On December 7, 2016, I swore-in as a Peace Corps volunteer. I will be teaching English in Ukraine for the next two years (and I can’t imagine spending the next two years any other way). I will be spending this week: observing classes, helping with research, deciding on my future Ukrainian classes (literature and language), and giving presentations. Even though I won’t be teaching any classes, I am excited to do what I can before the winter break! As I am thinking about the next two years, I am thankful for this break and the chance to get to learn about my community.
Speaking of being thankful…I want to take a minute and talk about my first American holiday in Ukraine: Thanksgiving. I may have been away from my American family this year, but I still had a family to celebrate with. With the help of my Ukrainian family, I had one of the best Thanksgiving to date! Between spending time with my favorite people (a.k.a. my fellow PCVs, our host families, our PC staff, and a local teacher) and eating delicious food, I think this Thanksgiving was a great success.
Everyone brought at least one dish, but most brought several items. I personally brought the delicious macaroni and cheese that can be found below (it is the white pot, with flowers, in the middle of the table). If you want to learn what it takes to cook an American dish in Ukraine, make sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter to get the recipe!
Besides eatting food that tasted AMAZING, we (the PCVs) were able to give out awards to our host families! It definitely takes very special people to host a PCT. These families opened their lives, their homes, and their families to complete strangers for 2 ½ months. I was belessed to have lived with Svitlana: a truly amazing woman! Sveta has two jobs: during the week she teaches Russian at the local school and on weekends she tutors students n Kiev. I cannot imagine spending PST with anyone else. Thank you Sveta for putting up with my bad Ukrainian and those weird homework assignments. Thank you for also being my link into the Ukrainian culture and for being my Ukrainian mom. I love you and I will never forget the time we spent together!
(Presenting the award to my host mom)
I cannot believe it, but PST has come to an end. I have finally started the next portion of my life as a Peace Corps volunteer. I want to give a special thank you to everyone who has helped me so far (a few can be seen in the picture below), including my biological family in the United States. I know that living on the other side of the world has been hard (I promise it has been hard for me too), but this experience is worth the pain! I know that good things have already begun to happen.
Please comment below with your own travels that required you to integrate with another culture (in the United states or overseas). I want to hear all about your experiences!