Thursday, April 16, 2009
Interesting question, Doug
Doug of Noank, Connecticut writes:
"Hey, Kim, nice descriptions. When are you moving?"
Well, Doug, that is a very interesting question and I have been considering it now for several days. My only trouble is that I can not figure out how to convince my loving wife and beautiful children to come here.
But now that I am done teaching Mongolian schoolchildren and have had two giant Chinggis Khan beers to celebrate, my thoughts on the matter have become much clearer.
Catherine, my love, you were made for Mongolia. You are an internet queen and can do your work from any place on the globe. All you need is a dish and a solar panel. What better way to provide extra income in your new nomadic lifestyle? We will sell the house, buy a nice Ger and a few thousand Cashmere goats. No, you can't do this at home. Greenwich is no good for goats of this type. For one thing, Cashmere goats grow impossibly stinky in our climate. The air is too wet, the winters, too mild. Nobody wants stinky sweaters and scarves, now, do they? No, Cashmere goats are happiest here and so will you be, my dear.
And I have already forwarded your web page to Nara!
Nara makes everything happen. And she comes from a little town up near the Russian border called Yeroo. Well, her father was from there. He was a Buryat and he came to Ulan Baator to work on the railway so when Stalin wiped out the Buryats, he survived because, to Russians, all Mongolians look and sound alike. So Nara has taken an interest in her ancestral home. She has already managed to get the Japanese government to send her a pickling plant. She also scored a grant for building greenhouses! You, Catherine, with all your knowledge of marketing for microfarming, are an invaluable asset to the people of Yeroo!
Chloe. This is easy. How would you like to have a horse? Yes. A REAL horse. I can see you now, riding over the steppe tending to the aforementioned goats. A dream come true, right? You might not be so fond of sharing a circular room that functions as a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom (your brother's too) all at once. But anything getting you down will surely be cured with a little gallop over the hills and valleys.
Marcus. Also easy. You are the next incarnation of Chinggis Khan himself. I have seen it in your eye and in your demeanor. You, despite coming from a family of wishy-washy peacenick, moral relativists, know what it is all about. When we ask you what you are doing and you say, "Whacking things!" it is clear that you are a great warrior. Come and practice with your bow and arrow. Wrestle at the Nadaam. You will one day assume your rightful place on the throne where the Mighty Khan once sat. It is your destiny.
Indy and Natalie. Sorry Murray and Jane. It's camp Granma and Grandpa for you, two. There are plenty of dogs in Mongolia and, Natalie, you demonstrate the Buddhist belief that life is suffering. You can't have more than a few years left. Hopefully you will come back as an animal you like.
The truth is, Doug, I am very sad to leave this place. I begin to cry, in fact. And I am doing so now, I am afraid.
There was one school, Doug. It was in the dusty hills just outside Ulan Baatar in the midst of the thousands of Gers seperated by ramshackle fences of scrap wood and corrugated tin. Depressing. We met in the library and there were no books. Black and white photos of famous Mongolian authors hung in identical eight-by-ten frames all along the walls.
But there were no books.
No books in the library.
Chloe, how would you like your very own horse?