Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Beginning of Something New...

As the name suggests, Final Center Days were the last of our training exercises before our actual field work as a Peace Corps Volunteer. As with all our training sessions, the days were packed with information and training materials. But there was much anticipation going into it because our LPI scores and site placements were to be announced.

The training kept us busy from morning til 6 @ night everyday. Some sessions were useful, while others were nothing more than snore fests. One of the highlights was when we me our director/supervisor for the first time. We were announced pair by pair, up to the point when there were a couple of volunteers left, but no supervisors around. Because of the unreliability of the transportation system, people coming in late were by no means an odd occurrence.

I did finally meet my director when she came in for an impromptu Peace Corps talent show at the hotel we were staying at. She is a tiny lady in her forties, but beautiful and showed no sign of aging beyond her years that afflicts so many other Mongolians. She is really easy to talk to, and so energetic. I think we will work well together.

The FCDs culminated with the all important swearing in ceremony. 59 Peace Corps Trainees became Peace Corps Volunteers after being sworn in by Ambassador Minton. As typical of most PC ceremonies worldwide, there was also a host culture performance by the new PC group, the M19s. Dances, songs, and instruments were played. All the performances were spectacular, it far exceeded my expectations.

After the ceremony, the good byes quickly followed, and of course the tears started flowing. For the people that were living close by, they had to leave the same day, which in my opinion is quite shitty. For those of us that had to travel further away, we loaded our goods and headed to UB, the capital. Logistically, the whole experience was a nightmare. But we did get to the city and I finally had the chance to indulge myself with delicious Korean food! After three months of mutton and fat, bulgolgi was nothing less than foodgasm.

I had one night in UB, well not even a night since I had to get up by 4 to catch my 6 o’clock plane for Choibalsan. So a group of us just decided to stay up. Had crappy Reisling, followed by some beer, conversation and music, and finally goodbyes @ 4. I couldn’t as for a better night and send off.

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so this new place, Choibalsan, that you are going to.....is it the boondocks? or its pretty modern?

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