My New Home, Ukraine

December 4, 2016

I decided that I wanted to become Peace Corps volunteer in the 10th grade.  At the time, my main goal was to become a traveling nurse.  After changing majors as an undergrad and then going to school to get my masters, the thought of serving in the Peace Corps seemed to be a fleeting dream.  If you had told me that I would be moving across the world within the next ten years, I would have said that you were crazy.  Fast forward 8 years and here I am…across the world and loving every minute of this great adventure!  Since getting my invitation to serve I have traveled to (and through) several different locations.  These various locations include: Washington (DC), Frankfurt (Germany), Kiev, Chernihiv, Nosivka, Nizhyn, and Opishyna (Ukraine).  Below are just a few fun facts that I have learned about some of these wonderful cities:

Chernihiv

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(Wedding party walking through Dytynets)

This area (located in the north of Ukraine) was inhabited during the Paleolithic age (about 100,000 years ago). Archaeologists have found over 20 settlements of the late Paleolith era (35,000-10,000 years ago) in this area.  Chernihiv Oblast is one of the largest regions in Ukraine (Chernihiv is the Oblast capital).  There are about 1.063 million people living in Chernihiv Oblast.  There is a diverse population found in Chernihiv.  An example of the population includes Chernihiv’s rich history of Jewish communities.  Along side these Jewish communities, Chernihiv is also known for it’s cattle farming and beekeeping, as well as the growing of potatoes, sugar beets, flax, fruits and vegetables.  A visit to Chernihiv could include a tour of the local cathedrals, monasteries, and parks.  There are many monuments (ex: Taras Shevchenko Monument in Dytynets) and rivers to explore.  If you look closely, you may even get to see a wedding (or just the wedding party)!

Nosivka

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(Students in my 11b form class)

Nosivka is a small town of about 16,000 people, located within Chernihiv Oblast.  It may be a small city, but it has a lot of charm and character that I have grown to love.  Between the bazaars, cafés, restaurants, and local businesses, I have enjoyed my stay in Nosivka.  I have enjoyed the people of Nosivka most of all.  I have been able to teach a variety individuals at two of the local schools.  The teachers and students have welcomed each of the PC trainees with open arms.  I am very proud to call this wonderful place home!  Even though I will be moving on to my next site in a few days, I will always remember what I have learned here and the great friends that I have made.

Kiev

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(My cluster and temporary LCF in front of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery)

Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine (depending on who you talk to, it may or may not be older than Chernihiv).  The name Kiev comes from one of the four founders of the city: the brothers Kiy, Shchek, Khoryv, and their sister Lybid.  The city of about 3,14 million people, is thought to have been founded in 5th century A.D.  Amongst the many attractions (ex: the Pedestrian bridge over the Dniper river, Saint Sophia cathedral, and the Motherland Statue in Kiev), lies one of the most know locations in Europe: Maidan Nezalezhnosti.  The Maidan Nezalezhnosti housed the Revolution of Dignity, in 2014.  PC volunteers were evacuated and safely relocated to the United States while the revolution took place.  As a PC volunteer and as human being, I am very proud to be a part of this country’s history.

Opishnya 

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(Just a few of my students)

Opishnya , located in Poltavs’ka oblast, will be my new home in a few days!  I have only visited this village once before (for 3 days), but I already know that I am going to love living there for the next 2 years.  Opishnya (the Pottery Capital of Ukraine) is know for it’s art, artists, and the art festivals during the summer months.  There are two museums, one of which deals with pottery and the other includes more historical items.  There is also an art college where people from all over Ukraine (and the world) come to study.  I am very excited to move to Opishnya, learn about the local art, and start teaching my amazing students (young and old).

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