When I got back to UB I stayed with a friend's older brother and wife. They have a son in college, studying music, in Korea. When I got there they were watching a Russian soap opera that is on every night. The dad, Naran-suh, perhaps trying to come across as tough said, "I usually don't prefer to watch these kind of shows, but with only one tv I watch them sometimes with my wife." The next night his wife was work and when I came home, what was he doing? Working in front of the tv. What was he watching? His wife's favorite Russian soap opera. haha. I think he tried to compensate a little for me seeing him watching the soap opera because the first night he talked about Chinggis Khan for about 2 hours. He ended up showing me a Japanese film about Mongolia's hero.
In the middle of his Chinggis narative he told me that Chinggis, whose birth name was Temujin, was called Chinggis, because like the word 'tingis' in Mongolian, which means 'ocean,' he thought of himself to be comparatively great and expansive. Another word for ocean in Mongolian is 'dalai,' as in 'Dalai Lama.' The Buddhist priest that is as great and expansive as the sea. I could go all day on random stuff like this. Here's another one. The name of the country Hungary, or 'Ohn-gar' in Mongolian, is a contraction of the words 'Barone' and 'gar,' meaning 'right' and 'hand.' This is because that is where Chinggis' 'right hand' army, or right side army was stationed. (At least that's what Naran-suh told me) Even in Hungarian, where the name for the country is 'Myagar,' you still have the word 'gar' that remains. 'Mya' in Mongolian is slang for crappy so I wonder if the locals decided to give a new adjective to describe Chinggis' army.
Since is was getting late, we skipped through a lot of the Japanese Chinggis Khan movie. At about midnight, an hour into this movie Naran-suh says, "Yeah, this movie isn't actually that good...I'll get you a better one from the store tomorrow." I am now the proud owner of "Chinggis Khan: The 30-part mini series."
So the next day, (before getting home late at night and watching parts 1 and 2 of my new Chinggis Khan miniseries, of course, with Naran-suh) I went to the mission home to drop off some pictures in the branch mailboxes to send to people, that I had taken throughout the previous week. I ran into the mission driver, Botbold, who has been helping mission presidents for about a decade now. As we walked out of the building together I saw one of the American office-elders I had met earlier. He was wearing a custom-made brown suit. "Ahh darn. I forgot that I had wanted to get a suit made." Botbold, always a positive thinker, and wanting to help people out says.
"So why don't you?"
"Because, I'm leaving early in the morning the day after tomorrow."
"So what? You still have time."
"I basically only have a day."
"You have pleeeeeenty of time."
So he had me call his wife who then took me around to buy fabric. Barely thinking twice about whether or not we would be able to find someone who could sew an entire suit in a day (after all if Botbold said it can be done, if can be done. Right?) we bought the fabric for about $60. At this point it was about 5pm. We then went to a couple of seamstresses. One couldn't finish it because she had to go to the doctor the next day. And another seamstress shop wouldn't touch it because they said that there was no way they would finish it in time.
I was starting to second guess Batbold's enthusiasm and confidence that it could be done. A little disappointed that I was already $60 into this decision, his wife called him and he told us we had one more option, a lady who used to make suits for the missionaries in years past. He called her, and she said she was coming from the market but would do it if we could be there when she came home from the market. Wow. So we did a stake-out in front of her house for about 45 minutes waiting for her to come. She took measurements and we agreed on a price: $32.
The best part was the next day I talked to her and she said, "You know you got enough material for a vest too. Do you want one?" "SURE" "Ok then, we'll take some measurements and make you a vest." Sweet. I called her around 9pm that day to check on the status. "Just putting the finishing touches on the vest, but the pants and coat are done. Come on over and pick it up." So now I am not only the proud owner of a 30 part Chinggis Khan series, but a custom 3-piece suite, sewn in a day.
I'm pretty excited to go to Beijing to take a shower. The water line was broken during some construction on a neighboring building, so there hasn't been any running water at the family's house during my stay. High speed internet but no running water is actually a very common living situation here. You crack me up Mongolia.