Halloween Costume 2012

I know this is at least a week past relevance but I thought I’d share it anyway because it made my laugh and be uncomfortable for an entire day. Jacque and I have been stuck together during our entire Peace Corps. We planned to take a taxi from the airport together (her plane was late so I only traveled with Dave). She randomly came into the conference room and sat at my table. We both decided to find a reasonably priced beer in Georgetown, and succeeded Continue reading →

School, Travel, Work, and Cleaning but no Excuses

Guys, I’m sorry, I’ve been busy. I really want to write every day but…no excuses. Here’s what I’ve been up to. Closing things up and focusing on work I have had trouble figuring out why I’ve been so exhausted this semester. I get home from school and I have so little energy. When people ask what I do, I tell them I do nothing. I’d like to read or do something resembling productivity but I’m too beat. What I think it is is that my Continue reading →

Interviews, Ubuntu, Awards, and Paintings

The past couple days have been weird in the best of ways. Everything that’s happened seems to have ended up as a welcome surprise. As you know, I was eagerly waiting for Ubuntu 12.10 to drop yesterday (ask Lyuda who was here for tutoring and she’ll confirm that I kept checking every 15 minutes for the update). I was waiting around all day for it and I finally had a chance to install it at 9 pm local time. However, right before it appeared on my computer Continue reading →

Collective Creative Writing at School

Friday, I had some of the most fun I’ve ever had with two of my classes. I worked with a 9th grade and a 10th grade class and we did the same lesson with both. It started off with me reading a story and asking them to understand. Then, they read the story and told me what happened. After that, we considered what might happen after the story. Both classes were pretty bored by the end of it. But then the fun began. We turned Continue reading →

Proposed Writing Retreat

If you remember last year, I had an ambitious November. I wanted to take 30 days to make myself a better man, and I did. I wanted to do 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups each day, and I did. I also wanted to complete NaNoWriMo, and I did. It was ambitious and by the end I was absolutely drained in every aspect of my life, but it felt great to do all those things on top of my daily activities. This year, however, I won’t attempt to make myself Continue reading →

Saying Goodbye to a Haircut

Today I began to say goodbye. I’ve mused before about haircuts in Ukraine. It was a simple post that boiled down to, I have a great woman who cuts my hair here because she knows what I want without me having to jump through hoops in Russian to explain it. I walk in, sit down, she asks, “Как всегда?” and I replied, “Да.” (“Like usual?” “Yes.”). It’s easy and wonderful and I’m going to miss it. I had planned out my haircuts earlier this year Continue reading →

Photo Essay: Chernobyl 2012

Sometimes you do things because the opportunity is there and you’re not quite sure if it will come about again in your lifetime. Sometimes people ask you why you’re doing exactly that and you explain it to them the way you see it. And sometimes they respond that future insurance companies might not insure you for cancer if they find out you went to Chernobyl. For what it’s worth, my 2008 copy of Lonely Planet Ukraine informs me that spending three hours in the Chernobyl exclusion Continue reading →

Peace Corps Ukraine Group 39 COS

So much has happened in the past week and I want to write about all of it now, but I think I’ll spread it out over a few days because each thing deserves personal recognition. The week started with our flag football tournament, but I’ll write about that later once I steal photos from Jeramie and because it’s a lesser event of the week. After the tournament, Peace Corps Ukraine Group 39 gathered for our Close/Continuation of Service conference. It was the first time we’ve Continue reading →

Cheap and Healthy or Snake Oil?

The past couple of months, I haven’t felt like I’m in my top shape. This caused me to go to see the doctor which in turn caused me to get an ultrasound to check for tumors (the doctor wanted to rule out possibilities). What it boiled down to was that I had slept on an air mattress and the softness, while comfortable, wasn’t good for my lower back. This caused pain elsewhere in my body. The doctor recommended a regime of ibuprofen for a couple of weeks, Continue reading →

Learning Not Cheating

There are a lot of things about the Ukrainian school system that I just don’t understand because I grew up in the American school system. Things are done quite differently and it makes me wonder why. For example, the Ukrainian system of grading is on a 12 point scale where the American system is letter grades which are really simplified percentages. These systems do not translate. A failing grade in America, typically below a 60% is not a failing grade in Ukraine (a 7). A Continue reading →