Technically, spring has arrived. When Tsaagan Sar ends, this marks the beginning of spring. I must admit, the first hints of spring are around:
I can go outside wearing just a pair of jeans (no long underwear).
I finally retired my fur hat for the season.
I went for a jog OUTSIDE around Sukhbataar Square in the morning (it was still a windy 10F).
All the ice skating rinks in UB are more like icy pools.
I don't smell quite so much like a chimney when I come in from outside.
I can see more than a mile in the morning.
I've been reassured that the ger districts actually DO exist (couldn't see them through the smoke since October).
The smell of urine thawing (especially around building corners) has begun to permeate through the air.
I've seen people riding bicycles.
There is talk of people checking in the hospital to "rest" (common spring practice).
People seem to have forgotten how awful and cold winter is.
I was even able to take a hike with some pals on Saturday just outside UB. The mountains were a little snowy and I was a little breathless, but it was a beautiful day and it reminded me of how pretty this place can be.
The long, ugly UB winter definitely has an effect on the psyche. I might be jinxing myself, but I hope it stays nice, calm, and with highs in the upper 40s, for a few weeks. It will give me strength before the dust storms!