Friday, June 24, 2011

Road Trip Coming Up

Justin with 2 fellow business PCVs in UB on the night before he left.

Ashley with the Ondorkhaan girls in UB.

I’m writing in the midst of a heavy and windy storm that has been here all night. Bear had enough of being inside and is somewhere in the midst of it. Heavy rain is fun to see and hear, as it comes so infrequently. I skipped puddles the entire way to the morning workout. Four of us showed up in the midst of the storm. That said, average attendance has increased from 3 to 35 over the past 4 months. I enjoy seeing people around town that I recognize from the morning sessions and I’m learning new names as well.

I walked home from work on Monday to find my neighbors slaughtering a sheep in the hallway. I
imagine they chose the cooler environment over the heat outside. I’m less shocked by this by now and I’m thankful that it is a relatively clean process.

On Saturday I will leave for a road trip to western Mongolia. I’m excited for the opportunity to travel and participate in a seminar there. I’ll provide an update upon my return in early July. I’m sure there will be some interesting stories to relate.

Justin has been spending most of his time in Pittsburgh with friends. He will be heading East shortly to do some more visiting with family and friends. Thanks for all of the support during our continued transitions.

May we all welcome summer wholeheartedly!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Big Changes

As we mark our one year anniversary in Mongolia, we have some changes to share with you. Many will remember that two months ago Justin discussed his potential work options for the upcoming year. In his last blog, Justin shared some of the physical symptoms that have been very wearing over the past months. Due to these symptoms and recommendations from a doctor in UB, Justin has terminated his position with Peace Corps and returned to America on June 1, 2011. This process has been longer for us then we have indicated within the blog and other communications. Together, we decided that I would stay in Mongolia for the foreseeable future. We both see potential collaborations within Mongolia’s initial embrace of physical therapy as a treatment option for elderly and pediatric clients. In many ways it has taken the past year of being present to bring about these opportunities. I was hesitant to leave at the cusp of these projects. Secondly, as this was a difficult time for both of us, Justin can leave more easily knowing that his departure did not impact my work here. We will continue to give thanks for the advances in technology that allow for frequent audio and visual communication at affordable prices! We understand that many of you may have questions or comments about our decisions and we encourage open communication about this. We feel we can live separately because our marriage is very strong and we freely communicate with one another. We understand that this decision may have lead you to other conclusions, but wish to clear the matter up.

As many of you re-unite with Justin in the next months, I am resuming my life/work schedule in Ondorkhaan after frequent trips to UB last month. My focus will be preparation of training material for an upcoming seminar regarding children with disabilities, their families and their physicians. As everything thus far in Mongolia, this will be an interesting venture from start until finish. Also, I hope that this opportunity in a western province will invigorate my collaboration at home in Khentii. In the meantime this is a beautiful and definitively warm time to be in Mongolia. The expanses of land and sky are breathtaking and the herds of animals graced by the baby goats, calves, foals and lamb are a vibrant sign of life. I use this energy and optimism daily and hope each of you can find that joy as well.

As I take the realm of this blog, may you have patience with this new voice and may you freely share your own thoughts, observations and experiences.