Tuesday, January 10, 2017

'I Smell Like Pollution' - Week 54

Hi family and friends,
So this was a real statement that happens all the time, but the other night was hilarious. So my companion and I have been very fortunate to have been able to visit with our gerchs' (witness, church member) house quite often, so we felt  a need to give back. While I am not the best cook in the entire world, I have learned how to make a really delicious banana muffin/cake that is so completely delicious and different from what many people can make here. Plus, I make my cake a little sweeter than the normal food here, so the members LOVE it (plus many gers do not have ovens, so they do not have the opportunity to make it themselves). Well, so here we were on a Saturday night and after making about 3 dozen muffin cupcakes, we were heading off to deliver them to a couple different houses.

So we layered up. Then put on another layer because we weren't planning on really entering anyone's house, simply dropping it off and saying thank you for all of their help. So it was a plan to spend 2-3 hours outside at night in the cold (it is sometimes hard to believe that not every mission in the world is experiencing the cold right now), giving out the goodies. At home, something like this would take about an hour to do at most and if they weren't home, you simply leave it on the doorstep, then go back into your personal car and drive away. Here, though, it is a little more complicated. You have to really layer up, then wait for a bus to take you to one (maybe two if they live close together), then go tracking down the winding roads until you get there, then you have to bang on the outside fence. So many houses here have these semi-rabid dogs, so you never just shuud enter a house, you pick up a rock off the ground and bang on the metal gate as loud as you can. You also try calling, but if the phone isn't working, well, then good luck.
Also, there is a lot of smog at night, but with a mask on, you can't really smell it. You just look like a crazy khun. Lol, well, this night, with all of the layers on and walking through the streets with my mask, I felt like a spaceman: you kind of just wobble everywhere, your vision is restricted because of the coat hood, and you can almost hear yourself breathing with the mask, it really is funny. Then with all of the smog and the dim lighting, it is one of a kind, and everything just always feel like you are walking in fog.
After the allotted time, it was about 8:30 and we finally headed home. It is natural to smell the smog when you first walk inside, but we have some heavy-duty air purifiers, so the smell usually goes away pretty quick. That night, though, I was being haunted by the smell. It was everywhere that I went in the house and it was driving me insane. Then my comp and I knelt down to pray for planning the next day, when the smell became even worse. Almost unbearable. Oh my heck, it was my skirt. I reeked of pollution. So after taking a quick break to change out of the contaminated clothing, planning continued, but so did the smell. Next, it turned out was in my hair. I SMELLED TERRIBLE. I think it was the prolonged exposure from being outside for so long, but I have never stunk so badly in my life and I heard a rumor that the smell never really leaves, so good luck when I come home. My comp and I just laughed about it because the smell clung to me, but she wasn't affected as badly.
Any ways, life is moving forward here. I am on a two-week break with my school, so fun things are happening. I was able to do a split with Jargulant, so Sister Hansen and I were able to teach together yesterday while our companions were at English and it was so much fun. Who would have believed it. We are surviving and thriving in Mongolia.
I also officially hit my 1 year mark on Friday and we had a lunch with my MTC sisters, then I celebrated with a baptism that night. I love this kid so much and it was the best way to celebrate being a missionary. Despite all of the cold, rabid dogs, pollution, and crazy buses, I love every minute of being here.
Have a great week and have some cake to celebrate,
Love you all,
Sister Jessica Olsen
So this is a layout of what I will typically wear--normally it is either the third pair of tights (camel hair) or the leg warmers (yak hair), but not both together. Then i celebrated the last movie that I watched in America, and my comp and I out, hahahahahaha, I forgot my badge at home. That is how little that I wear it, it only comes out as a picture prop usually.

So these are from my year mark

I spent the day in a beautiful part of Mongolia named Jargulant with Sis. Hansen and basically went hiking all day long. It was so much fun.

Oh my heck, I love this guy. He is how I ended my one-year anniversary. Both of these boys are names Bilguun and are so sweet.

Just take a moment to appreciate just how beautiful it is here. :)
These are the smog-free days.
Hahahahahahhaha, so that day that I was with Sis. Hansen, I slipped like 12 times (honestly) and our gerch basically held my hand or pushed me slightly up hill to keep me from falling more. On the other email, Sis. Hansen fell only once, but it was so funny, her's was a trail of shame because she fell and then slid down hill. It was sch a funny day.

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