I do not know what it is about being thousands of miles away from my family and friends back home, but something about Peace Corps service, thus far has made the bond of the trainees close. In the three weeks (yeah it is the three weekaverasary in Mongolia, My spelling has gone out the window due to Mongolian, so pardon any errors), but, for some reason, all of the PCVs in my area have somehow developed a bond that, in America, would have taken months and years to develop. It may be that we lost most of our support system when we got on that obnoxious plane ride (trust me, obnoxious is the perfect word), but, whatever it is we have all been drawn towards each other, and lean on each other… We are there when we need a shoulder to cry on when we miss our families, friends and toilets in the US (yeah, don’t judge me, when you have to squat during “lady time”, you will miss flushy porcelainia too). We are also there when we need to B*$%+ and Moan about our lives and lack of shower. And we are generally non-judgmental when we talk about more persona topics. Generally, we are the only connection, other than the occasional Skype or phone convo. We is tight. Like, when I need a bathroom buddy, I have one (yeah, bathroom time at school, where there are “toilets”, and no doors, are social). And thus brings me to my next topic:
Sharing in Mongolia is big, and a rather pleasant deviation from the mine-is-mine nature of America. It may be that Mongolia is communal, but when it comes to sharing, what you bring into the house is everyone’s. The Peace Corps Water filter I was given, became the family water filter. Also, if you have food with you when you enter a house, you had better share it. On the other end, if someone comes into your house, it is proper to offer them candy, food, tea, or even a full meal (awkward when you have to go from a house quickly after arriving). The American people, in this sense, have got some learnin’ to do (say in Ricky from “I Love Lucy Voice”). It makes you feel welcome. Or when you need a ride home, because some Mongolian men are chasing you (yep, this happens), someone is more than happy, and even insists on going out of their way to offer up a ride.
My third part is about things only seen/ and occur in Mongolia while walking with Sarah, a fellow PCV:
1) Karissa almost gets run over by a cow: Yep, while I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going I almost got run over by a cow… Luckily, Sarah was there to prevent cow/American collision.
2) We see a woman with her pants down and belly showing: On the way home from Mongolian class, Sarah and I see an elderly woman walking, like no big deal, with her pants down to show way more butt than I am used to seeing in the states… this is becoming rather normal (skin is in in Mongolia).
3) We almost get chased by men in a car: Urging Sarah to get in, and then, after failing, come after me (my flailing “no”, did not detour them, they reversed)… this, also failing, prompts the ride from Sarah’s host fam.
4) Men again chase us: While most men in Mongolia are sane and logical in their pursuit of the female, some take more of an attack tactic to catching the allusive American…
More to come on my next posting…