I’m coming to you live from the post-office-slash-internet-cafe in lovely [Mongolian city] (name typed, then deleted — I almost forgot how I’m not supposed to tell the Internet where I am). I told my host dad that I’d be home soon to help him clean and whatnot, so I’ll sit here and type the latest entry from my deep thoughts journal until it’s time to go, okay? I have no pictures to share because this computer isn’t recognizing my flash drive and I’ve already spent 200 tugriks (fifteen cents) while sitting here trying to troubleshoot the danged thing. Anyway. Short story is: I’m living in a house, in my own room, with my host dad (Aaw). My host mom is away in Korea until July, so mostly it’s just me and pops, with occasional visits from two grown daughters who live nearby. One of these daughters speaks some English. Another of these daughters has an 11-year-old girl who plays Uno with me. There’s no running water. There’s a squat outhouse. There’s a cat, and a dog. There’s lots of meat, and soup, and meat soup. I’m here with a group of TEFL volunteers. We have language lessons in the morning and culture/teaching lessons in the afternoon. The city I’m in is about 30,000 people, I think. Ryan is on another planet, basically, but we got our cell phones early so we can make snide remarks to each other every night. So, you know, things are fine. I hope your things are fine, too.
June 12, 5 p.m.-ish
A day of firsts:
1. First time sleeping past 5:30 am. I woke up at 7:30, after being dead to the world for maybe 10 hours. Being an idiot all day long really takes it out of me, apparently.
2. First bowel movement in the squat outhouse! Very excited about this one, although the less said the better, probably. Here is what I will tell you, though: For the remainder of the summer I’m not going to waste my time doing resistance training-type stuff with any muscle groups from the glutes on down. Taking a simple whizz has turned into a haunch-shakingly good workout, to say nothing of the burn incurred during this morning’s long-anticipated b.m. Never before have I associated lactic acid with poopin’, but until I master the Asian Squat (which will be never) I guess my dumps will be…strenuous, ah, affairs.
3. First jog in my training town, and first time acting like an adult, at least in my communicating (non-verbally, that is) the idea of, “I will do this thing now and I will come back in an hour, okay? Okay bye.” Aaw pointed me in the direction of some hills, and I puttered and huffed and plodded my way up a few of them. Three little cowlets stared at me, as did some locals, although some other locals smiled and waved and giggled and whathaveyou. It’s awkward (operative two words for the next 27 months) knowing whom to bestow eye contact upon, and after said contact has been bestowed, to know whether to move on to a smile or a nod or a little wave or even some (completely, monstrously) unintelligble Mongolian. When I do roll the dice and attempt a sain bainuu, I usually get blank stares. Oh well.
4. First alcoholic drink with the host family (the host family being Aaw, for the most part). The whole time I’ve been writing this, Aaw has been shooting the shit with a friend at the kitchen table, with what I can only estimate is a 1.5 liter bottle of Russian beer sitting between the two of them. I’m over on the couch. Although I considered joining them at the table, like agonized about it for a short intense period, I think staying put was a good idea — Aaw has delivered a small glass of beer unto me and I don’t see any reason to insert myself, mute and smiling, into their conversation. Also I have made the mistake of finishing my first glass, so of course I’m on my second, now.
OMG AAW IS PLAYING THE ACCORDION