As I near the 10 month mark here in Mongolia (holy effin crap), I find that Mongolia is becoming more and more... normal... to me.
By normal, I mean that throwing a rock at a dog's head no longer leaves me feeling guilty. Or that eating a bowl of sootay bodaah (milk tea with rice) is as commonplace as eating a bowl of cereal was when I lived in the States. And spending hours upon hours traveling through nowhere packed like a sardine in a very questionable looking car does not leave me frustrated, angry, or uncomfortable (well, that last bit is a lie... I just don't think about it anymore).
To quote my neighbor Bajay, "Saraa, chi jinkin mongol hyn!" Sarah, you are a totally legit Mongol.
You better believe it.
Anyhow, last time you saw me, I was headed back to Dariganga to celebrate Tsagaan Sar with my friends and co-workers.
I was traveling with my lil pup and my counterpart's sister. And of course 6 other Mongolians, but I didn't know them. We all piled in the car and set off for my home sweet home.
It became quite clear quite soon that this was going to be a long and difficult trip. Springtime in Mongolia is a very nasty ordeal. It is constantly windy and terrible windstorms can kick up in a blink of the eye. Well, this is precisely what was happening. Coupled with large amounts of unmelted snow, the road to Dariganga disappeared completely beneath feet of snow drifts. After an hour of trying to drive through this, I suggested we go back to the aimag and try again tomorrow. They laughed and said, Zugaree, which in this instance can be translated as, "Silly American. We do this all the time, so don't worry. Here I have a CD with Fergalicious on it. Sing along for the next 7 hours."
7 hours, and a maybe 30 km later, my drivers decides it is too dangerous to drive through the snow like this at dark, so we turn around and go back to the aimag. Grrrrr.
The next day we try again. Conditions were exactly the same, but at least it was daylight. Every 10 feet, we'd get stuck in a snowbank and have to dig ourselves out.