Initial Reflections on our First 48 Hours

The heat is lower in our apartment.

Our apartment is not as hot as it was when we lived here before. This is a welcomed relief! We are able to comfortably sleep with a blanket on the bed and did not change into shorts as soon as we got home.

We have so much stuff.

We are horrified at how much stuff we have. Some of the horror comes from forgetting what was already here after living abroad for two years. Some of the horror is just knowing that compared to most of our friends here we have SO MUCH STUFF. And most Mongolian homes we’ve been in are more minimalistic in decor and possessions.

But, also, we love our stuff. So, while it will be nice to sort through what we have and give away the excess, it’s kind of delightful to enjoy stuff we love.

We began unpacking immediately after getting home. Cory wanted to feel settled, I wanted to hide our consumerism.

Everything is relative, right? In America, we did NOT have a lot of stuff comparitvely (how many of my American friends can fit their entire wardrobe sans shoes and coats into one piece of luggage?) but here…so much stuff.

This is home.

It just feels like home and we can breath better (metaphorically, not literally…the pollution is awful). We love our couch and our cat our and the wallpaper in our kitchen. I was less anxious at our local grocery place here than I was at Walmart when we first returned to the US. The streets are familiar, the sounds feel right. There will still be a ton of adjustment and culture shock, I’m sure, but This. Is. Home.

We are boiling water.

Our water filter on our sink is out of date so Cory ordered a new one. Until we get that we’re boiling or buying water. Water is heavy to carry…so we’re boiling it.

It’s cold and then it’s hot.

We left the house when it was -29c/-33f yesterday. So we were bundled in coats, boots, legwarmers, etc. We were comfortable outside. Then we went inside. And we still had all of that on but it was normal inside temperature so we were HOT. When we went to the big grocery store, I tried to play it cool like the Mongolians and leave all my stuff on but I was sweating so much I finally took off my giant coat and put it in the cart. Someday maybe I’ll adapt to the giant swings in temperatures, but for now I will take off my coat in eMart.

“It’s doesn’t make noise and the start button is broken, so I will help you”

Said Cory to L as she tried to figure out how to use the microwave. We need to get a new one.

Our cat is happy that we’re back.

She wasn’t at first. She was freaked out. But we’re back to playing fetch and her sleeping between my feet.

Masks indoors and out.

Masks indoors because of Covid. Masks outdoors because of pollution. So now we carry two masks and switch them depending on whether we’re inside or out. The outside masks push moist air up to our eyelashes which form delightful frost. I just discovered it’s disastrous for the mascara I brought.

Fruit is expensive.

I spent about $4 USD on about 3/4 cups of blueberries yesterday. That’s about 3x the current price at Walmart in the US. It seemed like a good deal at the time.

We are thrilled with simple things at the grocery store.

I found multiple kinds of canned beans and corn and two different shops. German cheddar cheese is currently well stocked at eMart. We are going to pretend the thin naan in the refrigerator section are tortillas. Finding these things this easily accessible are so freaking exciting.

The air is so dry and I’m so thirsty.

We have a washing machine but no drier. Our clothes are dry within hours of us hanging them. It’s so great for clothes. So bad for skin but this, I know, I will adjust to.

Elastic in clothes has a shelf life.

I knew this. But was reminded of it as we went through the clothes that had remained here and discovered waistlines and other stretchy parts crackled and stayed expanded when stretched.

I have more socks than any sane person needs.

When I stress shop I buy pens, markers, or socks. They’re usually relatively cheap and practical and easy to carry so they’re easier to justify. Plus, it’s fun supporting local brands with all their creative styles. Even if I tried to justify it by breaking them into categories–wool for cold days, thicker wool for really cold days, summer socks, work out socks, etc.–there are still too many.

I saw some at the store yesterday that were cute and I wanted to buy them. I restrained myself.

Jet lag is unpleasant.

We’ve never really struggled with jet lag for more than a day before. But we keep waking up around 4 a.m. despite going to bed at a reasonable time. 4 a.m. here is 3 p.m. in Michigan, so it’s not like our circadian rhythms haven’t adjusted, it’s more like they are incredibly confused.

We welcome all/any tips because being tired is getting old.

We are just so glad to be back.

It feels good and right to be here. We are so glad to be back, with all the challenges ahead of us and the things on our to do list, it’s good to be home.

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