Friday, April 24, 2015


The FVS Prairie as backdrop
I've been recognizing how much of daily life is about habit. My alarm goes off, I check my email from bed, check in on Facebook, and listen to the birds chirping outside from the warm underneath the covers. After a few minutes, I get up, turn the coffee on (usually prepped the night before), and shower. I enjoy coffee while I blog or journal (or finish the reading for class--if not done the night before), then I make breakfast (almost always including 2 eggs), and then begin to get ready for the work day (what to wear, do my hair, collect stuff in my bag for the day, put on makeup). 

Yes, I exist within a structure of habits from my morning routine to how I park my car in the carport (I back in 90% of the time) to how I get ready for bed at night. The fact that I live solo for the time being means I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. 

But ALL of that is about to change. Dramatically. 

So I was reading a little about habits online. This guy who keeps a blog for Psychology today argues that we have habits so that our brains are freed up to do other things. That's certainly true--my brain is all over the place while I'm walking through my routines. 

That about 67 days, I'll be living with one or two other people (depending on Enji's schedule)--one or two male creatures. We will have one bathroom. This is not the end of the world and not bad--at least I'm not sharing with two other women!!--but it will change the routine of my morning, and the routines of my life. 

In the kitchen, 95% of everything will be different, foreign. The 5% being the familiar wolf coffee mugs (a gift from Fawn when I first moved out on my own) I've shipped and being able to eat eggs. I'm moving to a tea culture. I can, of course still have my coffee and have even shipped myself a number of bags of Community Coffee (ground, dark roast--in case you are inclined to send a care package down the road). Then there will be the navigation of the perhaps similar, but most likely different packaging of breakfast meats. Zorig recently asked me if I could "make bacon"? I responded by saying that I knew how to COOK bacon, but was unsure of what "make" meant. I guess I'll have to fill you in after I arrive on that one. :)

Another guru (courtesy of NPR) agrees that habits are what create free space for our brain. Yes, humans do the same things in the same way, provided they are in the same environment. That said, come July it's safe to say my brain will be working hard to create new routines as a result of new surroundings, a new culture. If you know me--you know that I'm a planner, an anticipator, a Type A personality. Even my own family members chuckle at me--if you were coming to visit, I'd have a printed or written itinerary for you upon your arrival. No joke. 

My impending new reality--new day-to-day life and routines--are NOT something I can plan or prepare for. Or rather, beyond having an open mind and compassion for myself and those around me, there is nothing to DO at this time. I have to get there, then work to exercise my brain into an array of new habits and routines. I suspect that within a number of months, I'll be settled into my new web of routines and habits. But they will be different from what I've known in America these past 41 years of life. 

I will leave you with a random list of worries. Things that have popped into my brain and that I spend some of that freed up brain time pondering, while I make breakfast:
  • Guidebooks say to not drink tap water. But I won't be a tourist, so can I drink the tap water? Or not?
  • How will it go adapting to not have a clothes dryer? Will my clothes be crunchy?(Also won't have a dishwasher...but am not worried about that.)
  • With carpeting...I like to sit and lie on the floor. Our apartment in UB is all hardwood flooring (not necessarily uncommon)--so should I ship my exercise mat for floor seating?
  • The meat in Mongolia is tough as compared to US standards. This will sound like a judgement and I don't mean it that way. We, as Americans, are accustomed to soft, tender meat and generally shy away from fat. Mongolians eat a lot of beef and mutton--both of which I'm good with as I generally eat Paleo and a meat-heavy diet is FINE by me--but they eat older animals and the meat is chewy and tough (again...per our American standards). While Dad and I were on our trip last summer, every meal was followed by a few minutes of flossing. 
  • The beds in Mongolia were hard! Or at least the ones that Dad and I stayed on in the hotel and in the ger camps. Now...the good news is that I prefer a hard to a soft bed (I'm a 75 on a sleep # bed), but I did discover that there is such a thing as TOO hard--and that's coming from a girl that has opted to sleep on the carpeted floor during holiday or hotel visits. No joke!
  • What about finding a salon to get my haircut? And purchasing a hairdryer and curling iron that are for 220v?
  • I use Netflix and Amazon A LOT. I won't have these over there. Think about not being able to order anything and everything under the sun and having it shipped in t a couple of days? Yes--imagine that reality.  
  • I won't be driving myself to I can't be lazy in the morning and make it up on the drive. I will rely on probably a car service to get me to work and back home again--so I will have to be organized in a different way than I currently am. (And let's face it--not being independent in a transportation way will be a new situation as well.)
  • Certainly have to find and join a gym to be sure and get my exercise! I don't remember seeing a single soul running the streets of UB for exercise--and I'll be sticking out enough as it is--don't need to add that to the list. :)
Yes, I have many things I wonder about in regards to my new life in Asia, in UB. I am beginning to get the question, "Aren't you scared?" more and more frequently. From students, from friends, and most recently from the woman that does my taxes. My answer is always, "yes, of course I am scared." That's just how it goes when you do something like this. You learn to live with your fears. Learn that they won't kill you and can only stretch you. 

No comments:

Post a Comment