After an awkward, educational, yet heartwarming homestay we all gathered at base camp with a new found connection to Mongolian culture. Everyone slowly arrived one by one. As much as we enjoyed our homestay, we were excited to see our friends again. After we gathered and touched base with our friends, some helped set out snacks while others spent time with their host family. While we were eating snacks Valente and Anders graced us with an acoustic performance of Hurt by Johnny Cash and House of the Rising Sun by the Animals. Valente sang and played the guitar, while Anders’s humii singing gave the cover a Mongolian flair. Later they were joined by Anders’s host father, who sang a Mongolian song.
Soon after, students sat with their host families to eat snacks or prepared food to serve at the tables. The warm, soft sheep meat was served along with a large platter of perfectly steamed rice and a pot of tenderly boiled potatoes. Our Mongolian hosts excitedly wolfed down the sheep meat while fellow students sat back eating potatoes and rice, since we spent the past 5 days eating sheep and goat meat. As good as it was, most students needed a break from meat.
After an intense tournament of tug of war, the time came to say goodbye to our host families. The bittersweet parting was rife with tears and laughter, and while we were sad to say bayartai (goodbye), we were excited to see what else Mongolia had hidden for us to discover.