Tuesday, December 9, 2008

78 degrees

No, it is no where near 78 degrees her in Ft. Collins, Colorado. That is unless you happen to be living in a house with my grandparents. My grandfather and I go through this daily ritual of him turning up the heat and me turning it down. Last night it was 74 and he complained of it being cold. Ahhh, well. I would honestly rather be hot than cold. Which makes me wonder about me going to Mongolia, Land of the (cold) Mongols.
So, yes, I have moved to Ft. Collins to take care of those whom I (lovingly) refer to as the elderly loons. Last evening for example I could not find the more than half a loaf of bread that was left and neither could my Grandma. This morning it was in its spot by the toaster. She doesn't remember where she found it or even that it was lost. We looked for at least 15 minutes for this elusive bread. What bugs me is not that I had to eat my peanut butter sandwich sans bread (think about it) but that now I will never know where that bread lay waiting to be discovered for more than 12 hours. Well, as the French say, "C'est la vie". Of course they also say, "Vous etes vieil et fou" and sometimes even "Est-ce que tu voudrais jouer au ping-pong avec moi ce soir?" although that last might actually just be me.
I just got a job working at La Quinta Inn here in Ft. Collins. It is managed by two brothers from India. Wouldn't be nice if they were from Mongolia and then I could learn the language from them instead of from these awesome audio files the Peace Corps made available that sounds like they were recorded in 1982 with a tape recorder in an office some where with people shuffling papers, which isn't like totally out of the realm of possibility.
After typing that last sentence I started to dream that the realm of possibility was an actual Realm ruled of by the Monarch of Fancy, riding a horse christened Embellish, with his trusty hound Wonder, on whom dotes his only daughter, the lovely Imagine. But one day Imagine is kidnapped by the evil villains Tedious and Insipid putting the lovely Father/Sovereign out of mind with grief and anger. The handsome Prince Envisage sets out to rescue the dark maiden with the almond starry eyes only to find that she has converted her captors to scholars and gentlemen with the help of two forest creatures, Wit and Witticism. They all return to the Realm of Possibility where Imagine and Envisage spend some time to get to know one another before rushing into a foolish marriage, only to discover that although they are both perfectly lovely people, they are just not meant to be together. Imagine eventually finds a nice writer to dally with and goes on to inspire many of his works. They sleep, sometimes in separate rooms sometimes decidedly together, for the rest of their lives. He her artist, she his muse. Envisage discovers his French roots (and his homosexual tendencies) in the brothels of Paris and dies early but surprisingly peaceful in the arms of his lover, Espoir. Fancy the king is buried between Wonder and Embellish next to a joyous spring in the mountains.
Wow, that was quite the whimsical tangent wasn't it. I shouldn't take myself so seriously and try to lighten up a little.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Step Forward

I apologize to all of you that have been anxiously checking for an update over the past couple of months, I am sure you number in the hundreds! I have been re-medically cleared for service and have received a new assignment. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jason, my placement officer at the Peace Corps for making it possible for me to keep the same blog address so as not to confuse my adoring fans. That's right ladies and gentlemen, I am heading for MONGOLIA in June '09. I am seriously thrilled about this assignment. I feel I am mentally prepared for Mongolia as well as sock-ally prepared as many people gave me smart wool socks for graduation. (Not that I couldn't use a few more pairs...it's cold there people.)

Since being deferred I have been working at The Rapid City Childrens' Center. December 5th is the Christmas party and also my last day. I will miss all of these wonderful children I have gotten to know.

(OK quick eye-rolling adorable kid story... I dyed my hair a deep chestnut and the next day a little boy (He's 4) saw me and ran into his classroom and exclaimed "Miss Caitlin is Beeoootiful!" Be still my heart!)

I love other people's kids. You get all the best parts and getting to know and love them, and you get to go home to (theoretical) peace and quiet.

I am all packed and ready to move to Ft. Collins, CO next week to help take care for my grandparents, Bill and Ginny. I will work on learning Mongolian, saying goodbye to America and spending lots of time with friend Becca as she conveniently lives there and has a fabulous group a friends I am going to thrust my acquaintance on. (Becca has assured me that they are all prepared and excited for my arrival. I had a great time meeting some of them last summer, especially Scott!) I will miss my friends, both old and new, in Rapid City, but I know it isn't goodbye forever! I will also miss my family incredibly much, but it is time for me to be more independent. Well, as much independent as living with my grandparents can be.
My Grandpa Bill and Grandma Ginny!

More to come later. I hope you all are well. Be good and keep in touch!
Erüül mendiin tölöö (Cheers/Good Health)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Set back

I have been medically deferred and will not be going to Mongolia. I will still be serving in the Peace Corps, but not for at least 4 months and most likely not in Mongolia. I developed a blood clot in my leg due to the combination of the birth control I was on and driving to North Carolina with my Grandparents. The party in Rapid City is still on at 1 pm at my mother's house, 508 Robbins Dr. Call me at 605-645-9305 for directions. I am still planning on serving and appreciate everyone's support. Thank you! love, C

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hello Wisconsin!

I am currently in Menomonie, WI for the Upper Midwest Honors Conference, my last Honors Conference of my undergrad career! The conference gave us bright lime green bags, which are atrociously awesome! We are here until Saturday morn and then we are staying Saturday night in the Twin Cities, which should be great. I am presenting on the application process to the Peace Corps! This might get people interested in applying or at least learning more. It was at the National Collegiate Honors Conference in Denver last November where I found out I was nominated for Community Youth Development in Asia/Central Asia. Hopefully, no shocks at this conference!

I getting very excited for graduation and the trip to North Carolina and for San Francisco and for Mongolia. There is a lot to do before leaving, but a lot of what I have planned is exciting.

