It is said the Olympics are about international ‘unity’ and a celebration of the best and brightest athletes… not about the medal count.
However around this time, I get strangely patriotic. I enjoy seeing my fellow Americans – many of whom have dedicated their entire lives to their sport… win.
I enjoy seeing that America can excel in so many events.
On so many levels.
I enjoy seeing that despite our economic recession and the fact that many argue that the American dream is slowly dying…
That young American snowboarders, skiers, and skaters can show us that if you work hard… you can still succeed.
… that no dream is too big or too impossible.
To see the pure joy on the faces of so many deserving American athletes ignites a sense of hope.
But yesterday, I was kind of happy we lost…
I know the Women’s Biathlon Relay doesn’t get as much attention as skating and it isn’t as exciting as the snowboarding events.
However watching the Women’s 4x6k Biathlon Relay, I was so happy, and moved…
What happened in the Women’s 4x6k Biathlon Relay was as moving, as watching the US ‘Miracle‘ game against Russia in 1980, or when the ‘Magnificent Seven‘ won in the gymnastics team event in 1996…
Because you could tell that win was about more than a medal… Continue reading
This is the Ukraine I know.
These are the Ukrainians- who invited me to their kitchen tables, taught me how to make Borscht, found my American accent charming (rather than annoying), and made sure that I never forgot to wear a hat during the winter…
These are the real faces of EuroMaidan and their hopeful faces, will change Ukraine – forever.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Cлава Україні! (Glory To Ukraine)
Stay strong Ukraine.
We are with you.
It has been 3 months since, I’ve been home… and as expected I left a huge part of my heart in Ukraine.
It’s hard to know when you’re teaching a group of eager youngsters that they were born into a country- that is considered one of the worst places to be born in 2013.
But during my service I never felt like Ukraine was a ‘hopeless cause’… I always felt as though it was one of those rare places where hope could be right in front of you.
In its people…
In its children…
Maybe it took really being there to see the beauty of ‘that country‘ that has been on the news lately.
I miss the heart of ‘those people‘ so much, that I can still see the beauty in Ukraine even though its capital is on fire.
I’ve been trying to distance myself from the news lately… because when a country you love is facing the prospect of martial law and is on the brink of collapsing.
It is hard to watch. I know the people ‘over there’.
They are more than a 1 minute news segment, they are very real people.
I still have some posts to make from my adventurous summer. But I don’t want to give the wrong impression a majority of Peace Corps. service- you simply stay at your site and do your job.
And that’s what I’m doing now.
September 1st. historically marks the beginning of the school so even though it was Sunday – schools across Ukraine had their First Bell (aka “Day Of Knowledge”) ceremonies.
Since it had been rainy the last couple of days – my school moved the ceremony to our town’s palace of culture.
For me, it marked the beginning of so many ‘lasts.’ Continue reading
In Albania I only had 2 visit days with my 4 sponsored children (World Vision packing in two visits each-day). After my visits I really didn’t know what to do with myself, or the three days I had left in Albania.
I found a travel agency online that offered day trips around Albania.
Somehow I was lucky enough to end up with a great tour guide who made sure I saw all this beautiful country has to offer.
The bluest beaches and the most magnificent mountains that I believe put the Andes and the Himalayas to shame.
I have a confession to make. I was scared to travel here. Continue reading
To be honest, I have never really been one for adventure. I’m an introvert by nature who’d much rather sit at home and watch re-runs of The Office, and The Big Bang Theory with a bag of potato chips by myself.
But somehow in this crazy life adventure always seems to find me- whether I’m ready for it or not.
That’s the crazy thing about life~ you can make one ordinary decision and it changes everything…
That’s what led me here. To a country the rest of the world rarely thinks about… Albania.
A country that my life was changed by… long before I ever set foot in it.
There’s a phrase in the non-profit field called “compassion apathy” and I admit I suffered from that for a long time.
Sometimes you really do, need to be crazy in order to be hopeful in a suffering world. Continue reading
I have literally over a thousand photos from Camp MAKE. Someone asked me to post the ‘best of the best’ photos (which are mostly from our morning costume challenges). Continue reading
Ukraine always throws a good party.
However last year, I was in Kiev during Independence Day awaiting new information regarding my upcoming site transfer- stressed and recovering from the break-in so I couldn’t really enjoy the party.
But, yesterday I was able to enjoy the party in a uniquely Ukrainian fashion.
Throughout my service I ask myself one important question- “Is it worth it?”
Introducing… PINK TEAM.
Is my time and energy- worth investing in a particular project or ideal? All PCVs encounter that question (during their highs and lows of service- some of us dare to ask that question to ourselves daily).
Throughout the summer, Ukraine Peace Corps. volunteers dedicate their time and their effort to make wonderful English camps available to young Ukrainians throughout Ukraine.
Its a lot of hard work.
Introducing… the yellow team “Ninja Lemons”
And it takes months of preparation.
But is it worth it?
Costume Challenge: “Spirit Animal Day”
(this kid went on to win the “King of Camp” award)
As a Peace Corps. volunteer I can tell you these kids, made the time and preparation involved in Camp MAKE- worth it.
There are few times during my service where I have actually felt like something I have been involved in… has made a lasting difference.
But Camp MAKE allowed me to work with some very smart, articulate, and eager young Ukrainians and passionate Ukrainian counselors.
At times camp was crazy.
“Day Of The Dead” morning costume challenge
Hey everyone! Sorry guys like most Peace Corps. volunteers towards the end of service my blog has slowly been dying… 😦
Things have been super busy in a normal-crazy kind of way.
What does that mean?
I don’t have any thing extra-ordinary to report. Mainly for the last couple of months. I’ve simply been doing my job. Teaching my fourth forms the proper use of prepositions with a game involving four-leaf clovers. Continue reading