The sky is as bright as the international politics right now – normally that would mean it is pretty shabby, but today it isn’t. Sun shines and clouds hide and plants rejoice, just as the Internet and all the media outlets are buzzing with abruptly odd but warmly welcomed happenings in state meetings everywhere.
A teardrop-shaped keychain, with Hofstra University engraved on and the silly little stylized “H”. That’s the only tangible thing Chris Chowske has right now that has to do with his school. He doesn’t really care anymore for theater, or talks or displays. After graduation, it was mighty tough for anyone to find a job in the then-struggling economy, and he loathes reliance on his parents. Branching out was the best option at the time, and looking back, it might actually still is. He hopped in a flight to China to work as an ESL teacher, him with his Honors degree, and taught ESL to a group of Chinese archeologist. The Chinese were (and still) working in tandem with the Japanese on WW2 sites in Eastern Mongolia and North East China, and they have come to treat Chris as a good friend of the team, thanks to his enthusiastic English teaching and his childhood fascination with WW2. One thing led to another, and now Chris is a full time addition, doing various sorts of things from site photography to topographic measurements.
“Found your keys yet, Chousuke-san?”, calls a barely audible voice with a slight Japanese inflection from beyond the hilltop. “I have something interesting you might like to see.”
By the images of what people think of Mongolia, it wouldn’t be a cold place, not one bit freezing. It is the great grasslands of the Khans, the steppe where horse throw their strides as fast as a swallow’s dive, where the sky is as blue as the Aegean sea on the brightest day. Known as the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky”, Mongolia has over 250 sunny days a year. Great, great place.
Not so much with a place called Tosontsengel, a sum in western Mongolia. A sum is a district, and Tosontsengel is the largest and the central one in the Zavkhan aimag (province), second only to the capital. What it is second to none is the cold is tackles every year. A yearly phenomenon called the Siberian Anticyclone drags freezing hell from Russia down to Mongolia via air mail late winter, making Tosontsengel subarctic climate. It is said one can lose ears and nose and fingers to the Goddess of Ice should she take a liking to what you didn’t hide from her. And that’s if you’re lucky. Veterans of the area, even native Mongolian, can be caught dead in a cold fusion of hypothermia and straight up freezing. You’d be encased in ice, but not before the cold shocks all of your organs down first. Never a good way to go.
But tales are just tales, and one would not truly understand a plight unless one is subjected to it. An Honours College graduate like the young trainee here understands that perfectly. He could have been doing EMT rides like his fellow friends back in Long Island, but the ad from the Red Cross cropped up and he just couldn’t give up a shot at it.
An engineering students that writes things every once in a while.