[i] Ulaanbaatar or Ulan Bator or simply UB
[ii] It's reassuring to know that even after I moved from Missouri, I'm still an occupant of what is essentially "flyover country." How 2004, right?
 And of course I don't even need to tell you there's Coke here. That company has wider distribution than a fart in a Smart car.
 It's difficult to describe Mongolian women's sense of style. It's this strange marriage of somewhat conservative and highly professional (black, pant suits, knee-length skirts) Meryl Streep in Kramer vs. Kramer (wool, browns and grays, those boots), Soviet-era (bundled up, fur-lined, big scarves) but then also young and sexy (fish net stockings, dropping neck lines, patterns, tight fits). Imagine your mom's cool friend or your funky aunt or that one sort-of-maybe hip teacher you had in high school.
 Not the makeup, but they're dapper in a suit the way all Asian men are. You know what I'm talking about.
 By the way, one of my fourth graders stood up in the middle of class this year when her phone rang and hurried out with a finger plugged in her ear. Appalled, I was. I will say, however, that it's a strange comfort that poor cell phone etiquette apparently transcends every single demographic I can think of. Says something about how universal human nature is, maybe; like, if a nine-year-old in a little blue school uniform who lives in a ger in Mongolia acts no different than every single asshole you've ever met whose phone has rang during a meeting, baptism, graduation, ceremony, funeral, ball game, recital or whatever, then, in the end, I think we're going to be all right. Or not all right. But at least we're all on the same page.
 If you think Sundays don't have "that" feeling in a place that doesn't have the sound of 60 Minutes and the smell of a roast to remind you that the weekend is over and it's time to do your fucking homework, you are wrong.
 And I suppose I don't have to go into how flopping around being skinny and naked and an eight-month-winter shade of white, being chased by two grown men made the situation just that much more emasculating.
 Indeed, upon subsequent re-tellings, this is how it went:
Me: . . . Then they threw my dirty laundry out after me.
Me: Yeah. Crazy.
Them: [Looking at me expectantly.]
Me: . . .
Them: [Still looking.]
Me: And what?
Them: Well, then what happened?
Me: That's it.
Them: That's it?
Me: I mean, like, it was terrifying, you should have—.
 There's a rumor here about another volunteer who lived in a ger a few years ago. A man lowered himself through the top of her ger in the middle of the night and she stabbed him in the leg. Who knows what happened after that, I assume that took care of it, but my GOD. Sounds sort of white trash, but it's not unheard of – in fact, I gather it's sort of common – for volunteers living in gers to have some sort of weapon near their bed. When the only thing separating you from night terrors are a light frame of cross-hatched wood, a few layers of felt, and thin dress of canvas (gers are meant to be moved; they're the RVs of Asia) you take precautions. I had a bat. With a taped handle like a hockey stick. Of course I completely forgot about it. Not that I would have used it anyway. But still.
 Trembling Mongolian from a novice speaker is, as a matter of fact, completely unintelligible.
By the way, is this strange? Thinking about this sort of thing? About defending yourself? Ruminating about not being tough? And on a poetry blog, no less? Am I alone among all you in lamenting what lack of guts I have? Or is it true that everyone every once in a while thinks about What Would I Do If . . . and hopes that they possess inside them enough courage to put their foot down and say, "No, sir, not today"? Is it also true that even people who know The Wasteland's original title share the same base, primal desire of all living creatures to avoid suffering and protect their well-being? (Even if you think being semi-depressed will help you write that award-winning collection.) I think so. I do. May not be fashionable, appropriate over civil dinner conversation, but we all think about it and it comes from the same part of you that secretly thinks about furtive sex with strangers.
 In case you haven't been paying attention to Central Asian affairs (you haven't? Really?): five people died, a major party headquarters and art museum were burned out, hundreds were arrested, and everyone had to watch Russian TV for four days because the government shut down all the private television stations.
 How telling is it that when I think of someone tough, my go-to guy is a fucking literary figure? Barf.