Two Years In

As of today, September 17, 2012, it has been exactly two years since I left Wisconsin for the Peace Corps. Granted, I didn’t actually arrive in Ukraine until September 22, 2010 due to problems with visas at the embassy. Also, it’s been a year since I last visited home. Time has flown.

Owning the First Day of School

I talked to Jeramie yesterday and it sounds like she had an awful first day back at school. If not awful then at least not ideal. Apparently she had to deal with the same kinds of things we had to deal with in earlier years, but she’d thought she had helped her school past them. I, however, won the first day of school. Excluding one minor to-do (floating the idea of me putting on a male beauty contest similar to the one I did in Continue reading →

Early Train

I’m in Kiev today for medical. I’ve been up since 4:00am and it’s earlier than I planned to be awake to get to Kiev. You see, it’s the end of summer and the university students are monopolizing the trains to get from their villages to their universities. The train I usually take was full earlier than I expected. This caused me to be at the train station last night, trying to buy a ticket on a train coming from Moscow. For some reason or another, you can only Continue reading →

Big Chocolate Ice-cream

This summer, we’ve been going to get soft-serve ice-cream in the center. I’m not really sure why we didn’t do it last summer but what matters is that we are now. I have a standard order of, “Big chocolate.” Usually this rolls in around 200g (0.44 lbs) and it costs me 8 UAH ($1).That’s not a bad deal, if you ask me. Last night, I placed the same order, “Big chocolate,” and I got this: That’ beauty weighed in at 325g (0.72 lbs) of ice-cream. Continue reading →

A Disappointing Independence Day

Yesterday, August 24, was the Ukrainian Day of Independence. I had looked forward to it because there are celebrations in the center for holidays. At celebrations, there’s almost always shashlik. Shashlik is delicious. It’s grilled meat but not like grilled meat I’ve had in America. I wish I knew how it is different, but I don’t. Anyway, Lyuda and I walked into the center in the mid-afternoon to get my helping of shashlik. I had looked forward to it because I have it only when Continue reading →

Highlights of Teaching

For the last two weeks of summer, I was asked to work with some of the students one-on-one to prepare them for the National English Olympiad. It’s been fun, and I’ve talked about my approach to teaching already. Today, I want to share the first week results of my method. While most of the time I don’t enjoy talking about politics, I made an exception this week. For me, politics is in the same boat as religion. It’s great to have your own opinions about Continue reading →

Teaching One on One, Again

School has me coming in this week and next week to work with some select students. There’s a handpicked group of six or seven they want prepped for the English Olympiads well in advance, and while I’m still here able to help. While I certainly could argue and put up a fight about having to work during my summer break, I’m not going to. I’m actually very relieved to have something to do. The thing is, it’s not work for me. I’ve done this about Continue reading →

Missing Flights

You don’t know this, but I should have a bunch of photos of Berlin to post here for your eye-candy enjoyment. I don’t because I’m a dummy. There would have been photos of the Wall and beer and pretzels and possibly me riding a bicycle. Oh the joy to ride something with two wheels again and then share it with the world would have been a wonderful thing to do. Want to know why I don’t have photos to share? I didn’t lose/forget/break my camera. Continue reading →

Running Fool, Again

In high school, I used to be a decent runner. I wasn’t spectacular. I wasn’t on par with the runners who went on to compete in college but I was still decent. Middle distance was my jam. I ran the 800m and the 4x800m relay. I anchored. We won more often than not and if I was at home, I’d give you a medal count. I’d certainly have more to brag about than Sweden can with their 2012 London Olympics (seven as of writing). I Continue reading →

Running Out of Time

I just opened my last tube of tooth paste. You might remember how particular I am about which brand/flavor I use. Crest Multicare Whitening Freshmint. They don’t sell that here so I’ve had to have it shipped and brought over. I think this last tube will keep my teeth clean until the end. Last week, I opened my last jar of peanut butter. I’ve rationed it until now, but I think with the size of the jar and the time left, I can live comfortably Continue reading →