My last week flew by faster than I thought possible.
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday:
All completely normal and great work days :) The kids were awesome, and I managed to get a couple of the shy ones to warm up to me a bit. They're all super sweet, great kids, and I love them to pieces.
Projects Abroad organized a care outreach in the Ger district. Projects Abroad made a Ger there that has been serving as a kind of community center for kids from the Ger district. Often these kids have alcoholic or uncaring parents, so it's a place for them to go to receive attention and care and be with other kids. P.A. had recently built a fence next to the community center to keep the kids from accidentally falling down a rather steep hill, so we went to paint it! We brought along a local artist, and the kids helped us paint hills, and sky, and giant butterflies all over their fence :) After all the painting, we had a bit of a water fight. It was so great. The kids were really fun, helpful, and so enthusiastic about what we were doing, and it was great to be able to brighten up their lives a little bit.
It was my last day, and I was dying a little on the inside. At the end of the day, I went around and gave each one of those little babies a hug and a kiss, and I prayed with everything I am that someone would come along, see how amazing they are, and take them home. It might sound sappy, but I got pretty attached, especially to the little ones.
I'll keep going with life, and I'll keep having new adventures, but I don't think I'll be forgetting those faces any time soon.
Saturday and Sunday:
Saturday, I took a trip to the Bogd Khan's Winter palace! It was extremely interesting to see how Mongolian royalty lived 100 years ago. Fun fact, the Bogd Khan had an elephant purchased from the Russians during his reign, and he kept it as a pet. It even had speecial ceremonial outfits, styled after Mongolian traditional clothes.
After that I went to the mall and saw some dinosaurs with my host family :) The kids were going out to the countryside, so it was the last time I had to spend with them before I left. Then, after saying goodbye to the family, I did a little souvenir shopping, then took myself to a movie. It was actually very therapeutic to go see a movie by myself, and I stopped noticing the Mongolian subtitles after only a few minutes ;)
Sunday I spent entirely on packing and relaxing. I knew from the start that Monday(today), I would be super stressed about everything, so I let myself have a whole day just to do nothing at all.
Monday (my last day):
I was up nice and early, stressing about life :) Flying gives me some small amount of anxiety :) Not the actual flying itself, but the in- between in airports gets to me. Spending almost 11 hours in Beijing feels particularly daunting right now, but I tried to enjoy my day anyway.
I went to the National History museum as a final cultural hurrah, tried to get all of my affairs in order, then bought my host family a rather pretty plant ;) They haven't noticed it sitting on the window sill yet, so I'll laugh if they happen to read this and that's how they figure it out.
It's rather hot, so we decided cooking was overrated. Instead we had takeout chicken, watched a show in Mongolian, and I contemplated everything I've done while I've been here.
It's been an amazing month. Unfortunately, some adventures have deadlines. When I started this adventure, I knew eventually I would go home, but now the adventure is truly over, and in less than two hours I'm going to be picked up to go to the airport and fly back to the good old US of A. I would like to think I made some sort of difference to this country, but whatever sliver of a difference I made to the people I helped is nothing compared to what they've done for me.
I've been exposed to people whose lifestyle and upbringing are completely different from my own, and it's humbling. I've had a really easy life over the past 17 years. Some of the kids I've tried to help have already spent years in an orphanage or live in a Ger with no modern comforts whatsoever. It's hard for me to comprehend the strength and mettle these people have. They're also some of the kindest, most considerate people I've ever met. Most of them have very little, but they're willing to give up so much.
I'm so glad I decided to come to Mongolia so long ago, and thank you all for supporting me while I was here. I'm a very different person than I was a month ago. I've seen things I couldn't have imagined when I got on that plane to fly halfway across the world. It's been life changing, and someday I'll come back. Maybe I'll even run into the kids that have changed my life so much :) Until then, goodbye, Mongolia. It's time for me to go home.