Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Biscuit bunny and new nail polish- who could as for anything more?
The newest members of the Hovd family have arrived! The adventures of Biscuit and Frat Boy have officially begun! Taking the town by storm with their fuzziness, the bunnies have single handedly won over the hearts and souls of this sleepy Mongolian aimag center without even trying or batting a fluffy little eyelash.

Well not really. But in all seriousness I did get a bunny. My site mate Suzanne got one too. They're friends and even brothers, I guess. And before you chuckle and plug 'Lapin A La Cocotte' into your Google search bar, hear me out. While I am not completely even soled on or in love with these furballs yet myself, this is shaping up like a really neat experience and an interesting part of my time here. 

Historically I've never been a big pet owner. My sister and I got fish for Chrismas one year- I think I was about ten- and if memory serves Raja (my fish) decided to devouter his brother Agaja (my sister's fish) and any other subsequent residents of the tank in a shockingly brief amount of time. Not cool, dude. Or perhaps it was the fact that rodents exposed me to my first taste of death. I can vividly remember standing in the pet store as a child with my mother and sister, confused and horrified as I watched a hamster mother cannibalisticly gnaw away on her babies. Even the memory makes me nauseous. So perhaps I got off on the wrong foot with all creatures great and small. I guess, though I loved our family dog beyond words, I never really bonded with domesticated animals due to their obviously freakish tendency to eat their family members.

But I'm giving it another go. Relatively grown up now and ready to try something new, I delved into the world of pet ownership after a night of drinking led Suzanne and I vow to get bunnies together. We were going to share one but then we realized that we would both want full custody of a single rodent and if we each had one our new furry friends could have playdates. So we decided to get two. With that choice having been firmly made, I set out to find bunnies during my most recent trip to Ulaanbaatar two weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out that Mongolian pet shops are only mildly more depressing than American ones and managed to pick out two male bunnies fairly easily. (Bunny periods and baby bunnies were NOT something I was ever trying to deal with. So boys it was.) Suzanne was tickled pink upon my arrival back in Hovd with our new bunny babies. She named hers Frat Boy, which totally suits his personality and ever expanding waste line, and my fluffy, white butterball I aptly dubbed Biscuit.

Thus far my time with the bunnies has been without incident. Yes, they poo everywhere and no, they don't feed or pet themselves. But they have also been endlessly entertaining and the Mongolians really do love them. During my cooking club for women on Saturday, their little paws never touched the floor. And a pretty neat cultural benefit- Suzanne and I have started a relationship with the family we get our hay from. A local Kazakh family I spotted on my morning run, they are incredibly sweet and very generous with their large supply of hay. We bring always them gifts which they accept with great reluctance. They won't let us pay. Also, having a living thing around the apartment has been very healthy for my mental state, I think. I vividly remember around this time last year showing up at Mona's door forlorn and distressed. I demanded a hug because I couldn't remember the last time I was touched by another human being. Like washing machines and pumpkin spice lattes, I don't think I will ever take physical contact for granted again. But unlike appliances and coffee, you don't feel human without it. It's terrible. Also around this time was when I began planning to ambush my 'special friend'. I needed to be loved, plain and simple. But now that my friend has left and winter is once again descending, I needed to find a way to stay sane in regards of interacting with other living beings. A bunny was a relatively low commitment and when Suzanne seemed serious about the prospect of adopting, I jumped at the opportunity.

The way I see it is this: being a bunny owner will in no way define me. Do not look for a Facebook photo only of the furball and there will be no 'My Bunny is Smarter Than Your Honors Student' bumper sticker on my metaphoric road of life. Rather I hope this experience will enrich my days in Mongolia in a new and fun way. Thus far I haven't looked back. I am, however, looking forward to falling in love with our new bunnies and exploring the world through the eyes of such a perpetually happy animal. I just really hope they don't eat each other.

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