Being an engineer with Hilti, Linda Nordin took part in one of our capability programs and then decided to work as a Fellow at our learning centers in Mongolia. In numerous blog posts, Linda has written about her experiences. This article she wrote after she had left Mongolia.
Have you seen the movie Yes Man? Where Jim Carrey plays a character that goes from always being negative to certainly say yes to every proposal he gets. I have only seen the movie once and what I remember always saying yes creates some great opportunities but also some bumps on the road for Jim Carrey’s character. Since I only have seen the movie once I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the movie however I would still steal the title, change it slightly, and call myself the Yes Woman! Without being naive I try to say yes and be open to every new opportunity and experience that life brings. Like Pippi Longstocking says “I have never tried before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that”. By saying yes I have the latest year had some incredible unforgettable adventures and I have meet so many wonderful people that I never will forget.
When people ask me how I ended up in Mongolia I usually start my story with telling about my dream to move to Paris. When I was 12 years old I started to study French in school, I thought it was super difficult and I can honestly say that I forgot most of the irregular verbs, potentially all the irregular verbs that I tried to memorize way to many times. Even so studying French created the dream to move to Paris. After graduating at University and starting working life as an engineer my team leader in Sweden asked me if I was interested in moving and working abroad. I said yes and I told him about my dream to move to Paris and spend every Sunday reading a book in a park with the Eiffel Tour as background. However since I never learned how to actually have a conversation in French my team leader said no and offered me to move to rainy Manchester instead. I didn’t know anything about Manchester only that they have two football teams and that the weather is famous for being terribly grey, rainy and boring, so not very close to my romantic Paris dream. Even if 10 minutes after the meeting with my team leader I decided to say yes and a few months later I was moving to Manchester. Manchester is actually a great place and today it is one of my favorite cities, even if it is true that it rains a lot.
My story then continues with me doing some extra work on a Friday evening in my cold Manchester apartment. Scrolling through the company’s intranet I saw an advert about joining the BOOKBRIDGE Capability program and travel to Mongolia where the last application day was the following morning. I really didn’t know anything about Mongolia but I really love travelling and was ready for an adventure, so I set my alarm to wake up early the following day and write my application letter. The letter got me to an interview but unfortunately I didn’t pass the interview. A few months later I was travelling in the US with my sister and two friends. Just before boarding the flight from New York to San Francisco in the late evening I decided to quickly check my work email and I was very lucky to find an email saying that one of the persons whom got accepted to join the capability program had decided to not the join program and there was now an open spot for me. I answered directly and said Yes, I want to join.
3.5 years later I just finished my second travel to Mongolia which this time lasted for 11 months instead of 10 days. I call myself Chinggis Khans grand grand grand grand grand grand something daughter and I’m sure I’m at least 50% Mongolian. During my time in Mongolia I´ve been working with 4 different learning centers and lived in 4 different Mongolian cities, I have visited another 3 learning centers, I have been joining the BOOKBRIDGE All Staff Training, a Mongolian scout camp and BOOKBRIDGE summer camp. I was very lucky to have 4 great friends over from Sweden discovering Mongolia with me for 2 weeks. I celebrated teacher’s day, Christmas, New Year, Mongolian Lunar New Year, my birthday, Women’s day, Children’s day and the Nadaam festival. I’ve been visiting Mongolian herders living the nomadic life style herding sheep, goats, cows, horses, camels and even reindeers. I’ve been riding Mongolian horses, camels and reindeers. I’ve been climbing sand dunes and been amazed by the Mongolian landscape countless of times. But the best part of all is all the people I meet whom have welcomed me to their communities and to their homes, all the students who have allowed me to discover “Linda the English teacher” and all the friends I have made. Moving to Mongolia is one of the best decisions I have made this far and I can’t wait to be back, I don’t know when but I’m 100% sure that I will come back.
I’m writing this blogpost from Batticaloa DreamSpace BOOKBRIDGE learning center. I arrived to Sri Lanka 5 days ago and will spend the 3 following months discovering, for me, a new country, a new culture and make new friends. I will continue to say yes to any new experience and opportunity I will find and I will continue to call myself the Yes Woman. Saying good bye in Mongolia was very hard with a lot of tears. I believe saying good bye should be easier the more you do it, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. I want to finish this blogpost with one of my favorite quote by Miriam Adeney “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”. Mongolia definitely has a piece of my heart and I hope to leave a piece of my heart in Sri Lanka as well. Thanks for reading and I will be back soon sharing about my BOOKBRIDGE experience in Sri Lanka!