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Preface: Mongolia makes brief appearance in the news today

May 14, 2010

Mongolia made a brief appearance in The New York Times today; “The Home and Garden” section, naturally. I’d expect “Fashion and Style,” what with outfits like this…just kidding, I meant this (Obviously a Star Wars costume designer took a little interest in Mongolian national dress).

Nonetheless, it’s encouraging to see traces of what my everyday experience will be like cropping up before I leave. I’ve heard “six-degrees of separation” stories coming from the friends of Peace Corps Volunteers; the way your country of service seems to pop up in living color for all of them even here in the US, and I hope it will be something similar for the rest of you in a few short weeks. I look forward to hearing about them.

In other news, I had a chance to sit down with my teacher/mentor from high school yesterday. She is the reason I love the things I love and I can see her American Literature class, Junior year of high school, as a watershed moment in my intellectual and emotional development. It’s in her class that I discovered my love of literature and realized an ability to interact with and analyze it. We fell immediately back into our old rhythms and I talked with her for 2 hours almost exactly the way I used to some 5 or 6 years ago. It was affirming to say the least. A big part of her gift to me, both then and now, is the reassurance I get from her about living in the “gray area.” Reassurance meaning that I can feel comfortable in my uncertainty about belief (not reserved to spirituality) and experience.  In facing the prospect of two years in a foreign country, possibly without heat or running water where I live, I feel a whole lot better about the fact that I can’t tell if I’m making the right decision.

All my best,

(NOTE: A special thanks to Ms. Kelli J. Bartlett for calling my attention to the article in the NY Times.)

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