May 9, 2016

July 8, 2009

of course, i have so much more to say

i wish i could tell you unequivocally that i am in singapore, or manilla, or any place at all. but how can i be, when i have been to so many places in so many weeks. i would have to list this country and that, and so: i am unequivocally in thailand-malaysia-icheon-mongolia-seoul with singapore somewhere in that list. possibly only at the beginning. perhaps i should start again.

i travelled on trains and on planes, left a trail of puke and bodily fluids around the world, chattered in broken thai, mangled mandarin, all manner of englishes (yes the plural is correct) and smatterings of mongolian. i ate pad thai had makatat drank sutaa cheh. i sang in lahu in hokkien echoed korean songs i danced in the rain. i picked firewood, carried branches and stones, sat on a couch. i wore wildflowers in my hair, on my wrist, stuck it dried onto a fridge. brought my mango ladybug pasted on my waist, pegged a red one onto my plaited hair, a boy lost the only one i ever wore on my ear, broken. a pretty (live) ladybug communed with me while i sat atop a water tank, dangling my legs below rusty green metal ladders. did you know i loved that water tank.

i dreamed on it, saw horses crossing the river outside of concrete walls in cool mornings, stared at the mountains too far away, the four tiny gers planted on its valley; did you know gers move four times annually. so. i wondered as the clouds moved along the mountains’ faces; watched a white bolchimor flit across the fences. i didn’t know you were watching the same bird too. i sang up there, strummed a guitar once while another harmonised and we performed for the sky. i danced there, too. i danced while laughing and failing to follow, i danced while being videotaped.

i rode horses, stepped on the greener grasses, haloobalooed in the wind. i bandaged sprained ankles and left blood splattered on carpet. i slept in seven layers and dabbed medicated oil on my nose before i visited the shed of happiness. we shared the cloth of comfort, we traded pet names, we made up our own english. someone took my hand and drew the pleiades with our fingers. only now i don’t know if they were the seven sisters, or the little dipper, or an unknown constellation that your country owns.

we chased the moon, while others fell asleep under the stars, and snored. we brought blankets out to them, and they stumbled over us later that night. later on we saw the sun rise. our only sunrise.

we learnt words like oversleep arise befall jocular and behold. we choreographed bollywood moves, mambo dances. we gave massages and got massaged in return. we proposed and got proposed to. we got used to salty milk tea. we left our loved ones behind.

i ran barefoot in the rain, i danced while dripping wet. i went without a shower for two weeks and washed only my hair. i imitated others and got imitated in fair trade. my purple blanket got reappropriated and my glasses became common property. i learnt the lyrics of la isla bonita, and was given a mongolian name. we learnt heal the world together and ripped off black or white’s dance moves while michael jackson died. we didn’t know.

i held countless hands when i stepped on soles and learnt how to say sorry in mongolian. the death count of my belongings are an old disc, and my favourite white shoes. mongolia is relentless. but oh, so gentle.

i fell asleep while you held me, and stroked your hair when you fell asleep in your turn. you told me i have a beautiful smile, yet your eyes were filled with pain when i repeated my goodbye. you laughed when i hicupped, and yelled after i threw water at you. you made me sing along to your favourite song, time and again, taught me korean phrases, it was you i danced with on top of the water tank. you cuddled beside me in the caravan and so i was stuck when jon called me to come out for devotions. he laughed at my predicament, but i didn’t want to shift and wake you up. i was so fond of you.

i was cared for, and i was not too literal to understand. we shared water, always. i would come by you while we waited for our groups in other languages and i would bring you tea. you hurt me, once, but you were sorry you did. we talked about the sky, the moon, the mountains. you still think we saw a ufo that night. we saw shooting stars. you made it to your mountain, and after that we walked across the fields. you intruded on my private space, time and again, once when i was in pain, and later on whenever i was hiding underneath the laundry. you covered me with your blanket when i fell asleep, or so daryl claims. we listened to classical music together, and i was happy.

today i cried into your shoulder, and we searched in vain for our sky. we walked and took impulsive trips and i scratched a kitten’s head.

of course, i have so much more to say.


It was, it had been the big dipper. The things I realise seven years on, you married now and so am I. And the other an ambiguous memory. Are you still in Mongolia, riding horses like I’d never seen anyone before or since? It would comfort me if you were; one of us fully alive.

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