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"...a vital piece of luggage..."

3 months. 90 days. just yesterday. forever.

It has been 3 months since I left mongolia. Some days it feels like I was there just yesterday while others it feels like these have been the longest 3 months of my life.

I neglect writing about this painful time because I still can't seem to find the right words that could describe the emotions and thoughts that I have.

No words suffice.

No amount of tears calm.

No hugs or "it's gonna get better"s really change much.

I ache. I long to be in that place again.

Yesterday, Erin and I were talking about what we say and think when people ask 1. "If we miss Mongolia?" and 2. "What do we miss the most?"

If you know us at all, you know that the first question will hardly make us pause, it will cause us to chuckle and say, "Yes, I miss Mongolia desperately." And that is the truth. Which always leads to the second question. Which is harder to answer.

I usually give the answer "The people are what I miss the most." Which is truth. But there's more--and that's the story that I can't seem to find the words to tell.

I most certainly miss the people I call friends and the ones that adopted me into their families. I miss my church. I miss my dog, I miss our cats, Dobby and Luna. I miss our apartment and all the sketchy boys outside of it.

I miss the shop downstairs. I miss the market down the street and around the corner [which is a farmer's market but does not need to be called that because every market in Mongolia is a farmer's market].

I miss the food. Some might call it bland but at it's very core, it tastes like Mongolia.

I miss the public transportation that doesn't run on a schedule, that sometimes takes you to the wrong places, that always costs about 30 cents.

I miss the stories, the singing, the radio music.

The list goes on and on.

The thing about Mongolia that I've said for a long time now is that it gets under your skin. There were never any more true words than that spoken to Erin and I shortly after our arrival there. "Mongolia will get under your skin, but you won't be able to explain it." Gosh, how true those words are.

I'm reading a book now about a woman who traveled around a bit in Asia, spent a few days in Mongolia and then returned to live in the countryside for a year. She writes,

"I returned to Ulaanbaatar in the spring, three years later. After my first, brief visit to Mongolia, I had spent the best part of a year traveling across Asia before returning to London and picking up my old life almost where I'd left it. But even though I had spent less time in Mongolia than any of the other half dozen countries I'd visited, I had carried my impressions of it with me the whole time, like a vital piece of luggage. They came home with me too, and remained at the fore of my mind, vivid and almost disturbing. All I knew was that the few days I'd spent around Ulaanbaatar had left more of a mark than anywhere else I had ever been. This half-empty land of nomads was going to preoccupy me until I went back." pg. 7, Hearing Birds Fly

It's a vital piece of luggage. At the fore of my mind. It is preoccupying me.

The story of all that Mongolia is under my skin is still unfolding. My prayer is that you might bear with me as I learn to tell the story.


  1. I have never traveled outside of California. One day GOD will send me to serve or visit a distant land (hopefully Africa) and He will bless me with the realization of life outside of my own...

    thanks for sharing. Stimulating read :).



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