Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Game of Firsts

In honor of one of my favorite shows coming back on the air this Sunday (Game of Thrones), I've decided to do a bit of reflection in this post.

As you (might) know, my service is coming to a close pretty fast. My official "release" date (...that makes me sound like I'm in a prison, doesn't it?) is August 30th. From there, it will be travel travel travel, then work work work.

Even though I've been back to the US before, I'm starting to get a little anxious about real "adjustment". What do you mean I have to show up to meetings on time? So you're saying I can't leave work whenever I have errands to run? Why can't I check out how much you have in your bank account at the ATM... isn't not like I'm going to steal your money.

Anyway, at some point I started realizing that Peace Corps was probably one of the best decisions I've made (that, and nursing school). I also realized that there were SO many things that I did here that were a "first" in my life. So for the past couple weeks, I've made a list of "firsts":

In Peace Corps, it's been my first time...
1) Living in Asia
2) Eating horse
3) Milking a cow
4) Feeding baby animals
5) Watching someone kill an animal... and then eat it.
6) Auditioning for a play
7) Writing a grant (and many more!)
8) Watching a horse race
9) Running in a 10k race
10) Going to a Buddhist monastery
11) Knitting a scarf (or knitting anything, really)
12) Teaching nurses
13) Teaching English
14) Experiencing/surviving -40 C/F weather
15) Chasing deer in a land cruiser
16) Eating sushi in a land-locked country
17) Conducting trainings in 2 languages
18) Being able to talk and understand in another language
19) Getting my wallet stolen (haha)
20) Going without hot water for 1.5 years (bucket baths!), and realizing you can get used to ANYTHING
21) Living in the biggest city I've ever lived in: Ulaanbaatar (>1,000,000)
22) Living in the smallest city (village?) I've ever lived in: Baruun-Urt (~15,000)
23) Riding in the smallest airplane I've ever been in (~15 people)
24) Doing laundry by hand
25) Participating in a Habitat for Humanity build
26) Leading and organizing seminars
27) Eating marmot (YUMM)
28) Learning how to cook with very limited ingredients
29) Being a councilor at a children's camp
30) Surviving countless 12 hour bus rides... without throwing up!

I know there are MANY more to add to that list, but a lot of the other ones I wrote have to do with the amazing culture I've been integrated in for the past 3 years. I'm hoping to add a couple more this summer when I go up north to see the reindeer people for a health seminar. We have to travel by horse for 1-2 days just to get to where they live. How cool is that?

Other than that, I've been sick, but that's not new. I'm hoping once I move out of this city, I can breathe again and this cough will go away. Only 5 months (not that I'm counting!), it's crazy how fast time flies.

Happy Easter! Here's a pic of what it looked like in UB today:

(Thanks Katie H for this, haha)
Sigh. Constant warm weather can't come soon enough.

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