Getting Down in the Dumps and Remaining Optimistic

When I joined up in the Peace Corps I truly envision a Peace Corps that I am sure all envision: one in which you go to a third world and put smiles on the faces of little children, and save the poor people of third world countries (i.e. Beyond Borders (see the Angelina Jolie movie, it melts hearts). The truth of the matter is that, in Peace Corps you do not start out in Peace Corps. You go through PST (Pre Service Training). This 2.5 month period has been the most emotionally draining period of my life, and I am only in week three (or so. Dates are a bit misty still). I am struggling to learn the language, am not able to communicate with my host family (they are wonderful though), the food is hard on my stomach (note, there is a third use for a tumpin), am terribly homesick for the little thing (i.e. an actual shower), and I do not feel useful yet. I have not started teaching. I am in class, learning how to volunteer and Mongolian language for about 7-8 hours a day. I want to start doing work.

With all of this said, I often have to remind myself that I am in freaking Mongolia and life will get gradually better. I have to treasure the little things. For example, today I spoke with my Grandma, Mom, and Aunt for almost an hour. It brought happy tears. Each word was better than salad (trust me, only when you have none will you know the godliness that is SALAD). I wanted our conversation to never end. Also, talking to a certain special guy who reminded me of the good work I am here to do, and will do eventually was amazing (Skype is a cheap way to call Mongolia btw). Along with that, today may have been the best, and smoothest day with my host family thus far. I made them spaghetti (to which they asked if I could make pizza… I guess they liked it). We also played UNO (me and my two host sisters and host cousin… the little guy conked out and, because it relies on little English/ Mongolia language skills, we were able to have some laughter (note: Mongolians are competitive people (I know, generalization), they slammed the UNO down like no joke). Last, my host mom got me TWOOOO apples… literally never thought a fruit could bring so much joy to my life.

I am surviving, and living, and learning… Future Peace Corps volunteers, remember that you have a support system around you (other Peace Corps volunteers, family and friends back home). It is ok to vent and feel sad at times. Remember the little things and laugh. The other PCVs I have had the pleasure of working with and venting too are some of the best people to talk too… 


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