Six students from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College trek across Mongolia in search of illumination, perspective, and the perfect cup of Yak-milk tea.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

File this one away under bad references to material later found in the content of this post.

    It was a cold, rainy day in Ulaan Bataar, the capital city of Mongolia. This was to be the second day in a row that I was woken up with a pounding on the door to my apartment. This time, it was an older lady. She stood outside my door, clutching a piece of crumpled white paper covered in red pen markings. It appeared to be a list of names. With only a brief Sain Baainu for a warning, she then launched into a volley of questions, gesticulating and pointing at the list. I suavely deployed my carefully memorized phrase, "My Mongolian is very poor and I don't understand what you're saying." I think I might have mispronounced a few key phrases and said "Please speak faster and louder, and if it's not too much trouble, be sure to use some more gestures I don't understand." An older gentleman walked past her down the stairs, and they had a brief exchange where the woman pointed at me and then laughed. If I had to guess, I'd say they were talking about the rain.
    Classes have just ended, and I feel a bit listless as I wait for my internship to begin next week. I suspect some of the others feel similarly. Our spirits were brightened quite a bit when we received a care package from an erstwhile member of Team GQKMSC: the inimitable Amy. Stocked with Parmesan cheese, popcorn, and a comically large metal file conveniently hidden in a birthday cake, it was a welcome window into a more familiar world. Yes, that of Italian food, movie theatres, and bad 1950's jailbreak movies. In an important side note, the comically large metal file is completely fictional, and is most likely a project of my deranged, manicure-oriented imagination.
    All is well. Hope it is with you, also. Take care.