I’ve been thinking a while about how to write this ‘last post’ . The last post that would detail how I would leave site, the feelings that would spring from that, and the overall impression of my service. How I would feel about leaving this town and the people in it. Now that the moment has come , however, there are really no words.
The last week was as much of a whirlwind as the rest of my summer has been. My school was busy with their 50th anniversary, leaving me to get into clean and pack mode. Every surface got scrubbed and numerous boxes got thrown out. I’ve said goodbyes, individually and in groups. Looking back on it, it couldn’t have gone better. People ask about how I feel about leaving, and whether I will come back. To which I give my rote answers, “of course I would like to come back” , “I probably won’t have 5 kids in 10 years but I will let you know” and “I’m both happy and sad to go”. Finally “I will never forget Mongolia”.
There is only so much I can muster , about leaving and how I feel. It changes day to day. All I know is that Mongolia, a place that is synonymous with remoteness and the terra incognita of the world, is now a home to me. Mongolia has been my home for two years, I have made friends here and a place that was once wild in my mind, is now a new normal. An awkward, difficult and frustrating normal, but normal nonetheless.
Actually the closest thing that I have read that comes close to how I feel about Mongolia and my relationship to it, is this passage from the Little Prince …
I have built ties. I have built relationships. I now know so much about a little corner of the world, and consider it to be unique and different. I realize the connotation of ‘tame’ might be considered to civilize a wild thing, but like the fox says, it is rather to establish ties and build a bond. There are many lines in that passage that squeeze my heart a little bit, but I guess the most resonant line with me is the idea of “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed”… I have become responsible, forever for how my friends, family and others view Mongolia because I have been fortunate enough to come to know a place that can be in its worst, heartbreaking , and at its best, awe-inspiring. As someone said do me once “You become protective of the country of your Peace Corps service, in a way that you didn’t really imagine when you join Peace Corps”. In that respect, I won’t really forget Mongolia. It is a country that forces you to “stretch yourself” and I have grown and learned so much throughout the last two years . Despite all the difficulties I have faced in my service, I am stronger for it. Stronger for the next thing…
Which for now is an awesome train journey. After closing out my service, I will get on a train to another terra incognita. I will try to write the most I can about the trip. And considering that the train ride itself encapsulates around 5 days of travel, I’m sure I will get some writing done.
I also want to thank everyone that’s been reading the blog throughout my service, even till the very end. It was a nice project to sit myself down for each week my second year, and I hope that you readers learned something new about Mongolia from my posts. I hope to continue writing while I travel and make my way ‘home’, where-ever that is.
Tha its all I can muster now. Be sure to stay tuned for sporadically posted notes in the future ,- V.