I am interested to see how my relationships with people survive (or not) with these transitions. I am trying to spend time with my friends and also trying to repair any broken bridges that may have been created over the years. I am also trying to not be over dramatic about leaving. I am not dying, just going away. It is true that I will never be back here and nothing will ever be exactly the same , but paths with the same people or places may cross again.

Someone commented that this could be one of my only opportunities to reinvent myself. I feel reaffirmed in myself that this is not something I want to do. I have toyed with changing what people call me to Caitlin Rose full time, but other than that, I am confortable with who I am. There are qualities I may want to emphasize and others I may want lessen in myself, but I certainly not going to "reinvent" who I am.

For April Fools' Day, I told my parents the Peace Corps moved my leave date up 3 weeks. This wouls mean I would be leaving 1 week after graduation. They both fell for it and mildly freaked out before realizing (with heavy hinting) that I was joking. My father called me a "snot" and my mom told me I was mean. Ahh, success!

I am completely over food poisoning, which is a relief. One of the M18s told me online that it was just good training for when I go to Mongolia. This did not make me feel loads better. I am almost done with my blanket I am crocheting and wonder if I can find yarn in Mongolia. Hmmm, that would be something to do during those long winter days. Other things that I am planning on doing is watching DVDs, (like The West Wing which I got for my birthday and LOTR) reading and writing. I am also hoping to get lots of time riding the short, hairy Mongolian horses!

Well, I am going to go try and find some cheese, this being Wisconsin and all!

Love, C

Friday, March 28, 2008

Back in Brookings

My favorite Chinese restaurant gave me food poisoning. I am so disappointed. If I have to spend that much time being sick, I want to have a better story than "I ate Chinese" to go with it. On the bright side, it was a Chinese restaurant and not a Mongolian Grill, so it could be worse. I think I am going to be ok and I may even want to eat something today.

I finished my French paper and my English paper was postponed until next week! Yea!

One of the M18s (PCVs in the 18th group to go to Mongolia who are already there...I am a M19) posted new pictures on Facebook. It so surreal to think of me being there soon. My cousin Ellie called yesterday and is really excited about the short, wooly Mongolian horses that I will be riding. They are so funny looking and small. I am going to be afraid that I will break them. Honestly, it looks like you could reach the ground with your feet if only you extended your legs.

Gabb (my BFF...heehee) is STILL in Costa Rica (or is it Guatemala...jk) She will be back on Sunday and I cannot wait. I love hearing stories of peoples world travels.

The picture-posting M18 also has a dog, that may be part fox. I would love LOVE love to get a dog while I am in Mongolia. It would help me from being lonely and it would be a great present to a new PCV when I leave.

I am reading The Village of Waiting by George Packer. So far my favorite book about being in the PC has been Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village by Sarah Erdman. That or So You Want To Join The Peace Corps: What to Know Before You Go by Dillon Banerjee which had a lot of practical advise. All of the narrative books about being in the PC I have found are about serving in Africa. What? No Mongolia? Perhaps this is something I should amend...

Monday, March 24, 2008


Today is my last day of Spring Break. It was not nearly productive as I had hoped it would be. I am feeling a little stressed about all I want to accomplish in 68 days before I leave for Mongolia. Perhaps a list would be helpful. These are in no particular order.
-2 papers for French and 1 PowerPoint presentation
-2 papers for Literature, 1 presentation, and 1 course narrative
-Look into taking the GRE and getting grad school credit for the Peace Corps
-Work out more in order to lesson the shock of moving to Mongolia
-Pack or get rid of everything I own
-update my music on my computer and on my iPod
-Learn Mongolian
-Graduate from College

ok, this is totally doable. Doable is not a word you see written often, it just doesn't look right. "Tell me, are your duties doable? What is it that you do do?" On the upside I did finish watching The West Wing, so now I have more time to accomplish the above list. Anyway, I am actually going to start on my paper now. I had to watch a movie called A Day In The Country for this paper by a filmmaker Jean Renoir, who was the son of the artist Pierre Auguste Renoir. It is based on a short story by Guy de Maupassant. The story was good, the movie was bloody brilliant. The only downside was the subtitle were hard to see, but I suppose I should be listening to the French anywho. If you ever get a chance to see it, I would highly recommend it. It is only 37 minutes long and for a movie made in 1937 is more than a little risqué.

Claire (my 7 year sister) just came into the study room I am using at the Rapid City Public Library. She is so cute. The door is too heavy for her and she got a little stuck between it and the frame, almost fell down, gave an exasperated sigh, and went off to play on one of the computers as if nothing had happened . Leaving my family for 27 months is going to really hard, but I have no doubt that it will be worth it.

On to French!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I want to get this blog started before I depart. I have never done this before, but here it goes. Here is a quick catch up as to what has been happening and what the plan is for the future. In August 2007 I applied to the Peace Corps. (hence forth known as PC) On November 1st I was nominated for a Youth Development Program in Asia/Central Asia. This came as a bit of a shock as I had been planning on Africa, but I was excited and began my medical clearance. This was a hugely frustrating experience, but I have now been medically cleared. On February 28th, 2008 I was accepted as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in the Community Youth Development Program as a Life Skills Trainer in Mongolia. MONGOLIA! Today is March 18th. This coming weekend I am in Rapid City for Spring Break. Next weekend I work. The weekend after that I present at the Upper Midwest Honors Conference in Wisconsin. The weekend after that I work. The weekend after that I go on a mini-vaca to Lake Pickerel. The weekend after that I work. The weekend after that I graduate from College!! The next two weekends I will be traveling to North Carolina with my grandparents to see my Uncle Dave, his wife and daughters, the mountains, and the ocean. The weekend after that I pack. The weekend after that I leave for Mongolia. And for the next 108 weekends or so I will be in Mongolia. I guess you could say I have weekend plans.