Yes friends I was recently reminded of the fact that there is a place (or rather places) where people eat wondrous desserts (or make meals of desserts) for a simple euro per cone. This reminder of what I am currently not experiencing made me think that it is time to present the three things that Peace Corps volunteers discuss. *[Note: there is controversy about whether these items are limited to Bayankhongor volunteers or are universal to all Mongolian PCV's, I feel that the latter may be the case though I have not as yet found conclusive evidence. Working on it, I assure you].
Item #1) Food. Discussion begins with one of the following questions: a) What did you make for dinner last night? b) When was the last time you ate instant pad thai? c) How many meals of the aforesaid pad thai have you eaten in succession (current honors go to Fahd with 4). d) What if we combined X delicious exotic food from a warm place with Y traditional food from Mongolia. Sometimes this results in people making curry cheese... e) Discussions surrounding what we "will" make this coming year. Take Peder for example who recently bought an oven. The list of "to be made" items is tremendous.
Item #2) Other volunteers. They may live in Bayankhongor, or not, it doesn't really matter. They may even be return Peace Corps volunteers, that's not going to stop us from discussing/judging/wondering/and otherwise commenting on them. We only came to this realization this summer with the arrival of American siblings (three of them between those of us in BH). They all mentioned that this is all we talk about (obviously an untruth as there are TWO other items...).
Item #3) The fact that we have nothing to talk about besides food and other volunteers.
This being said I recently participated in a discussion of the existence or non-existence of universal ethics with two other BH volunteers. This is a reason for hope, enlightenment, and possible social survival for a second year...
Take care, Eat well, and discuss something for our sakes.