26 November 2007

gotta add this one from the road

sorry to go back on my word, but this has gotta go up.

checking my email on the street in Berlin, I found this news item and rejoiced.

as I'm an RPCV, I can finally say something political...but I'll let the picture speak for me.

16 November 2007

The "R"

So it's all official. The paperwork is handed in. Most of the goodbyes have been said.

We've been showered with gifts and kind words. It's been hard to know what to feel, happy and sad, relieved and surprised, hesitant and ready. Mostly, I feel ready.

Thanks to those of you who kept in touch. Your words of support and your interest in our lives here were always bright spots in my sometimes challenging days. I hope we were able to paint some pictures of life in Ukraine for you, and somewhat increase your understanding of this part of the world.

I am proud of finishing. I couldn't have done it alone. I have been touched by many incredible people along this journey, and supported by many more at home. I have gained valuable experience that I will carry with me. I'm looking forward to readjusting to life at home and finding out what aspects of this adventure I'm going to miss.

Love from Ukraine!



we'll make this a joint post as our last post from the good ole ukraine. we'll continue the blog at home for a little while--highlighting the differences in culture, our readjustment, and detailing some of the things about Peace Corps Ukraine / Ukraine that we couldn't talk about while serving--and then shut it down.

so, we're rpcvs now. what a hell of a long initiation process (stole that from another rpcv) to get into the club. two years of slogging through another culture, language, and worldview. it opened my mind though and, in a way, opened my heart. and, at the same time, service in Ukraine hardened my heart (my friends at home will have to help me be friendly and optimistic again as pessimism and rudeness have been some of my most surefire tools of survival).

things i miss that i'm looking forward to:

laughing out loud in public. (karen and i did this yesterday and it felt SO GOOD.)



things that i'll miss here:



verenyky with cherries and sour cream and sugar!!!

living in a beautiful, historic city

it's been an amazingly short--and, at the same time, amazingly long--two years of service. i dreamed of being a PCV for a good chunk of my life. and, for these two plus years, i dreamed of being an RPCV. now that i am, i have few adequate words to describe it. basically, i feel ready.

ready for my next challenge and ready to go home and understand this previous challenge.

thank you to ukraine for all of the memories. thank you to all of my students, host families and friends for all of the good memories. you made these two years worthwhile. everytime you smiled or said "thank you" or asked a good qustion, you made me feel happy.

good luck to oleh, levko, and dima on FLEX round 2! and good luck to Marta in everything! you're my stars and were the light of my two years in ukraine!

peace out for the final final from ukraine,

RPCV Ukraine 05-07

13 November 2007

"so long"

so long to Casey...see you in the States buddy.

it was Bandera's first 'first snow' in Ukraine on Monday 12 November
and it was our last 'first snow' in Ukraine

six days.

damn right we're counting.

11 November 2007

well oh so very well

had our give-away party last night. lots of people from our oblast came and took all of our (plus Casey's and Shelley's) stuff. the first round of give-away was a free for all, take what you like kind of affair. the second round was a white elephant (yankee swap!) giveaway for the big items (speakers and the DVD Bonanza among others). a good time was had by all. some people did have a difficult time understanding what RSVP and BYOB means. college anyone?

we're down to eight days. today is casey's last day in l'viv. gonna miss that guy, but we'll see him again in the states.

hope you are all well as karen and i do our final packing and end this chapter of our lives!

09 November 2007

Becoming Women

My most interesting conversations and experiences in Ukraine have occurred with the girls who regularly attend my English Club. They are the ones who were self-motivated enough to take time out of their busy schedules to practice English. They even came to our Club during the summer, when they could have been relaxing with their friends.

I will miss our conversations and our projects, their amazement at the things I tell them about life in the US. They listen attentively and write everything down, from inspirational quotes to silly slang words.

These young women are kind and motivated. They are beautiful and intelligent. They want to improve their lives and their country, and are just learning how to take the first steps in this process. They continually impress me with their strength and compassion, and I am so proud of who they are becoming.

They thank me for believing in them, though they've never given me a reason not to. I know they will have many successes and create new and exciting opportunities for themselves. I believe so strongly in their futures, and I look forward to our continued correspondence.


I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter,
but, past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor—
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
weathered basket.

I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing-up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons
and sunrises.

I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
yet not at all scarce—
who knows she is plenty,
plenty to share.

--Jayne Relaford Brown