Sunday, October 16, 2011

Posts from Mongolia (1 of 3)

For the next 10 days I will be gleefully running Colorado and alternating between saying incredibly sappy and incredibly insensitive things to Cara. Here's to hoping that the sappy outweighs the insensitive.

In the meantime, here are the blog posts I wrote in Mongolia while dreaming up what I would do with internet access. The title of the first post:: Looking Back to Look Forward (hey, I was isolated).

It’s my last month of work as a Peace Corps Volunteer, so why start a blog now? A lot of reasons come to mind: because it appears that most PCV blogs crap out towards the end instead of finishing strong, when hopefully the lessons have actually been learned; because I have time to reflect on my experience while I get ready to go back to the States; because I want to detail the period that PCVs simultaneously look forward to and dread – readjustment. However, the most accurate reason is probably because I’ve spent the last two years in a small town in the Gobi desert that lacked indoor plumbing, to say nothing of the internet.

I am a TEFL volunteer (the government loves acronyms – TEFL is Teaching English as a Foreign Language, a lot like teaching ESL but in a country where English is the non-primary language) and my school year wraps up May 31st . I finish my service June 24th, so most of the last month will be spent moving all my possessions to the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, and finishing up CoS paperwork (that’s Close of Service). If you haven’t pieced it together, I’m an M-20, which means I’m a volunteer in Mongolia and part of the 20th consecutive group to be sent to the country which opened to PC (no joke, it’s not “the Peace Corps,” but simply “Peace Corps” without an article, some people get indignant over the littlest things) in 1990. With that intro, you now know the key acronyms to tackle this blog.

Speaking of tackling, here is a glimpse of what I plan to tackle or include in my blog: serving in a former Soviet satellite, the stereotypical Peace Corps experience (weighing babies in Africa) and the atypical experience (life without fear of malaria), bureaucracy à l’America as opposed to à la Russia, what got me through two years of service, idealism versus cynicism, and a lot of half-remembered references to biographies of Sargent Shriver and John F. Kennedy. Oh yeah, and cowboys.

Get ready for ten days of glimpses into my head when I was alone in the desert,

- John 

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