Wednesday, May 26, 2010

these boots are made for walking.....

or one womans vasques are another womans monolo blanacs..... Long story short, one of my biggest concerns about Mongolia is walking....lots and lots of walking.. Not that I am adverse to walking, but that my feet might not like it as much! These boots are the sh*t!!!!!! Comfy, sturdy and kinda cute! I would wear these most of the time if I could with some flip flops, sandals and tennies thrown in, but I am to dress business casual as a lfe skills trainer in Mongolia; thus the dilemna.

Back to the shoes,(the Vasques of mine) though a little pricey, they definetly are nowhere near the cost of the MB that Carrie lost at a party....(that's Bradshaw from sex and the city for those uninformed)....

Those shoes were $475; these are considerably less... So back to my feet... With all my freakin' out about comfort and walking, I ended up with a cute pair of Mary Janes that just were not comfy enough.... My landlady/friend Kay advised me to take them to the shoe guy in town and have them stretched. Cool idea, and one that I had not thought of. He fixed me up in 15 minutes!

While I was waiting, I inquired about some new hiking boots as this place carries work boots, etc., Red Wing brand (which my sister swears by). Being there was a blast from the past, with service and even having my feet measured. Here is my foot issue; my right foot is half a size bigger and wider than my left. Funny, they look pretty much the same, but that would explain why it's my right foot that gets uncomfortable sometimes after walking alot or hiking.... I thought maybe if I got some proper hikers rather than my fave Tims (yea, my kids made me ghetto) that I love, it would be beneficial...

So I bought the hikers and am pleased with the purchase! I shall wear them to walk back and forth and change into the other shoes when I get to work....!
Yea, now what about a hat? (That's Courtney with me...we're bringing sexy back....)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the long goodbye.... the theme of my life right now.. not that goodbyes are only bad, but they can be a little difficult sometimes, and turn me into a big ball of mush. And I do not like to cry and get all emotional, and crying makes my eyes hurt! Transitions can be tough though necessary... as the saying goes "when one door closes, another one opens". I don't know who said that but it is so true.
The opportunity of Peace Corps service is huge! As a friend at church marveled to me Sunday, going to Mongolia is just too cool for words! That pretty much covers it for me, though I continue to attempt to express these thoughts and feelings in words...(and some pics)However, these ongoing goodbyes remind me just how many wonderful friends and family members I have and I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by such a loving bunch! Saturday I met my longt time gal pals Neicey and Rhonda for hiking (some of those posterior muscles of mine have not worked too much lately and I have noticed now), and we had a fun time together, in spite of the goodbyes. Paula also surprised me by joining us for the day!
On the packing front, I am feeling much more relaxed and practical.... Thanks to Josh (fellow PC Mongolia volunteer blogger and his Mom), and my 5 new PC Mongolia email friends, I have gotten very sound advice and suggestions for packing.. More entertainment, fun, brain stimulation, creature comfort items and less clothes.
Courtney and I had another jam packed day together Monday - lunch, flea market, movies, and some necessary shopping that ended with a great new dress for her (upcoming cousin's wedding next month) and sensible shoes for me..... these old feet of mine need comfort and really good padding!
The next few days I'll be spending some time with my lovely sister and our fun Mom!I am happy to report that PC sent some great information regarding what actually happens when we get to Mongolia.... a nice transition period called "orientation" for 5 days before we go to stay with our host family.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

the countdown is on!

Wow, less than 3 weeks now till I'm in Asia! My preparations are going slowly, but surely. The language is quite interesting and I'm generally freaking out about having to learn it...however, deep breath... I have employed the easy does it approach, and listening some every day...
Packing is a big stressor for me! I am soooo worried about not taking something that I'll realize I really want when I get there... Let it go, I say! And I was forced to think about one of my favorite UU Forrest Church "want what you have, do what you can, be who you are"......
So I cleaned out my closet..literally! So this is a pic of some of the stuff I thought I must take..(and only the warm weather clothing), not showing the bulging closet that I cleaned...More than half of my clothes went! yea! I have yet to actually finish the final packing, however, I did weigh my red suitcase(, a gently used, well travelled bag courtesy of Sue & Tom, )for warmer weather clothes...and with about 2/3 of my stuff weighed in at 31 lbs. That is great, since 50 lb. is the limit. I think I can do it!

Realistically, my favorite items (that I wear alot) which can mix and match, and comfy presentable shoes will work.
Other stuff is a whole other story! Books, (a few for starters), some keepsake items I like, and I have to keep asking myself, what will make me feel at home, secure,etc.., lots of photos for sure!
Some practical information was gained this week...I bought a netbook (which I have yet to really use..long story), corresponded with several current PC volunteers in Mongolia who have been very helpful - full of useful tips and information, found out about postage to Mongolia (less than a dollar for mailing a 1 oz. letter) and lets not forget, cleaned out my closet!
Saying goodbye is a tough one....Courtney (my lovely surrogate daughter) and I are hanging out weekly now till I leave....and we went to Vickis' memorial tree at KSU, lunched at Five Guys (Mr. Obama's favorite burgers!) and the movies...
Another goodbye today....Rhonda, Denise and I will be walking and talking at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park then lunching . Our standard get togethers which I shall sorely miss.
Plenty more to comeas I prepare for this amazing journey.

Friday, May 7, 2010

did I mention I'm going to Mongolia?!

Another day, another million thoughts rattling around in my head about Mongolia!!!

Well, I hope you can see by the map, it is in Central Asia (in case you are not certain) and just south of Russia and east of China! The weather is somewhat similar to NE Ohio, with a more extreme winter; at least temperature wise. Since it is totally landlocked, there are no ocean breezes and it is also very dry, with an average of 8-9 inches precipitation annually.

Since the other day, I have gotten my plane reservations for staging (San Fransisco), completed my aspiration statement and updated resume which I emailed to PC, done a little practicing with the Mongolian alphabet and bought some sensible yet fairly fashionable shoes that I can walk in. I am feeling quite accomplished!
Additionally the PC is thoughtful enough to share email addresses with some current volunteers in Mongolia so I am asking plenty of questions!!!
I do not like saying goodbye so I'm feeling a little conflicted.....but oh so excited!
More to come soon.....I still need to figure out this clothing situation! I am always getting rid of items, buying more, etc...and always downsizing the wardrobe...but from the looks of my closet and such .......ugh....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Preparing for take off!!!!

Wow, less than a month till Mongolia!! I will begin a 27 month committment as a Peace Corps volunteer. My job title is life skills trainer working in the Community Youth Development area. What a rush! (in more ways than one) I am so excited I can barely contain myself.
So much to finish up, so little time......

To go back a little for those who don't know me (yet)... I am a more experienced than typical volunteer (yes, I mean older) and life has led me down some paths which have offered much personal growth. (that does mean painful ,challenging experiences, but really how else do we grow and learn?)

Soul searching and an insightful friend (thanks Linda) led me to the possibility of the Peace Corps. What an amazing opportunity this will be in so many ways!

But for now, I still need to figure out what to take?! Do I get a nook or a kindle? What about my hair? Will I be too cold? too hot? are those cute shoes comfortable enough if I have to walk a mile or two in them?

And more importantly, I must call to make my travel arrangements to San Fransisco for staging!!!!