31 August 2005


And the countdown reaches 1 month.

It's my turn to weigh in. DING (the bell)! Just so you all know that Larry's not the only one getting excited.

I've bought some boots from LL Bean. They should arrive soon. They seem warm and comfy, but we'll see.

We're on the first leg of the Bon Voyage Tour, to Joy and Odette's tonight and then heading up to see Larry's family tomorrow. It will be our first big goodbye. The Going Away party should be fun though. Greg and Anne will be there, along with George and Donna. Hooray! Hopefully I won't be too allergic to Foxy.

Things that I'm getting most excited about:
1) Having my first conversation in my (soon-to-be) 3rd language
2) Salty bread at the welcome ceremony
3) Learning customs and superstitions
4) Being cold (that will last about 5 minutes)
5) Receiving mail from the U.S!
6) Meeting adventurous new friends

Time for Joy to make us some dinner....mmmm!

30 August 2005

passin go and collectin two bills

Dental clearance!

No more holds!

I'm rich, biatch!

29 August 2005


In 1967, Robert F. Kennedy, in the course of a campaign speech, said the following about measuring value:

"Our gross national product, now, is over eight hundred billion dollars a year, but that GNP - if we should judge America by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder to chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and speck's knife and the television programs, which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children."

"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, nor the quality of their education, or the joy of their play - it does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages or the intelligence of our public debate. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud to be Americans."

28 August 2005


Back from Yosemite. What an amazing trip. We climbed to the top of Vernal Falls, the Sentinel Dome, and went down to the base of Yosemite Falls. We also stayed up late one night and went to a star show in the valley. We camped in the North Pines grounds, so we had a good view of Half Dome for almost all of our trip. It had been two years since I'd been to Yosemite. Oh how I missed it.



Trying to sell the Nova. not having so much luck so far. Maybe soon? Headed up to HumCo again on Thursday. Would really like to have it sold by then.

Having a going away party at my parent's house on Labor Day. Friends and family and beer and washers--If you don't know how to play washers, I'll show you if we meet in Ukr. What more could one want?

Just realized today--don't know why I didn't notice sooner--that our anniversary date is the same number as our Ukraine group.



Also, my Mom's 48th falls on the day of our swearing in. My last day as a Peace Corps volunteer--bar injury--will land on her 50th.

What a present for her!

Lastly, writing that piece for Perigee is harder than I thought. It's been a while since I've picked up a pen with any real intent, so the doubt--Lamott's "KFKD"--blaring at 10 in my head.

Bah...more planning for class to do.

25 August 2005


It's so close, but I'm finding that I'm giving it relatively little attention.

Too busy travelling and working, but I know it's creeping up.

In fact, I think I'm aware of it enough to know that I'm probably avoiding looking at that little countdown clock in the corner.

Off to my favorite place on Earth tomorrow with my favorite person on Earth (sorry Justin): Yosemite & Karen.

19 August 2005


FedExed the confirmation of completed crown and filling work.

Ready to get dentally cleared a second time.

That or scream a lot--right here.

Stay tuned. Same bat-time, yadda yadda.

let's do the time warp again

Just for the record, I can't even believe it's 18 August.
This month has freakin' flown.
Home in HumCo getting the crown on my right middle molar. Then it'll be back to Monterey.
Monday, I get to see my beautiful wife again.
That Friday: Yosemite.
The following Wednesday: back to HumCo.
September will be here before I know it; I'll be 24 before I can adequately reflect on being 23.  Then we'll be gone.
It still seems like so far away, though I know it isn't.
I'm getting to the point where I wish i could do the time warp dance and slow the clock down. I'm really going to miss everyone.
le sigh....

17 August 2005

do meni

So, Gmail just added the ability to switch all of the text (except for email text) into Ukrainian.

I don't think you needed any further proof of how amped (or sad or nerdy) I am to be learning a new language, but there you go.

15 August 2005

it's my birthday...early!

Such good news today.

First, I flew back from SD this morn'. Saw the in-law folken and all that. I had a good time, though for one of the days I was pretty silent--something I'm usually not. Usually I open mouth and think of things later; there, I think a long time before I say anything. I guess I'm afraid of saying the wrong thing--dunno why.  I love her 'rents.  Anyway, I'm not used to thinking so hard when I speak, so I usually say nothing. Not good with 46 days left. Next trip, I'll talk--all else be damned.

Next, Jocelyn, this girl from our group, turns out I've met her before.  She worked for Concordia Language Villages the same year I did--check me out in this CLV video http://clvweb.cord.edu/prweb/english/video/elv_lg.mov (high-bandwidth only); I'm the sexy red-head with the crappy guitar. She was with the Russian village we trained with. Small f'in world.

Further, Perigee wrote back.  The text of their letter:

Dear Lawrence,

Thanks for thinking of Perigee as a venue for your non-fiction, and for your proposal. After some discussion, all the editors agree this sounds like a viable recurring contribution to Perigee. More than that, something which will interest our readers.

So we are interested in taking this to the next level--and if all goes well, establishing your Peace Corps writings as a regular part of Perigee--under the understanding that Perigee reserves the right to edit the work (we would communicate with you during this process) and even to decline it. This will be particularly true with the first "installment."

