Lessons Learned & Winter Wonderland Fun

And yes I got some great photos of the winter wonderland fun!

The first snow of the year was today and yes I got some great photos of the winter wonderland fun!

The 44th group of volunteers to work in Ukraine were sworn in a few days ago(And yay! Another volunteer will also be working in my town). The whole thing seems a little surreal- I’m from the 42nd group of volunteers to work in Ukraine.

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So, it has really been a year. Wow.

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A year since I got to say this cool pledge:
I, Kimberly—-, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge my duties in the Peace Corps.

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A year since, I pledged my commitment to the Peace Corp.’s mission in Ukraine.
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A year since, I was with all — of my fellow volunteers in the 42nd group that came to Ukraine in that tiny suburb of Kyiv.

After 3 months of full cultural/language immersion- that tested me so hard. It almost broke me.

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A year full of ups, and downs. Lessons learned through trial and error… only to find myself now a year into service in the place I always wanted to be in– with just the right/healthy amount of optimism.

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And yes it’s snowing!

And yes it's snowing!

And even though I’m a Texan, and living in a community with no gas heating… I’m OK with that.

The boys used the first ice patch they could find to slide down our school's tiny hill.

The boys used the first ice patch they could  find to slide down our school’s tiny hill.

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When the Peace Corps. asked me to serve in Ukraine… I thought I was sent here just to teach.
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It took me a year to realize that while I was sent here to teach…
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What I’m really here to do is learn

So to group 44 I’m going to sound like an old-timer but here’s my words of advice (as a ‘veteran’ volunteer ;))

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You may have your ups and downs of service, and extremely bad days where– you question why you were even sent here to begin with. You may even break down in private…

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You may even-break down in front of a room full of strangers(like I did)… but I guarantee you a year from now, you’ll never imagine yourself anywhere else.

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And yes I totally got pelted with snowballs as I took these photos...

And yes I totally got pelted with snowballs as I took these photos…

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... But I'm also OK with that ;)

… But I’m also OK with that 😉

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(And yes for a country where half the year is cold and snowy- everyone was really excited!)

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Did you know in Ukraine sometimes people even congratulate each other on the first snow of the year?

Did you know Ukrainians sometimes even congratulate each other on the first snow of the year?

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(Oh and fun fact!: Did you know- Ukraine is the largest Peace Corps. post in the world?)

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