Friday, March 23, 2012

The Journey Continues...aka the Fork in the Road

Life is filled with choices, options, decisions and forks in the road.  I am at one of those forks in the road again.  It seems that my 3rd year extension with Peace Corps to stay in Mongolia was denied.

I got this news days ago and have been "processing" it ever since.  The news was relayed through a phone call from the Country Director who was very gracious.  When I inquired about any possible appeal or reconsideration, the answer was no. I thanked her and hung up.

My head swirled with thoughts and emotions.  My initial reaction was one of anger and betrayal... how dare they (PC) not see the importance of these children I work with and find me worthy of staying another year?! Can't they see that my love and devotion to these kids, their school, this country is so important.....i kept thinking... It's not fair, blah, blah, naseum.

Wallowing in self pity can only last so long, though I like to hold onto my self righteous anger. . . And so i did for a few days at least, until I was just sick of myself and my feeling wronged.
Honestly, remove the emotions from the situation and it can be seen for exactly what it is... a job applied for that was not offered to me.

PC has a limited budget, with only so many slots available for extensions.  According to PCM, this year there were a record busting number of applicants who wished to stay here and continue their work.  Of course several of my friends were accepted, and I have received many conciliatory calls and texts, and though still feeling a little miffed, I am happy for those who will be staying.

This whole situation also encouraged me to examine my own motivations and reasons for wanting to stay.  After all, a large part of my PC journey has been for me to learn and grow.  Disappointments and difficulties are opportunities to learn and grow and I need to go with the flow and see this event as such.

I really love and adore the students I've worked with, but whose to say that I wouldn't love and adore any and all students I will work with in the future?  I am comfortable living here in my town, in this country and perhaps was resistant to having to make a decision, to accept change again.  One thing I have learned about myself is that when I am comfortable though antsy for change at the same time, I need a nudge to forge ahead.  This is my nudge:)

The fork in the road can be seen up ahead in the distance.  August to be precise.  At that time I will have finished up my PC service.  I have some exciting plans to travel with Sharayah and Brittany to SE Asia for a few weeks, then to travel "home" to Ohio for a month long visit.  After that, I will be on to my next adventure.  For now I'm exploring the seemingly endless possibilities of where to go next.  There are many places abroad to teach English and I am leaning toward Eastern Europe; a totally different culture, landscape, people.  The world is my oyster, and I'm gonna need to take that fork.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Fever....

can't wait for these to ripen!

nothin' like fresh salad!
Spring fever..... Many commonalities with the same antsyness I've experienced in the USA, but some differences too!  We know that technically Spring begins on the date of the Spring Equinox, usually 20th or 21st of March.  Here in Mongolia, we say Spring has arrived, not because of the equinox, or the arrival of crocus or snowdrops, but because the infamous "9 9's" of winter are over!!!!
The sun seems brighter, the hours of daylight longer, the air a little less nippy, though still freezing.  It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it?  No buds here for a long time however, as the ground is frozen still.  The arrival of Spring in my town is welcomed with snow!  Being in the Gobi we don't get much precipitation at all here, though we've enjoyed snow twice so far this month!  It almost feels warm and reminds me of Ohio, with a light snow falling and a moistness in the air that is usually lacking here!
I yearn to be outside more working in the soil, but that's impossible for now.... and I'm still rather lazy in my winter time hibernation mode!  Back in Ohio, I'd be readying to plant some sweet peas this weekend (St. Patrick's Day is perfect for this according to Martha Stewart:)  but here not till May I think!  I have started some flowers inside and still have my salad plants and herbs to tend to...though I really want to start some veggies for the garden now, though I think I"m still too early.  I dream of a green house that I still need to write the grant for....ugh....back to finishing the grant for the dorm windows, which is almost ready, though now I'm having trouble tracking down my letters of recommendation! 
 Collage is what I've been doing as a way of relaxing and not getting crazy cabin fever.... I tried quilting, knitting, drawing and nothing was quite what I wanted. I tried to get my Arts and Crafts Club kids excited about collage, but not so much.  I then realized I wanted to play with collage so this is my result...Kind of my spiritual journey since I've been in Mongolia.  The longer I'm here and the more things I learn about Buddhism, the more I still feel like a Unitarian Universalist with strong Buddhist leanings..

the whole collage

Some of my antsy feeling may be stemming from the current waiting game...I have applied for a 3rd year here in Mongolia and should know by Friday if I'm accepted, and I am nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs (as the old saying goes).  I am also hoping to be a trainer for the new class of volunteers coming to Mongolia in June.... Lots of irons in the fire, just want to know where I'm heading..... A new beginning elsewhere, or a new year beginning here.  As for this feeling of being antsy, this too shall pass.
me and Pete a few years ago:)
Speaking of new beginnings, if you know this cute guy (my eldest son Pete) tell him congratulations....he and his lovely lady Nicole, are expecting a baby in late Summer.