Summer Conferencing and a Lonely UB

I’m not sure where the time has gone since I last wrote, but it seems to have been a while (aside from the desk drawer of millions, of course).

Anyways, the beginning of this week marked two events in our lives in Mongolia: Chris took off Monday morning for his turn in the States (he won’t return until June 30th!), and I ventured out into the countryside for our VSO Summer Conference.

The conference couldn’t have come at a better time, not only because Chris had just left, but also because we have been quite busy with our CHV trainings recently, so an escape to the countryside was much needed. The meetings consisted of all kinds of VSO talk, some helpful, some not, but the real beauty of our time away was the countryside itself.

Living in UB, it’s easy to forget that there is a magnificent, untouched land out there…vast, empty, and – at long last – green. A reminder from time to time is necessary and invariably reminds me that Mongolia is beautiful, despite the concrete dust bowl that is Ulaanbaatar.

We stayed in beautiful wooden gers…

Lulled about in the grass…

And I finally got to go running!

The first night after our meetings ended, I went out for a jog in which I got chased by the same dog on my way out and back, got waved at by the locals, and helped a herder herd his animals (my help was unsolicited though I don’t think it was unappreciated…or at least I hope it wasn’t!). It was an hour of bliss despite the burning lungs and the chasing dog. It was peaceful, pristine, and joyous. It was what running is to me at home: an outlet of relaxation. And I loved it.

Wednesday evening we returned to the city, stinky and tired but content too. Thursday and Friday were busy with trainings (I’ll write about those later) and settling into a quiet apartment for one. It’s weird being here alone…quite lonely of course…but it’s okay. I’m rather busy for the whole month of June with the trainings I keep mentioning as well as reporting and budgeting for the up-coming quarter. Time will go quickly I am sure, as it always does, and before I know it Chris will be back, and I will return to my perch on the orange couch.

That is one odd detail since Chris left: for some reason I have not sat on the orange couch. Perhaps it is because our cable is not working right now, or perhaps it is because it’s a big couch for one person…but either way I haven’t sat there. Weird…

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