November 18, 2009

A Life Worth Writing About

Movies and books are well and good, but I’m interested in something more. I don’t want to just watch movies about amazing people, I want to be one of those amazing people. I don’t want to just read biographies about incredible lives, I want to live a life worth writing a biography about.

I have often thought about that, seeing how popular shows can become and how incredible movies can make things seem. We love to see actors and actresses become the people they portray. We see in them incredible examples of courage and love, disaster and strength, beauty and triumph and we sit in awe. But it’s when we stand and walk out of the theater or away from the couch, that’s when we should be in awe. We can make our lives like that right now, we can do those things and be those people. We are those people, that potential - those adventures are within our grasp. Becoming committed to being great, to writing that next great chapter in our human story, that's something we can all do. Lots of people are going to read it, but it's up to us to write it.

November 15, 2009

Happy and Waiting

Sometimes when speaking Mongolian I don't know how to say complex words. Recently one such word was "patience." As I often do, I combined words I did know how to say to talk around the word I was thinking of, "It's like waiting," I said in Mongolian, "but being happy while you wait."

As I said this to Tunga, who immediately caught on and said the Mongolian word for "patience" which I promptly forgot, I thought about how much I liked that definition. I grew up learning that "being patient" was something I had to do until I got what I wanted. "Be patient," someone older would say. "Yeah, okay, as long as you give me that Egon action figure afterward!" I would patiently retort. This new definition of mine doesn't fit that though. Being happy while you wait isn't about getting what I want at all, it's about being happy with whatever I have. Egon or not, maybe patience I think doesn't come from a store. Maybe patience, perhaps, means a little bit more.

November 12, 2009

Peace Corps + Merit Badges

After months of preparation, with dozens of people from around the world reviewing and adding to the project, we finally launched today as a public service project which combines the famous idea of merit badges with the very unique experiences of Peace Corps Volunteers.

The idea of Peace Corps Merit Badges has been tossed around by people for a long time, but Ridge and I decided to take it a step further and really try to make it happen. We knew that there were talented people in Mongolia who could embroider badges for us, so it came down to us doing all the other work to make it happen (design, communication, leadership, promotion, payment, shipment and so on). It was harder than it looked at first, but we are pretty excited with where we are right now. Our first batch of badges is being made and we hope to unveil them around Thanksgiving here in the capital, right before our newest Volunteers have their IST conference.

Our project's commitments will always be the improvement of our host country, volunteer happiness and sharing experiences. We believe this project can do a lot of good for a lot of people and we are excited to share it with all of our current and past Peace Corps Volunteers here in Mongolia, not to mention those who will be here this summer before we know it! Also as a nifty little bonus, we made a Facebook application to share the badges online before you order them in person. Cool huh?!