Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Joyous Homecoming

I'd wanted to be here all summer. But I knew going into it, that all of the things I had planned, all of the visitors, trainings, trips, builds, races, and seminars would keep me in and around UB for the better half of 4 months. That still didn't make it easy. I was broke. And big cities aren't my thing. 

But I made it through and returned to Altai in good spirits on Sunday. I got off the plane and literally couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It was a beautiful day. I was happy to be here. 

In lieu of a taxi, I decided to make the walk from the airport to my apartment, bags in tow, simply because I didn't want to miss a beat. Children waved, recognition set in, and I saw many familiar faces light up at the sight of my return. It's nice to feel missed. 

Before getting to my apartment, I noticed a Mongol Rally vehicle and two guys standing outside of it. I asked them what they were up to and they briefly told me of their road trip from London and how they were almost to their destination -UB, where their journey would end and they would donate their vehicle to Mercy Corps (an annual event.) They asked what I was doing here, and seemed surprised when I told them I live here. I got the feeling Mongolia hadn't exactly impressed them, but it could have been the fatigue of a long journey. But I've gotten used to this. I'm used to foreigners being unable to see Mongolia's charm. But the pride I felt in claiming it as my home is one I've felt many times throughout the summer when meeting new people and describing my role here. 

When it comes down to it, I'm just so happy to live here. I'm so happy that I get to live here. I'm excited to try and give back to my community a fraction of what it's given me over this past year. In some ways, it makes me sad to think I only have a year left to make that happen. 

Glimpsing around my town, it was amazing to see the change 4 months had brought. There were new buildings, fences, businesses, and other signs of progress. Having only my memory to compare it to, I struggled a bit with identifying new buildings versus fancy fresh paint jobs. 

I continued on to my house, walked in and just sighed in relief at the fact that I'd made it home. I felt like a weary traveler looking for a place to rest her head, and I found everything I was looking for in the comforts of my own bed. I spent the remainder of my day walking around my apartment and attempting to transform it back into a habitable space; putting things in their rightful place, cleaning up, finding a home for new summer treasures. It's funny how some places just feel 'lived in,' and after so many months of emptiness, the place just had a deserted, hollowness to it. This became more evident as I walked over to my calender, (that still read May,) and slowly turned each page until I landed on August. I paused to reflect on everything I had done over the summer and how good it felt to have it behind me and be able to return to a routined life. Summer was certainly an adventure, but I think the same can be said for simple living in a place you've come to love...

No comments:

Post a Comment