They warn us that will happen to all of us eventually. That within a few months, our fascination with the culture in which we’ve immersed ourselves will wane, and we’ll be suddenly disenchanted and homesick.
I’ve hit that point.
I know that my feelings are misdirected. That the reason all the minor frustrations I’ve been living with have suddenly turned into a knot of anger in my chest and explosion of unwanted tears has little to do with Mongolia itself. It’s because I’m here, about as far across the globe from Chicago as it’s possible to go, when right now the place I should be—need to be—is at home with my family. I can deal with missing birthdays and Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s hard not to be there when the rest of my family is together, but I can at least Skype in, and they will happen again. Not being able to attend my grandmother’s funeral and wake, though—that’s different. I’m stuck here, on the other side of the world, when all I want to do is go home to celebrate her life with everyone else, and wish her goodbye.
But it’s hard to keep that frustration from boiling over into the rest of my life here. So at the moment, I’m not just frustrated by the differences between Mongolia and America; I hate them.
I hate not being able to talk to any of my coworkers.
I that I can’t even go to the post office on my own, because I need someone to explain why they won’t sell me a ticket.
I hate not knowing what my roommate means when she says “all teachers go out now” – whether we’re going to a restaurant or a camp or some other place from which we won’t return for hours, or just out to the front of the school for some kind of assembly.
I hate missing the assembly congratulating this or that teacher for getting married and looking like some schmuck who isn’t happy for him.
Even more, I hate I’m probably better off missing it because I’d just feel out of place and wouldn’t understand anything.
I hate that the teachers don’t bother to tell me that we’re having an assembly and I therefore will not be having a lesson for the teachers.
I hate missing the chance to leave for the weekend earlier because no one bothered to tell me that plans had changed.
I hate wanting to vote conscientiously and not being able to because I can’t find anything other financial information about the non-presidential candidates on most sites, and the sites that offer more detailed information refusing to load.
I hate that my Mongolian teacher’s idea of a lesson is presenting me with a list of words and phrases to memorize, when what I need from her is speaking practice and activities that make the words stick.
Next week, I’m sure my anger will subside. I will appreciate the surreal blue of the sky and go hiking in the nearby mountains and roll my eyes resignedly when I arrive at work only to be told I didn’t need to come. Next week, I will reapply myself to my language lessons and talk to the delguur lady and ask Namuunaa when we can visit her family again.
But this week, I just want to be home.