Bayarlaala hugshuuns

And so my Mongolian adventure is over… for now. I have been back in Australia for five days. Lots of thoughts, observations, mixed emotions and a sensory overload (I thought my first trip to Woolworths would last about six hours… but after five minutes, I just had to get out of there. Too many bright lights, choice and labels I could actually read… where’s the fun in understanding the hair dye instructions?). Perhaps I’ll share some of those thoughts on Shantasia. Maybe I’ll keep the blog going just long enough for Craig’s return to Australia. Or maybe it’ll live on for a bit longer than that. Who knows. It’s not like I’ve been very dedicated to updating it over the past few months years. Wow, time really does fly when you’re living in Mongolia.

But, in the meantime, I have been asked by a few people to share my farewell speech that I made at my UB party on 19 April. I thought it apt to do so here. As an aside: what a party! I still can’t believe my team sang my personal theme song to me: “Let It Be”. If I can ever track down the video, it’ll be one to share.

But, I digress… here is the speech:

Kai brought me out to Mongolia almost three years to the day. He’d been working here, on a different project, for just under a year, and he wanted me to see the Mongolia he had come to love.

We spent most of the time in the countryside, but ended the trip here in UB, staying at the fine establishment… the Bayangol.

And I remember looking out the window, and I said to him, and this is the censored, PG version: “It’s quite nice, but I couldn’t live here”.

So, two months later, he comes home and says, “yeah, about not living in Mongolia. You’re cool if we do, right? Because I got another job there, and it means we have to live there.”

“Yeah, no”… I told him. Again, censored version.

So then he did this thing that really irritates me. Actually, many of you do it too, and you need to know, it pisses me off: he tried to reason with me. 

“But the people. You’ll love them. And you already have a friend there – Batbold. The land. You’ll love it. It’s a lot like where you grew up in Australia. The cold weather. Ok, so maybe not the cold weather, but after the first winter, it’ll get easier, I promise.”

“The first f&%king winter? How f&%king long are we f&%king staying, Kai?!”

So, after carrying on like a princess for a bit, I packed my bags and over we came. I came here with no real plans. Just see where life would take me.

And this is where life took me. With a retrospective bucket list that is so incredible, that I’m pretty sure people back home won’t believe me.

But I know all of you get it, so here’s just a few of the many, many highlights from my retrospective bucket list from the past 2.5 years:

  • We’ll start with the obvious: Work on a $6.2 billion mine site in the middle of the freaking Gobi Desert. As in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Check.
  • Fire an RPG and an AK47. Hell yeah, check!
  • Find my one true love in life. No Baika, it’s not you… it’s Prada. Check.
  • Find my second true love in life. Still not you Baika… it’s karaoke. Check.
  • Rescue an abandoned dog from the airport, and still hope to this day that her family wasn’t inside waiting for grandma to come home from Moscow. Check.
  • Hold the world record for the longest notice period after resigning. What can I say? I’m an over achiever. Check.
  • Go to a board meeting with Batman, and… well, anyway, thanks for having my back up there, Batman. Check.
  • Establish a writing club where we drink more than we write. Absolutely we did that. It’s called every day after work, right Dom? Check.
  • Punch… Ivan… in… the… face. Check. (you’re all welcome).

Now, you all know this gunjee (princess – for those playing at home) is rarely wrong. And most of you know that when it comes to Kai, I am almost never wrong. In fact, I can’t think of a time when I have been. So, because Kai isn’t here tonight, and I know I can trust all of you not to tell him… this is going to hurt… he was right.

I do love the people here. You guys. The last 2.5 years. What we’ve shared. The support you’ve given me through the disappointments… the frustrations… the challenges… it’s a list as tall as Plumma. But there’s an even taller list with the triumphs… the wins… the high fives and the hugs we’ve shared. You have all had an extraordinary impact on me. And, as cliché as this sounds, I know that I leave here a better person than what I was 2.5 years to ago… thanks to every one of you… well, maybe not Kern. Anyway, I don’t want to get all sentimental, because I’ve just had my eyelashes done, and as much as you all mean to me, you gotta protect the lashes… right Leah? But I guess all that’s left to say is, from the bottom of my heart:

Bayarlaala hugshuuns