Mongolia is haunting me today.
It’s unlike my usual longing to see the youth that I worked with there, a group comprised mostly of international missionaries’ kids. Today it is actually Mongolia.
I saw pictures of summer there. The season changing has something to do with this, my yearning to be there and see, smell, observe and experience this life in a different culture.Proof that a sseason happened, and the lives I left there had a season of green grass and their own adventures. And now, it too is over.
I love autumn here; I love being here. I am happy where I am, but today something deep inside me is wistful.
I want to be there.
I want to see the hills green before they turn back to brown. I want to see the tanned wrinkled faces of the elderly walking slowly down the street, and the upturned eyes of children that make them look like they are always laughing.
I want to see my language teacher. She went to the States this summer. Over there, for the sake of ease we would just call it America. Everything was America when we were over there, Canada included. I want to catch up. I want to hear her stories and laugh and make her facepalm at my mistakes. She is hilarious, but also one of the most genuine people I have ever met. And she is missed.
A friend of mine is travelling this fall. In just over ten days he will be heading to UB. I want to tell him to watch for things – to say I’ve been where you are going! Watch for the Beatles statue – I lived there! That sidewalk by the department store? I walked on it! How many times, I wonder. Into the hundreds? I think so. Sansar, Tingis, Suhkbaatar… daily street references that sound like garble to those unfamiliar with Ulaan Baatar, but words that hold so much more meaning for those who are. Memories, visuals, mental maps and associations all flood over me.
Ulaan Baatar. What a city! A mess of a jungle gym, with cyrillic plastered as far as the eye can see. People pee wherever (in the most matter-of-fact way) and the hummers dodge by. I miss the busses. I miss the busy. Dangit, I even miss the manholes!
I think of names. I shouldn’t list them here but I want too. Each one was a feat to remember and to pronounce, but they each represent so much more. Individually, collectively, they make up Mongolia; they make up community, they make up my friends.
People are the ultimate, the importance, the essence….argh! My words are failing me, frustrating me.
People are what matter. They are still there. They are still living, and taking each day as it comes, just like me. But I don’t want it to be this way! I want to know of their adventures. I want to meet them for coffee, or walk through the tangle of people on the street, arm in arm in the Mongolian way.
I feel left out. I don’t want their lives to go on without me.
I am so selfish.
I miss Mongolia.