Monday, June 8, 2009

Awaiting the Adventure!

Sain Bainuu! (Hi!)

Mark and I are hanging out right now, enjoying our last evening in Seattle together before our 2 year adventure in Mongolia. (Not our last evening together in Seattle ever. We plan to return! And our next 2 evenings will be spent with family in Puyallup.) For those of you who just recently heard about this adventure of ours, let me give a quick recap. We decided to apply for the Peace Corps for a lot of reasons but mostly because we wanted to travel, to serve, and because this is a great time to go since we don't have a house, kids, pets, etc.

Frequently asked questions:
Did you choose Mongolia?
No. In fact, I never would've guessed I'd be living in Mongolia for 2 years. But, we decided we were doing the Peace Corps to truly serve, and we wanted to go where there was a need and where we were called. Turns out, this is Mongolia. I was hesitant at first, but now I'm really excited.

What will you be doing there?
I will be a Community Youth Development volunteer. They say I'll be a "Life Skills Trainer". I don't really know what that means yet though. Basically, I think I'll be working with kids or teens in some capacity; in a school, non-profit, government agency, etc.
Mark will be a Community Economic Development Volunteer; specifically, he'll be a Small Business Advisor.
We both decided to rank the type of work as more important than where we did the work during the application process. We're both really excited to be working in these sectors.

Where will you live?
We don't know yet. We'll be training in a town just outside of the capital (Ulaanbaatar) for 10 weeks. After getting to know us better and what skills we have to offer, they'll assign us jobs somewhere. We find this out at the end of training. We live separately during training for 8 weeks with host families and will then live together for the next 2 years. We'll most likely live in a yurt ("ger" in Mongolian), apartment, or wood house. We anticipate that we'll live in a provincial capital, meaning we won't live in the most remote of areas, but it will still be a relatively small town.

Will you come back?
Yes! Our service with the Peace Corps (PC) ends in August 2011. We may travel a little bit after that if we can, but ultimately we plan to return to Western Washington - somewhere in the Puyallup-Tacoma-Seattle area. We hope to come back to the U.S. once during our service to visit. This is allowed by the PC, but we have to pay for it on our own. (Flights are expensive!)

What will you be eating?
Lots of meat (especially mutton), lots of dairy products like goat milk, fermented mare's milk, goat cheese, root vegetables like potatoes and carrots, and some rice and noodles.

So, not like the Mongolian Grill?
Unfortunately, not at all like the Monoglian Grills.

What do they speak?

Do you know Mongolian?
Not yet! But we have intensive training for 10 weeks.

Those are some of the questions we seem to have been asked the most. I hope that helps! I also hope that all of you enjoy reading our blog. We're planning on doing separate posts and not really proofing each other's - so one of us might say something quite contradictory from the other. But most of you are probably used to that anyway. And you'll probably notice that I overuse quotation marks (but they just seem so handy to me). We've been told to expect very limited internet access during the first 10 weeks of training, but after that we hope we'll have more regular access. But we'll just have to wait and see. You'll have to forgive us for our grammatical and spelling errors, as we may be in a rush to publish a post sometimes.

Thanks again to so many of you who have been so supportive! We're so thankful to have so many people in our lives who are so caring. Thanks to many of you for all your prayers too.

Bayartai! (Goodbye!)

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