A final bit of sightseeing.
I wanted to squeeze in one final blog entry before leaving Mongolia and I was happy to do this as I thought my last one was blog number 33. As I like even numbers I figured one more would even it up! Sadly I miscalculated and I have already done 34 entries making this number 35. Yes 35, I can’t believe it has been that many either. However much it pains me to finish on an odd number it has to be done because I haven’t said everything I want to yet. To be honest there is probably more than 1 blog about Mongolia left in me and many things I could write about linked to my time here but as far away as it once seemed in less than 24 hours I will be on a plane out of here. Although I have been packing and sorting for weeks I still feel like I am surrounded by more things than will physically fit in the number of suitcases we have so writing a blog is a welcome distraction. The children have been getting cabin fever. We have had our last swim about 3 times and were going to let them run off some steam at the posh Shangri La indoor play centre yesterday, that was until the BBC were actually right with their weather forecast and finally we had some rain. And boy did it rain, the water was gushing in muddy rivers down the mountainside onto the main road, it was hailing and falling from the sky like cats and dogs, the lightning flashed across the city and thunder crashed just when you thought it was calming down again. So we went for a final swim to pass the time! Strange seeing that much rain and grey skies as it has not rained properly since September – it reminded us what it’s like to be back in England.
What will I miss . . .
Friends, the blue sky, the cost of dining out, the quiet of the countryside, the challenge of my job, having no direct debits, a simple life, great work life balance, having no coins, my one minute commute.
What won’t I miss . . .
Buuz, the board of directors, crazy driving, the cold, 10 days of no hot water every spring, 8 months of constant heating, children’s shoe shopping, people who can’t queue, people hawking and then spitting, the pollution, frozen eyelashes.
This blog is also an opportunity to share some photos of our last weekend at Ayanchin when we took in the beauty and the peace of Mongolia one final time. Whilst sitting on the hills Pete and I thought about our decision to move back to England. It was as hard as the decision to come here. I have struggled this year with teaching. I do enjoy moments of it but I feel that I need something else. That’s hard to recognise when everyone around you tells you what an amazing teacher you are and how good you are at your job. I know I am good at it and I loved the management side of it (most of the time) but to be honest I am a bit bored of being in the classroom. I guess my international adventure is coming to an end and I feel the need for a new challenge. There are so many positives to being an expat but overall the lure of home for me this year has been stronger. For Pete, I think he could continue on the international circuit for several more years – now you see why the decision was so tough. Now we are nearly returning home and have no jobs to return to the uncertainty has kicked in, we almost ended up signing for jobs in Cairo a few weeks ago. We have had an amazing time that us and the children could never have experienced if we stayed in Deal.
It has given us a taste of living the expat life and part of us yearns to continue with the travel and the adventure but for me the pull of creating a nest has been stronger this year. Having said that the closer we get to returning home, the more apprehensive we have become, yes we have a house to return to and yes we have managed to get 2 out of 3 children to the school we want, Seb will have to wait until September to find out, yes we have plenty of family and friends who are counting down to our return but we don’t know what we will be doing in September and however much I talk about a book, that’s just a personal challenge, not a way to pay the mortgage. We have a few ideas but having experienced what we have here, we feel that there will be an inevitable period of adjustment, the children will be fine, they know we won’t be able to go out for a meal, go for coffee and get a take away every weekend but Pete and I are now feeling the pressure of our English life creeping up on us.
Anyhow, with all that uncertainty I guess that means the next few months will still provide me with plenty of blog writing ideas and opportunities. This is not my final blog ever, just my final blog in Mongolia. I have enjoyed using my creativity in a new form. When I return to the UK, aswell as working on my book I am intending to reignite my crafty creative side, not sure on what with yet but hey, before coming here I didn’t think I’d ever run a half marathon or write a book and with one of those ticked off and the other well on the way I figure anything can happen.
Before our return we have a month in Australia, the holiday of a lifetime, a chance to catch up with a couple of old friends and a chance to share a country we love with our amazing children. They have adapted so well to all the difficulties and challenges thrown at them in the last 2 years and I couldn’t be more proud of how they have taken it all in their stride. Australia for a month would never have been possible without Mongolia for 2 years. The children know that, they have become accustomed to their lifestyle but are also yearning life back at home. We know we could have persuaded them to move on somewhere else but the decision is made and we are going to embrace all that is thrown at us and just view it as part of life’s adventure.
To quote myself from September “We know that it would be easy to move back home but how would we feel once we’d been back a week, a month, a year? Would I yearn for more adventure or settle back into the old, familiar, comforting routines? We are determined that whether we have another 10 months or 10 years of international teaching in us, we make the most of every minute.” We are now on the cusp of that move back home and know that we have truly made the most of every moment here.
So goodbye Mongolia, you have been amazing, a truly unique and special adventure.