Closing of Service

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.

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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.

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Mongolia’s Peace Corps Director, Gene

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.

 

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June 2016
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May 2018

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.

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August 2016
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May 2018

 

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The Chatty Bunch

Peach Oolong, Forest Berry, Jasmine, Organic Spring Jasmine, Vanilla, Green Matcha, Green Tea Tropical, Organic Breakfast, Chamomile, Apricot Green, Ceylon, Mint, Mango Black, and English tea. Anybody who knows me knows that I need a lovely hot cup of tea every day.

Three times a day.

Living in Mongolia is no exception as my kitchen shelf is weighted down by all my bags of teas. Now that it is November and the temperature has significantly dropped, there is nothing I love more than to be done with work and to power walk back to my warm and comfortable apartment where my tea, camel blankets, and Kindle await me.

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It snowed at the beginning of the month.

Note to readers: I have recently finished reading the first two books in a new series called, “The Seven Sisters,” by Lucinda Reily. I’m obsessed. The first book is based in Brazil and the second in Norway. Third book comes out next year. To help ease the long wait, I’m trolling away on Reily’s website.

I don’t get bored here. I’m content. During the week days, I spend long hours at the school with lesson planning, teacher development, co-teaching, and with my speaking club. Many 6th graders come to my club every Tuesday. However, a counter part is unavailable – (or becomes conveniently busy) – so I am left alone to wonder how I can explain instructions and English words to small children. I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter what I say. They just love when I’m rambling away in English and teaching them nursery rhymes and The Beatles’ “Hello, Good Bye.”

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7th graders learn about many hobbies and write what their favorite hobbies are.

 

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11th grade students are learning adjectives. I had them watch a drone video of Chicago so they can practice using adjectives to describe the city.
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8th grade students review who, what, where, and when for asking questions.

 

 On the weekends, I get invited over to my counterpart’s home where they generously feed me.

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We celebrated my counterpart’s daughter’s birthday. She turned 5.

I shop in the markets and explore buildings where sometimes it feels like I’m wandering in a maze. A narrow hallway leads me through a copious amount of clothing stalls that are now overcrowded with puffy winter jackets; cosmetic counters littered with nail polish, Japanese eye shadow, toothbrushes, and small tubs of face whitening cream; food stands of Khuushuur and buuz that have been sitting there dormant for hours; and window displays of stunning winter deels. People push past in these close quarters so I keep my hands firmly in my pockets.  

I also assist with the Speaking Club – The Chatty Bunch –  at Bookbridge Learning Center.  Bookbridge was founded in Germany. Founded by my fellow PCV, Jenni, the goal of our speaking club is to not just be better English speakers but to become confident public speakers. With the help of our fearless leader, Uuganaa, we meet on Saturdays at 10am. We have accumulated a group of 40 students from all four schools.

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My next blog post will be about my trip with Bookbridge students to eastern Mongolia for an English camp.