill up my water bottle and I said TEEMTEEMTEEM*** and then I ran to my room and packed my sunscreen and my camera and an extra lens and then I ran back out to the kitchen and danced around and sang the TEEM TEEM TEEM ZA ZA ZA**** song and then (needle on record sound) I realized that the river is far away, and that Aaw therefore was meaning to take me on the only motorized vehicle the family owns: A motorcycle.
7. Riding a motorcycle is basically the biggest Peace Corps no-no imaginable. Like they will send you home immediately if you do it. Now, technically, in this case, I would not have been riding on a motorcycle; I would have been riding next to it, because Aaw has a sidecar attached to his motorcycle and that would have been the most bitchin’ thing ever. Picture it. Me and Aaw, cruising on our Soviet-era steed through the Mongolian countryside, not unlike Batman and Robin, on our way to the river to do some serious birdwatching. I wish to convey to you just how badly I wanted this to happen. Words are failing me. I wanted it. Real bad.
8. I’ve been doing a lot of sitting around these past couple of weeks, see, and I’m kinda jealous every time other volunteers have stories of field trips, and animal slaughterings, and livestock wrasslin’s, and visits to shamans, and family picnics, and et cetera. I mean obviously I know it’s not a race and I will someday see and do plenty of Mongolian-y things and plus I really like my host family! I should not complain about anything! Indeed I am not complaining. I just want you to understand
a) just how very much I wanted to go to that danged river, and
b) how huge of a bummer it was for me to tell him I couldn’t, and to then sit back down at the table with my homework. Ugh man, it’s bumming me out right now, just writing about it.
Anyway, here are the good things that happened today:
- Dog let me touch him, and he made bigtime submissive dog-gestures while I did it, so obvs this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship
- I made myself a big bowl of stir-fried vegetables for dinner
- My coteachers and I got a good start on a lesson plan for Monday, and
- I am healthy and life is good and all that.
** YES, YES
**** YES YES YES OKAY OKAY OKAY
P.S. New pictures are up on Flickr! See Dog and Cat for yourselves! Coming soon: Pictures of the fam!