The Real Winners and Losers

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…

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That young American snowboarders, skiers, and skaters can show us that if you work hard… you can still succeed.

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… 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…

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I cried.

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

The world as I see it

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.

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A country that my life was changed by… long before I ever set foot in it.

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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

Is it worth it?

Throughout my service I ask myself one important question- “Is it worth it?”

Introducing... PINK TEAM.

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).

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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"

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)

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

“Day Of The Dead” morning costume challenge

Continue reading

Summer Sunshine- photo SPAM

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.
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What does that mean?

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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

Love In The Mail

So March has been a pretty stressful month- I’m in the process of re-registaring which involves a lot of paperwork in a foreign language… Thankfully my counterpart has been awesome and doing a lot of additional work on my behalf- without complaint.

Have I mentioned how awesome my co-workers are?

Besides, that I’ve trying desperately to fundraise money for Camp MAKE.

Why?

Because, we are all born to make a difference and the kids of Ukraine deserve to know that.

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Thankfully it seems mail always comes to Ukraine when I need it the most to cheer me up… and I have gotten some pretty wonderful things in the mail recently. Continue reading

Moments In Ukraine- Camp MAKE

Some people have asked me for advice, on taking photographs. I’m not an expert at lighting or how to get the perfect angle by any means.

In fact, most of my favorite photos are extremely ill-lighted and topsy-turvy.

It took me a while to realize that it’s not really how the photo comes out that matters…

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It’s the memory behind it that does… Continue reading

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. Continue reading