31 January 2006


Somewhere between two places, we are airborne.

This time at home has allowed me to reflect on the positive things, the simplicity, that I am growing to love about Ukraine.

And when in Ukraine, I was remembering fondly all of the advantages and conveniences of life in the U.S.

When fully immersed in one or the other, it's easy to become frustrated by the day-to-day challenges. When far away from either I find myself focusing on the good.

Today we are somewhere in the middle.

22 January 2006


Is how many times a day I think about her.
Is how many times a second I wish she were still here.
Is how many warm memories I have every moment I think of her.
Is how many kisses I wish I could still give her.

Is how many wonderful years she had lived.

My grandmother was an amazing, strong, beautiful, unique woman who I wish you could have met.

Who I wish I could have met again when I came home.

Who I wish everyday that I could see again.

14 January 2006


Apparently i've been sending my blog updates to the wrong address!  Here's an update from several weeks ago!
I'm glad to be writing to you all.  It's been quite a while since I've
been able to send an update. Karen and I are settled into our new site
in the Northwest of Ukraine. We are speaking a lot of Ukrainian here,
and we are learning some Russian along the way.

Our new host family is nice.  The house is small, but comfortable.
There isn't a lot of room for our stuff (and we togther have less
stuff than many single volunteers do), but we'll make due for three
months.  We are located on a road that I used to dream about, so I
feel comfortable that this is a good place for us.  And the host
mother, who works at the local hospital, calls me Laren.  Those of you
who confuse my name and Karen's name will find humour in this.  The
host family is very nice.  The food is very good.  The host daughter
speaks very good English, but only speaks Ukrainian with us.  We are
happy to be where we are.

We spent a week in Kyiv after we left our previous city. We didn't see
much besides the poorly illuminated walls of the Santitorium Prolisok.
 We were glad to see our friends, some of whom we dearly miss now, but
we weren't sad to leave that building.  Of course, we'll be going back
there soon for a language refresher in Feb.

It's cold here.


I just want to emphasize that. Ice on the road and all.  Ever walked
on ice--some of you surely have.  If not, go to your local ice skating
rink, put on some boots (no fair cheating with skates!) and take a few
steps forward.  Fun, eh?  Now, do it all the way across town!  Yes,
not so fun anymore, eh?

Life is good here, and we are doing fine.  We miss our families over
the holidays, but, then again, we miss our families everyday. We are
settling in here near the Belarus border--hoping we don't accidently
cross it--and finding that work at our sites will be fun and
challenging. Our coordinators are nice. Every woman we meet wants to
be our mother.  Those of you who know how well I work with being told
what to do will find this especially funny.  But, it's also nice. Nice to be taken care. Nice to be
worried for.

We spent Christmas on a train.  That was not so bad as we were able to
talk to our families back at home.  Thank god for cell phones in Peace
Corps.  Lucky us.  We also played cribbage on the train with some
fellow volunteers.  I 15-2'ed all up in that mother.

To end, I want to wish all who read this, and everyone you know, a
very merry holiday season.  I'll share one last thing before i go:

ukrayinska jittya

Or: Ukrainian Life.

Whenever somethign happens that didn't go quite according to plan,
everyone says, "That's Ukrainian Life!"  Missed the bus?  That's
Ukrainian life. Fell on the ice? That's Ukrainian life.  Walk into
your house and find men you didn't expect to see building a new door?

You guessed it: That's Ukrainian life.

Until next time, pohkah.

Old/New Year

A few of our previous posts didn't go through, so we'll have to get you up to speed.

We are getting settled in our permanent town. It's smaller than where we lived during training, but grows on me more each day. We've made friends with some of the shop ladies and the woman at the bank who understands when we try to explain our transactions. People have been welcoming and patient.

An interesting note on people's obsession with feeding us here...they adopt the "do as I say, not as I do" policy. They continuously say "eat, eat," "it's necessary to try everything," "you haven't eaten anything," and we are chowing down Thanksgiving-style, while others are sitting there with maybe a few bites of salad or potatoes on their plate. No fair! Some people don't seem to realize that when I'm hungry...I eat. And when I'm full, I usually stop. We've also discovered it's not good to call them out on the fact that THEY'RE not eating anything. That would be too logical. ;)

We've been overwhelmed with your mail. Christmas cards, postcards, etc. Thank you so much! If you don't have our new address, check your email, or let us know and we'll send it again.

No reliable access to internet yet in town. So this will be sporadic, at best.

Happy New Year! (it's old new year here now...long history, different calendars...)

We'll try to get some photos out to you soon.