The first of so many “lasts” and my message to America

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.

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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

Why Obamacare is Fantastic, Albeit Confusing for Peace Corps Volunteers

Over 40 million people in America need to be insured and I’m one of them!

Adventures

For many Peace Corps Volunteers serving out in the bush somewhere, we’ve all but forgotten about Obamacare. Why? Well, the days blur together and no one is ever quite sure what year it is. Also, the bush part. Yes, we have access to news and facebook and email, but sometimes that means standing on a rock waving your arms wildly in the air hoping to get a signal. So I’m sure it simply slipped the minds of many PCVs worldwide that the online marketplace has gone live. Or they have no idea what that even means.

For the Volunteers returning to America in the next 6 months, Obamacare is fantastic. We are perfect candidates for the new system. Most of us will be returning unemployed, previously uninsurable (chronic Montezuma’s revenge should be a pre-existing condition), and likely in serious need of insurance. Peace Corps provides one month of insurance upon…

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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

My Crazy Valentine

Once again, I’m seriously behind on blog entries! But there’s something good about that… because, well if I’m not updating it means I’m busy in a crazyily good/insane sort of way!

I’m slowly realizing that I have less-than a year left of service (9 months to be exact!). Which is crazy… time really does fly when you’re in your second-year of service. A few other things have been going on at my site.

Many multi-cultural activities/projects.

I’ve kind of been going through a holiday kick-lately my students have learned about everything from President’s Day where we did various worksheets related to Honest Abe & good ol’ George (and changed the game Simon Says to “Obama Says“), to Valentine’s Day.

I love talking about holidays and traditions with my younger students. Why?

Because, anything out of the ordinary of our regular English lessons is really exciting for them. Last month we spent an entire week focused on Valentine’s Day-

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We learned new vocabulary… talked about holiday traditions.

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And then, made Valentines. Continue reading

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

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It’s official the holidays are over. I marked the end of the holiday season when, I ran out of the seasonal cookies and gingerbread tea my mother sent me.

As usual, I’m super busy and therefore behind on blog entries about the festivities at school, life here in Ukraine, and the 2-week vacation my school gave me.

In Ukraine, the holiday season can be rough for volunteers. Since Christmas isn’t celebrated until January, 7th (Ukrainians follow the Russian Orthodox calendar).

However, New Year is celebrated similarly to Christmas- people decorate trees, give gifts, and kids get visited by a Ukrainian version of Santa Claus.

It can still be the most wonderful time of the year! Continue reading