What am I doing? This sentence has been revolving around my head for quite some time. It is not an anxious thought, or an existential crisis question. The thought has more of a surprised feel to it. I am in a happy state of shock at the revelation that my brain can be so comfortable as to decide to go to Mongolia for 2 months with only 30 minutes of ruminations about the practicalities of leaving on such short notice (only 4 weeks until departure). I like my newfound comfort with all things to do with spontaneous travel. So why not do a two month journalism placement in Ulaanbaatar? It is only two months. Back home I would be working in a cafe, going about my daily business, doing nothing out of the ordinary. Here, two months will seem like two years, because my surroundings will stimulate me, I will be doing such different things, in a country I really don't know anything about. The value of time will increase exponentially, and it definitely won't slip by unnoticed.
Yes, I am a little scared, but that comes with arriving by oneself in any country you are not familiar with. I've been here 15 hours now- most of it sleeping off my jet lag- but I can say that I already feel comfortable with my host family. They are 2 sisters, one with a 16 year old girl. One is my age, which is always nice. She has already told me she enjoys clubbing and drinking, and judging by the sheer amount of karaoke bars out there, I'm sure we'll do a lot of the two.
Ulaanbaatar- from what I gathered in the bus from the airport to my host family- is relatively flat, surrounded by four mountains, and the air is crisp. I looked up the weather before I left to come here one night and the forecast stated 'smoke'. I said to my friend, 'What do they mean by smoke?' I was pretty sure there hadn't been fires here recently, but then again I'm not one to read the news, put on the radio, or watch television (bit of a weird quirk in someone so hell bent on being a journalist). So, smoke, eh? Could be pollution. But the crisp, fresh mountain air has me fooled. So, until I see this smoke I'll assume I'm breathing in some super healthy mountainous air.
Jet lag has set in again. I am not surprised considering I decided to stay up all night before leaving England with my housemates. Effectively I have been travelling for almost 24 hours, and not been in a bed for much, much longer. No wonder I found myself being awaken by my neighbours everytime it was mealtime on the planes. They were nice to be concerned about me eating properly.
One last thing. Flying over Russia was really amazing. I couldn't stop looking out the window at the frozen lakes below. Not only were they completely covered with ice, but there were so many! This is a stark contrast to where I'm from in Australia. There are definitely no frozen lakes, and there are, tops, two or three lakes- not hundreds and hundreds- and you probably couldn't see them from the air.