“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” –John Lennon
I have left Mongolia. I am in beautiful Eugene, Oregon, having been medically separated from Peace Corps. During my time in Mongolia, I experienced upper respiratory infections fairly continually. The medical officer tried everything she could think of to help me recover permanently, but to no avail. I was evacuated to Bangkok and received very good care from the doctor there. After looking at the results of the tests he ordered, he concluded that I was probably suffering from a sensitivity to something in the environment in Mongolia, and recommended I not return.
Mynah, a new bird friend in Bangkok
I expected there to be challenges during my time in the Peace Corps. But being very healthy normally, I didn’t expect any ongoing health issues that would interfere so much and for so long with my life there. Being sick most of the time took its toll. My energy was low and I often felt overwhelmed by the smallest inconveniences. As I would feel better, I would think I was about to hit my stride and be really productive, only to relapse.
I remember last year at this time. My group was in the last weeks of training, and we were all excited as we approached swearing in, wondering where we would be placed for our two years. I remember being surprised at the dramatic shift in the weather toward winter after August 1. As I sit here in the heat of a Eugene August, I am reading Facebook posts of my cohorts and friends still in Mongolia. They are reporting 40- and 50-degree weather in some areas, and snow in Arkhangai. Some in the capital are lamenting not wearing tights today, and wishing they’d brought a sweater with them. Summer in Mongolia is very short.
I am glad for the year I spent in Mongolia. I learned a lot there, both about myself, and about Mongolia and Mongolians. I feel I have changed, and that I have a bigger view of the world. There were many people there, both Mongolian and foreign, who made my life forever richer. I come away from this experience with humility and gratitude.
Although I am finished in Mongolia, I am not finished with Peace Corps. I am looking forward to serving in a different country. There are medical hoops to jump through, so that I can be cleared to continue serving. I am hoping to be reassigned in the next 6 months. Thank you to all of you who have followed this blog. I intend to continue writing here as new adventures unfold.