Letter to all, 11-03-00


November, 2001

Old stale words that barely echo from the girl that sits here now...but thought you'd still like some catch up.

To All, My new hashaa is just such a nice place to live. It's a 20-minute leisurely walk from school. I think this actually helps me by giving me time to absently ponder nothing in particular, keeps me at school socially instead of retreating to my ger for breaks, and it forces me to spend time outside when the weather doesn't' encourage being out of doors more than necessary and the sun exposure helps with the winter blues that can be volatile when confined to a dark ger for months. Also my hashaa grandma is great. My only dislike is the dismal existence the dogs are subjected to. But my relationship with my grandma is warming. She referred to me as manay jesika, manay amerik khuun (our Jessica, our american). My attempts at Mongolian are a constant source of amusement for her. And she laughs when she says 'hello' or 'goodbye' - we're still working on a recognizable 'goodnight'. Recently we fussed with my ger. It was some sort of winter preparation, but all we did was take everything off then put it all back on.

She kept congratulating me for doing the right thing. My natural height advantage made it easier for me to feel useful. Though she practically rolled off the roof when she told me to tatakh (pull) and I wondered why she was talking about cigarettes (tatakh = to smoke) so I let go and stepped back. My uninvited mouse guests were also discovered at this time and the boy sent off for poison. I objected, saying as Buddhists we shouldn't kill anything. She asked if I liked the dirty things, I said no, but provided days of giggles with the defense that they are cute. Now bad things, my ger felt slipping, the fire's dung being trampled, are blamed on the mice. Mongolians creativity is different from Americans (and my way is probably odd to all) but such teasing was first misunderstood as it was being taken literally. More recently I was attacking, chopping doesn't describe it, two blocks of wood. Not pieces so much as just big twisted knots. As usual grandma sent the boy in our hashaa to do the work for me. I obviously couldn't so I handed the blunt hunk of metal, referred to as an axe, over. He too had difficulty, so grandma joined us. Amongst laughter and me testing him with country names in Mongolian he was to translate, we had a slow flow of flying wood pieces. Chores are constant and so made into social events. The inefficiency baffles me and still grates my American sense of time. But usually only more overly abundant time would be gained, so I keep my suggestions to myself. Such as the delivering of a van full of dung. It pulled in and dumped, instead of driving around the ger and dumping next to the shed where it would be stored. But this allowed for giggle filled racing between the boy, Amga, and me to deliver it to grandma who was stacking it in the shed. So, October and November have passed. They seemed to simply brush by my consciousness as they warmly hurried out of the way of winter. So I'll just do random catch up thoughts:

The workers delivered my couch in a rush of 3 stooges organization. Amplified by it being 5 "helpers" with 2 children. It's a constant joking enquiry of whether I need the couch bed to fold out to fit two?? I am going to take a Mongolian husband, right?

Grandma came in to check out the new couch. Her and Amgo were very interested in my cloth suitcase. It's just for one person's things?! And it rolls with an extendable handle!


Fri Dec 28 19:49:58 2001