Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lessons Learned

I’ve now been at my office for just under a month. The first two weeks were hard. Everyone in my office but me is Mongolian, and while they all speak English, there are varying degrees of fluency. Also, they’ve never had a non-native working here before, and so even though we’re part of an international NGO, it took them a while to figure out what to do with me. In the beginning too, I brought lunch every day in an attempt to save money to travel.

Then, one day, I went out to lunch with a group of co-workers and my whole world changed. Suddenly, I was part of the group. And being part of the group meant being in on the jokes, finding out who had boyfriends, who didn’t, where the good clothing stores were, and where the good restaurants were that only locals know about. What’s more, becoming friends with my co-workers during lunch meant that, at work, they respected me more and gave me more to do. For the past few days, I’ve actually been overworked, which is awesome.

Also, through the Human Rights conference I went to for work, I met one of the Australians that I now hang out with all the time. She works for a Mongolian NGO too, and while there’s one other American that works in her office (sometimes) she’s essentially in the same boat I am, which is great, because we can give each other tips and the people we work with can laugh about us together.

Yesterday, while I was walking home from dropping a friend off at the train station, I saw a non-Mongolian girl, about my age, painting numbers on the sidewalk. She was Russian, and knew about as much English as I do Mongolian. But we spent about a half an hour trying to chat in this crazy English/Mongolian/Russian hybrid that neither of us really understood, and we had a great time. It turns out she works at the Russian school, and classes start tomorrow, so she was painting the class numbers where the kids will line up outside. She invited me to come by tomorrow morning at 11 to meet all the kids. And, just then, talking to her, I decided that everything here would be alright.


At 7:24 PM, Blogger samraat said...


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