Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Last Blog Post from Mongolia

by Kara

I read what Mark posted earlier today and thought it was very nicely composed. I don’t want to compete with his post, but thought that maybe I should share some of my own thoughts.

For me, right now it just feels like we’re packed up to go on vacation. It’s hard to mentally process that we may never come back to this country again and even more, that we may never see some of our Mongolian and PCV friends again. I think it’s going to take some time for that to set in.

When we were applying for the Peace Corps I was so excited to live in another country and have everyday experiences like going grocery shopping be interesting and like a small adventure. Now, after two years, rather than feeling like an adventure, sometimes it’s just tiring to have a simple task like grocery shopping be a cumbersome experience. I’m actually looking forward to being able to go grocery shopping and not have everybody stare at me and to not have a confusing interaction with the cashier.

On the other hand, I still love the attention I get from kids in Arkhangai just walking around town. Everyday there are always at least a few kids who shout, “HI! HI! HI!” Other PCVs have gotten tired of this, but I still love it. The kids are adorable. Now I’m going to go back to the US and I’m just going to be another boring adult. And if I give a piece of candy to some kid on the street (perfectly acceptable here), people are going to think I’m a kidnapper. Great.

Then again, I’m really excited for Mark and I to start a fresh, new life together again in Seattle. I can’t wait to be busy learning (as a grad student at UW) and working (hopefully I’ll secure a job soon). Having struggled with a huge language barrier in my work in Mongolia, I’m especially looking forward to working with people who are all fluent in the same language as me. I know I’ll face challenges, but at least we’ll be able to communicate with one another.

Clearly, there are a lot of things I know I’m going to miss about Mongolia (it’s impossible to list them all here) and a lot of things I’m looking forward to in the US.

I can’t yet say exactly how my service as a PCV in Mongolia has changed me for the long-term. Those close to me may be able to indicate these changes better than I can. I hope that it’s made me more patient and understanding. I definitely think it’s made me more understanding of people who are living in another country and attempting to speak a non-native language. I also really admired a lot of the generosity I found in my Mongolian friends and coworkers and I’ve hoped that would rub off on me… However, I’m not confident that it has. That’s still something I’m working on.

There are little things that are with me now but may go away with time. If my foot bumps somebody else’s foot I feel the urge to shake their hand. I may be a bit pushy in ATM lines and stand a little to close to the person in front of me, worried somebody might cut. I won’t be as disappointed if the item I order at a restaurant isn’t there. (Last night we went to a restaurant called Thai Cuisine and after ordering were told that Thai food is not available.) And don’t be too surprised if you catch me loudly slurping up hot beverages.

Well, that’s all the insight I’ve got right now… I’m going to go back to looking up tips online for how to travel with a cat on a plane. Here’s hoping she swallows her pills and sleeps the whole time! Mark and I might post a follow-up post or two from the US, but this marks the last one from Mongolia! Bayartai! Thanks for following our blog!

1 comment:

Esther (the radiant one :) said...

Enjoyed reading your article and your love for Mongolia made me smile. Have you visited to Mongolia since then? I'm Mongolian currently live in the UK.