Our Closing of Service ceremony (COS) at a nice hotel outside of the city felt a lot like having a big party on a Sunday night and then immediately returning back to work on Monday.
On paper, we are finished as Peace Corps Volunteers in Mongolia but technically we still have another three months left in country including one more month left of work.
I think I’ve done the best I could in my situation. I don’t think my school ever wanted a PCV or if they did they didn’t know what to do with me. During my first year, I was more polite asking, “Can I do this?” During my second year I was more, “I’m going to do this now!”
I came to realize that if no one at school was asking for help, proposing ideas, or telling me what I should do, I had to take the bull by the horns so I could stay busy and feel productive. I believe without that attitute my girls camp in April never would have happened.
Seeing friends again and receiving our certificates was both exciting and bizarre knowing that two-years has flown by. Unfortunately, my name on my certificate said Anne. I will get a new one before I leave. We received a lot of information about what we need to do before leaving our villages and towns such as closing our bank accounts, alerting our landlords, having a final interview with the country director, and visits to the doctor’s office.
I also received my departure date to fly back home. My flight leaves Mongolia at 6 AM. I’ve been mentally preparing a feast to eat as soon as I land – (seafood, seafood, seafood, seafood, seafood, seafood). The plan is to reacquaint myself to the big city, to Amerian life, and a different time zone. Then possibly followed by a trip to visit both my grandmothers in Sweden and Scotland.
This time last year I was planning my trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. My parents were also visiting for the summer. Now I’m eyeing everything in my apartment that either needs to be sold, donated, or thrown out. Work at school has been slowing down. My last project I’m trying to finish up before the end of the month is recording all the reading passages in textbooks teachers can use next year when I’m gone.
I can still clearly remember arriving in Seattle in May 2016 and seeing other people, who were complete strangers at that time, struggling to leave the airport with all their bags. We would look at each other and go, “Peace Corps?” “Yep.” “Niiiice.”
Only one person from my training group was absent as we took pictures together in our deels and with the Mongolian flag.