Keep in mind that we have found prose longer than 3,500 words to be difficult to present in an online fashion; this word limit is flexible (for you), but we suggest you consider it.

The editors normally meet three to four weeks before an issue is released. We would need to have your writing in our hands prior to this meeting. The time frame of deadlines would therefore be September 15th, December 15th, March 15th, and June 15th.

If all of this sounds reasonable to you, let me know so we can look forward to receiving your first installment.

And congratulations on embarking on this new and exciting journey!

Kind Regards,

Robert Judge Woerheide

Perigee Editor in Chief



Jesus jumping Christmas, such a day!

Lastly, they've just released Gmail in Ukrainian. It's all Cyrillic on my screen.

I know, I can't read it very well yet....


11 August 2005

class, class, and lonely planet

Overstock.com has the new Lonely Planet Ukraine guide on the cheap. It's a really good guide; probably the best one I've read. Or maybe the only one I've read--I never really "read" the others, just used them as a, surprise, guide.

Ukrainian is coming along nicely. My students at the DLI say I'm in a good position to remember the new language simply because I am younger than they are. They like to bring my age up at least once a week. Doesn't bother me cuz the class is going fantastically.

My ESL class up near Santa Cruz ends tomorrow. Graduation and tears. These girls make up the best class I've ever had.


We had a portfolio party today--Peter S. would have been so proud. All eight students got to show off the work they've done during the summer semester. I am so proud of them.

Tomorrow: CinderReiLa--a play of Cinderella starring Rei and the rest of the class.

Back to PC, we received a list of Ukraine 29 email addresses today. There's something like 109 people signed up and ready to go to Ukraine with us.

The group is making to be the biggest in PC history.

Still waiting to hear from Perigee about doing a quarterly non-fiction piece for them about my experiences in Ukraine.

The fingers are slammed together, hoping they say yes.

50 days left!

08 August 2005

independent since 1981

Reading a new blog Karen pointing me toward, I tripped over these lines:

"I must be like a turtle- and not be afraid to wave my legs wildly if I flip over! This is hard for us independent Americans who would like to feel that we are strong enough to handle things on our own."

I never really thought that the American tendency towards independence--which I most certainly embody in every way I can think of--would be tested in Ukraine. I guess with all the advice, the packing lists, the preparations, and the history, I never really stopped to think about how a key--and well loved--piece of my personality might affect my cross-cultural experience.


07 August 2005

no definite article

I read an article about Ukraine from my daily Google alert.

It was all about the Ukraine.




Soviet era behind us, the collective American conscience still clings to the definite article.

I tried to write a letter to the editor of that newspaper, but it bounced back. Apparently, they dislike constructive criticism.

In other news, Karen had completed her last teaching job before we hit the Peace Corps. I'm still working on both of mine, but my biggest ends on Friday. Once Friday is done, we're headed to San Diego to see the family. Then the weekends we sat down and planned for six weeks ago start hitting. Between visiting nearly everyone we know, buying stuff for Ukraine, selling everything else we own, and packing we'll be just as busy as we've been over the past five weeks.

Only this time, with more fun.

Not that teaching isn't fun.

But fun is funner or, as Karen says, "More fun."

02 August 2005

lemme tell you about some bs

In case you hear in the news that the law that allows military personnel to serve in the Peace Corps was unknown to the entire Peace Corps organization, I just want you to know that that line is



Karen and I knew about this deal over two months ago, and we aren't privy to information PC brass like Vasquez isn't. We're the peons entering this goddamned organization, remember?

Military in the Peace Corps makes Karen and I LESS SAFE.

And I'm not just saying this cuz I'm not a fan of the president of the USA.

Host country nationals already suspect PC volunteers as military or intelligence operatives. This action makes it worse.

Join with me; write your senator. Tell them that Peace Corps needs to maintain the seperation from the military and intelligence communities that Kennedy intended when he created the Peace Corps.

Here's the links:

To listen to the news report: http://marketplace.publicradio.org

To read the news report: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/01/AR2005080101310.html

Locate contact info for your congressional rep:

For your Senator:

I don't usually implore people to run with my politics, but I am now.

Write and help keep us safe.

01 August 2005

Enchantment of the World

I've picked up a great book called "Ukraine: Enchantment of the World." It's aimed at teens, but much more my style than the long, dry history books Larry goes after. This book has pictures and everything!

Some things I've learned so far from my new book:

-CDs and ice cream cones are much cheaper in Ukraine than the U.S. (except for maybe in Kiev)
-About 20% of Ukrainians work on farms
-Their major crop is sugar beets, with potatoes and wheat close behind
-Ukraine is the largest European country, slightly larger than France
-Ukraine's name comes from the Slavic word okraina, meaning "borderland"
-People have lived in Ukraine for about 150,000 years
-Ukraine has 24 regions called oblasts and one autonomous republic (Crimea)
-Soccer is the national sport of Ukraine, its first match was in 1894
-Ukrainian weddings can last 3 or more days
-Ukraine celebrates International Women's Day in March
-Average temperature extremes: 18 degrees F in January, 77 degrees F in July

Larry and I try to study some Ukrainian in the evenings. We've both got the alphabet down, and are learning greetings and emergency words. The pronunciation can be tricky, especially the backwards "N" sound.

Happy studying! About 2 months left!