Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Art of Moseying

If you decide to make your way to Altai, Mongolia and want to do some people watching on a weekday morning, you may find a small girl speed walking. You will watch as she slows down suddenly, only to work her way back up to a rapid walk, again and again. This girl... would be me. I guess if I think about it, I've been this way since can I remember; walking extremely quickly and leaving whoever decided to make the trek with me, in the dust. It can't be helped, it's just one of those natural things. My legs end up working so hard, my muscles ache a bit and the soles of my shoes wear down quick... but so is life as a speed-walker.

Since coming to Mongolia, I've learned that it's not so much about where you are going, but the steps it takes to get there. But old habits, I'm finding, are tough to break. I have to constantly remind myself to slow down and take in all the beauty I'm surrounded by; the colorful buildings, the snow capped mountains, the small children who pass me and whose faces light up in recognition that I'm an American, as they practically shout 'HELLO' and 'HI' at me as if I might disappear if they don't yell it like, right now. But even these things have a way of slipping out of my present moment of conscious thought and I find my little legs once again carrying me passed several Mongolians as I fly by. Not only this, but it's also a constant battle between looking at my surroundings, and keeping an active eye on the ground. Rocks lurk out to trip you, ice covers the ground, and manholes threaten to eat you... it can be a dangerous place for a mosey-er. I, of course, try and attempt both, and as a result, trip at least twice daily.... it's becoming a problem.

And not only that, but where do I have to go that I need to get to so quickly... I mean reaaaaally? Time is viewed extremely differently here, and it's a lot more flexible than the rigid schedules we're all accustomed to in the states. Nothing bad will happen if I arrive a little late - Mongolia's biggest lesson to us all. When you're stripped of the constant demands on your time, the urgency begins to fade a little and you're left to ponder the simple decision; to haul-ass or not to haul-ass...? And if I didn't have all of this extra time on my hands, I might not get to ponder all these random, yet important things while moseying, like why are there still birds in Mongolia? Shouldn't they have flown somewhere more south by now? And what element makes snow good for packing, and why does Mongolia hate me and not want me to have snow fights...? 

But since we are onto the '5th Nine' of winter, this is all really just a moot point. As temperatures teeter around -40 degrees F, you walk fast to escape the cold and get to the next building that promises some warmth. Maybe I'll master sauntering come spring...

No comments:

Post a Comment