you know you’re a peace corps volunteer in ukraine when. . .

  1. you realize time is relative, schedules are null, and nothing happens on time.
  2. 6 hour bus rides and 24 hour train rides don’t seem that bad.
  3. you’ve begun to think rhinestones, synthetic fabrics, and denim on denim is stylish.
  4. you have a collection of ‘nice’ plastic bags.
  5. you find yourself dima squatting at a bus stop.
  6. crystal light and starbucks via packets are gold and used as trading tokens between pcvs.
  7. the only cool thing about your black and white cellphone is the game ‘snake’.
  8. you start to spell everything the british way by adding extra ‘u’s.
  9. openly cheating in school doesn’t phase you anymore.
  10. you always carry toilet paper with you. always.
  11. you feel personally offended when people say ‘THE Ukraine’.
  12. you welcome the upper side bunk in platzkart, just to avoid having the fat, bald, naked man that will sit down on your bed.
  13. your counterpart tells you she’s leaving school early to plant potatoes. and it’s considered a legitimate reason.
  14. there’s a lesson in your students’ english book completely about potatoes.
  15. your students or what you now call ‘pupils’ greet you with ‘good morning’ at all times of the day.
  16. you’ve been dying to find one of those ‘say me yes’ shirts at the bazaar.
  17. when anything bad/down right weird happens you say you’ve been “ukraine’d”.
  18. you find yourself craving a good bowl of borscht.
  19. you’ve eaten (or at least been forced to try) meat jello and pig fat.
  20. you hesitate before sitting on concrete and cold surfaces because you fear being yelled at for freezing your ovaries.
  21. sitting at the corner of a table is taboo and will leave you marriage-less.
  22. you’ve come to love odd caviar, crab, and meat flavored croutons and think kart-o-fan is the shit.
  23. applying vodka to any ailment starts to seem logical.
  24. you find a picture of borat giving two thumbs up saying ‘great success’ in the back of your students’ textbook.
  25. you start to think toyotas and fords are really really fancy cars.
  26. you also start to think anyone driving an actually fancy car must work for the mafia.
  27. you stare at foreign tourists as much as the local people do.
  28. you’ve never looked so forward to canned fruit as you do in the winter time.
  29. the second question strangers often ask is about your relationship status.
  30. you’ve lost track of how many marriage proposals you’ve received.
  31. you can’t heat up your soup while you shower because your saucepan is your shower.
  32. you have to sit in a specific way at a specific place in your house if you want to get internet or cell phone service.
  33. you can’t help but wonder who taught your students to say ‘my happy birthday is in june’
  34. you’re constantly asked to sing national songs on the spot and often can only think of scout songs or ‘my heart will go on’.
  35. you distinguish between your peace corps family, your american family, and your ukrainian home-stay family.
  36. it’s become natural to throw your toilet paper away in the trash bin.
  37. you no longer realize you’re using foreign words when speaking english and say things like ‘davai!’ ‘bez’ ‘dingy’ ‘buterbrod’ ‘seriouzno?’ ‘vokzal’ ‘mahazine’ to your friends back home.
  38. you start using the phrase “the states” and “when i attended university…”
  39. you are no longer shocked at how crowded the local transportation is.
  40. you know that if someone at site says ‘yes’ it means definitely not, ‘maybe’ means no, and ‘no’ means no.
  41. you get stuck in an overcrowded bus for 8 hours in 98 degree heat and no one is willing to open the windows for fear of catching a cold.
  42. buying clothes you think “how hard would this be to wash in a bucket?”
  43. the locals offer you a shot of samahone, vodka, brandy, cognac or horilka for friendship.
  44. the women ask you if you are married and have kids, the men ask you if you like ukrainian girls, and both ask you how you enjoyed the winter.
  45. you stay in a hotel with great water pressure AND lots of hot water and your first thought is “i wish I had brought more dirty laundry!!”
  46. you regularly feel ashamed for your lack of exact change and have forgotten what customer service is.
  47. you visit other volunteers with no extra clothing except a hoodie (which will be your pillow).
  48. you must constantly remind your students that china and japan are different countries and that africa is, in fact, not a country.
  49. you ask your pcv friends (when visiting for the first time) if there’s anything special you need to know about their toilet/bathtub/sink or any other plumbing appliance.
  50. you chat with your friends through the window in your bathroom when they come to visit.
  51. someone has to have at least 6 or 7 visible gold teeth before you notice them.
  52. you wish your walls had carpeting so that your room wouldn’t be so cold.
  53. you feel old because you’re 25 and lack a spouse and 3 children.
  54. straight men wear fluorescent mesh and tiny speedos.
  55. you live on hretchka and potatoes for a week because you were supposed to be paid five days earlier.
  56. you have “train” clothes, “train” slippers and a “train” mug.
  57. you’ve come think showering daily as luxurious.
  58. you have become a cultural ambassador for races, religions, and other groups that you do not belong to.
  59. you find your self trying to convince ukrainians that you can’t call it a sandwich if there’s only one piece of bread.
  60. the water, electricity, and internet outages every week for uncertain amounts of time are now just expected and your house is stocked with jugs of back-up water.
  61. carrying a water bottle around classifies you as a weirdo and drinking cold anything will of course make you sick.
  62. the amount of wind outside seems to affect your internet service.
  63. you know all of the vegetables harvest seasons and monitor the prices of tomatoes, daily.
  64. you have more recipes that involve mayonnaise than any other ingredient.
  65. if you see someone with dirty shoes you immediately start to judge their personality.
  66. you pack a picnic when riding a train.
  67. you have two phones with two different sim cards. or if you are really cool and have a duel sim card phone.
  68. you have a system for classifying all of the natashas, sahsas, dimas, and jenyas in your contact list.
  69. you answer your phone with, “allo?”
  70. you can open sunflower seed shells using your fingers, like a champ.
  71. you feel safer when there is an 85-year-old woman around.
  72. you think foreigners are either missionaries or sex tourists.
  73. trash piles on fire don’t phase you.
  74. you never leave the house without polishing your shoes.
  75. you’ve learned that the word ‘preservative’ is not meant to be used when talking about food.

a special thanks to my fellow ukraine pcvs for contributing to this list : )

connie j. postelli (#45), zachary pritchett (#43, 44), patrick kelley (#12), and betsy ott (#46-56) kristen calille (#66, 72, 73), jenny owre (#63-71)


8 thoughts on “you know you’re a peace corps volunteer in ukraine when. . .

  1. Pingback: you know you’re a peace corps volunteer in ukraine when. . . | Що можу сказати? 27 Months in Україна.

  2. As a Ukrainian I lol`d hard. I understand this things weird, but when you live in the middle of this, this not so bad.

    Exept that fat bold naked man drinking vodka on your bed in platzkart train, of cource.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s