The epicness of today is hard to describe in words.
After a tasty breakfast of God knows what on toast, we met our tour guide (whose name I still don't remember) and our driver (Ongo), and took off to the east. We were joined by a cool Finn named Tommi, who was returning home by land from Singapore to see a Bon Jovi concert. It only took us an hour and a half to make it to the ger camp, which was set amidst mountains, forests, and farms - Earth's beauty as far as the eye can see.
We had tea and tsuivan for lunch, a simple yet amazing dish of homemade noodles, beef, and veggies. Afterward, we threw our stuff in the ger and went for a quick hike. I love hiking, but my lack of experience and apparent out-of-shape-ness made it difficult. All of the fumbling was worth it for the view and silence - sheer tranquility. Looking out on the mountains and tree tops, I took a deep breath and listened. My heart beat was all I could hear.
On the way down, I grabbed a walking stick (thank God, otherwise I would have fallen a few more times than my Suburban-ass had already). Back at the camp, I got my Swiss Army knife, my walking stick, and Damian's Bible (which I've been wanting to read for years) and went into the forest. I found a comfy rock, put the Bible down and started whittling my stick. The irony of carpentry and the Bible didn't escape me. The complete simplicity of sitting in the forest cutting the bark off of a stick was moving, relaxing, and thought provoking. When the wood was bare, I began reading until I started to drift off. I went back to the ger and took a nap. The quiet made for great rest, but the gripping cold woke me. Shortly thereafter we had dinner - vegetable soup with beef and steamed bread (mantuu). Another delicious meal.
We all chatted in the ger next to a wood burning stove, drinking tea. The conversation was only interrupted by a trip outside to watch the sunset. Our awesome driver tackled Tommi, then me, and chased down Michael.
The quiet and serenity of today was perfect for contemplation and soul searching. I'm beginning to reflect on my flaws, and how to improve them. My first big realization of the trip was centered around my frustration with not being taken seriously. I realized that the reason other people don't take me very seriously is because I don't take myself seriously - a dislike for cockiness gone extreme. Perhaps when I respect myself, others will follow.
PS - Mac II, iii, 116-118