Livin’ The Dream

After ten weeks here in Borova, I still catch myself in those moments of disbelief that I am a Peace Corps volunteer living in a foreign country.  Whether sitting totally lost in the conversation at a birthday party surrounded by merry Ukrainians, or unexpectedly celebrating one of the ‘oh-they-have-a-holiday-for-this-too’ moments, I’ve had to face the reality that I’m in a very different place.  I am most definitely a big fish in a very small pond surrounded by a crystal-clear bowl.

Just a week ago (Aug 24), Ukraine celebrated 20 years of independence after the break-up of the Soviet Union.  And thank goodness.  Instead of being surrounded by beautiful women and friendly townsfolk, I could be in the African bush fighting off malaria. Or, I could be in the South Pacific on some tropical island as I imagined Peace Corps service to be, but nevermind that.

Today, the 1st of September, was the beginning of the school year.  Having been asked to show up for the first day of school by one of the teachers, I thought I’d give a token appearance by popping my head in the door to say ‘hi’ and maybe introduce myself.  Silly me.  Of course there was a big celebration to kick off the first day of school. And to my shock, I had to stand front and center for the entire celebration and then address the entire school, with parents and grandparents in attendance.  I spit out a few Russian words, or what sounded like Russian, and then reverted to good old English as I started hearing some chuckles from the peanut gallery.  At least I got some lovely flowers out of the whole deal.

My two regrets so far, not bringing enough gifts from America, and my incompetence in learning Russian.  So far I’ve been to at least seven birthday parties, that I can remember, in just the first two months of my twenty-four month journey.  A care package from the States filled with Americana mementos would come in handy right now (Ahem).   And of all those celebrations I’ve been to, I really can’t say much of what was talked about.  Given that Ukrainians love to laugh and are very entertaining, especially after a few drinks, I can only imagine what I’ve missed out on.

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~ by Blakely Neff on September 1, 2011.

One Response to “Livin’ The Dream”

  1. Good for you Blakely! I am happy you are in a good place…live in the moment! Jo

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