toad invasions and insightful tours

i’ve been meaning to give a tour of my second site placement for some time now. and now that it’s summer i have some time…not to mention i’m also putting off addressing the biblical toad invasion in my kitchen. well okay i’ve only caught two toads, but they’re not even eating any of my other pests! i should have told them if they want to stay, they’ve gotta earn it. seems fair right? i’d like to think i’d make a fair employer. it seems to work for the spiders. but these guys just drunkenly flop around the floor make weird noises.

the first toad incident i heard its mating calls (it was probably disappointed when it saw me) coming from behind my sink. i though ‘nooooooo way is there a toad actually IN my house. not possible.’ but yea it was. i left for the weekend and sure enough it was STILL alive. darting from the light turning on. i kind of forgot about the possiblity of a toad and thought for sure it was a MEGA mouse. or rat. or possom. i waited around perched on my stool like a crazy lady for hours, waiting for it to foolishly come out of hiding. just as i was getting sleepy and beginnning to sway on my stool, i saw it. a pale little toad. i leaped forward, war cry filling the air, bowl in hand, and trapped it with one swift croutching tiger hidden dragon move. and then like a good animal lover, let it back outside.

this time was much less dramatic and drawn out, i just walked to my kitchen, flicked the light and oh…a toad. you know you’ve been in peace corps too long when your thought process goes something like this ‘what the mouse?…oh…it’s just a toad’. i’d almost prefer toads over mice. probably because i’ve had many a sleepless nights groggily throwing my stock pile of objects next to my bed trying to scurry away the mice. toads…not so bad. at least they don’t eat my pencil erasers and cookies. but still…maybe someday i’ll live somewhere where i don’t have either problem. someday…

but for now this is my life. and this is where i live. toads and all.

i moved from the upper blue balloon to the lower blue balloon. so far! ; )

this is the first village i lived in. now i live in the village of konstantinovka. it’s the largest village in all of europe (weird and random i know) with around 14,000 people. the entire village was destroyed during WWII but completely rebuilt within 20 years. pretty remarkable. it was also the site of a tragic mass jewish massacre. so there’s quite a bit of history here. it’s located just ouside of the city melitopol. most people here work as farmers and sell produce in the city. my other site was a mining village with 4,000ish people and one road. now i have a few more roads, mahazines, and volunteers close by.

i don’t regret living where i did for almost a year. it was extremely difficult and isolating there, but there were also a lot of nice things about it. open land everywhere and lots of time to spend writing, reading, going on walks with stray dogs, and solo dance parties. i often find myself missing my old site, but my new site is also great. i feel fortunate to experience two oh so different sites, which isn’t the norm (volunteers spend 2 years of service at site. but for reasons i had to move). i wish i had taken a video tour of my last village, it would have certainly been a short video, but maybe the map can give you some idea.

here’s a map of my second site and the things i show in my video, or at least mention:

my computer crashed as i was making this. and of course like a very bad designer, i didn’t save. so don’t judge my kerning. ; )

these videos might be long, but i promise they’re interesting, or at least i try to make them. the first is of me walking around showing you my village:

the second is giving a full tour of my housing situation and the backyard/garden (and forgetting all the vegetable names) of my landpeople:

hope you enjoy them! : )  now time to figure out how in the world toads keep getting inside my house…or watch jaba the hut scenes from starwars…

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