September 30, 2009

What Do I Think?

It isn’t every day that your favorite person, famous or not, asks you for advice. Or is it? What if someone you really admire, or an organization that you absolutely love, or someone really important that you would least expect it to come from, asks you what you think? Would you be ready?

For me I really admire the Dalai Lama and Barack Obama, absolutely love the United Nations and Peace Corps, and would least expect my supervisors at work to ask me what I think or what advice I could give to them. In the last month, 3 out of the 5 thought to ask my opinion (directly or indirectly) and I have been very excited and nervous to give it to them. My Peace Corps headquarters asked me a few weeks ago to write an introductory note to incoming Volunteers that will arrive next year, the United Nations just opened up a video contest to share advice with world leaders and my new Hospital Director just came to me today and said, “Could you please help me, I would like your advice on how to become a better leader?” No one of these tasks is something I take lightly, I care about each one deeply and want to do my very best so I am taking plenty of time to think them over. And just for the record, Dalai Lama and Barack Obama, if you guys want to join in don't worry, I have time for you too. Just saying…

September 27, 2009

Two Roads

In addition to having an incredible time at home in America during the month of May to be in my sister's wedding I had the unique opportunity to return home to Mongolia and share those experiences with my closest friends and counterparts. I shared pictures, explained why we do the things we do and maybe most interestingly I talked about what it was like for me to be in America, the land I grew up in, and yet not feel completely at home. Being in Mongolia has taught me a tremendous amount about who I am and who I am becoming. I, though an American, am distancing myself from my home culture and instead defining myself by my values and my humannesss rather than my nationality.

Recently while driving hours through the countryside with two of my closest counterparts, Altansuvd and Saradunai, to pick up stones for our massage path in our recent outdoor park project at the hospital we started talking about what our names mean. My name means, "a fork in the road," I explained to them, "a place where one road turns into two." When they asked why that was my name I said I didn't know, but maybe because before I only had one road in my life, one way of looking at things. Now I have two, one American road and one Mongolian road. They smiled and laughed. "We're glad you have two roads now," they said, "we feel very lucky you are here with us in Mongolia." I smiled too. I feel the same way.