This is the last time.
'Cause you and I -
We were born to die."
The mournful strains of Lana del Rey floated across the valley from the other tourist camp as Five and I descended from our hike up to the source of the hot springs. We - along with Engrish - had made the long trek out to Tsenkher because a.) I'd bailed on the school ger camp the previous weekend (because 24 hours is too long for me to be with my coworkers) but still wanted fresh air, and b.) I've been working on my exit plan, and wanted to be sure I got to go again. A year goes by faster than you'd think.
I hadn't even gotten through my first year in Mongolia before I started to consider that maybe, perhaps, I would stay until my brats - those kids who were in my homeroom class my first year - graduated. At that time, I'd never stayed longer than two years in one place at a time...and two years really felt like stretching it. But I liked my school, and I loved my kids, and before I knew it, I'd been here for four. When you've been in one place that long, it seems like you could stay forever. Or that's how I feel, anyways. Going on five years, what's another? Hell, another five, even? My seventh graders get on famously with me...maybe I should stay and see them graduate. Shouldn't I hold onto a good thing? How do you know when it's time to leave?
Well, I know. I can tell because my blogs have slowed to a trickle. I don't get excited about going out and coming up with new stuff to do. I can tell by the way I feel the cold. On the way to Tsenkher, we stayed the night with Enkhaa's friends again, as we did the last time. When Engrish and I went with Geek 3 years ago, we had a measly dung fire that never got started properly, but I was warm enough. Maybe I brought my sleeping bag that time; I can't remember, but since it's a pain to roll up, I probably did the same thing then as now - left it at home and shivered in the cold. This time it was the longest night I can remember spending in a very long time, and it was only winter's opening maneuvers. It snowed for the first time the day I started writing this. I can tell because I tear up anytime I hear a stupid song like "Born to Die," talking about endings. But what is life except a series of endings? You might as well embrace it and live a badass life with as few "ragrets" as you can manage.