#pcukraine

Ever wonder what Peace Corps Ukraine life is like?? Here are some (rather hilarious) moments, collected via Facebook status updates to give you a glimpse of what it’s really like. I think you can tell which ones are mine, for they don’t have capitalization, and are usually about bucket bathing, running, or blogging.

Credit and thanks for this idea goes to my dear friend Catharine and her blog Crimea River. As well as all my fellow volunteers for sharing snapshots of their daily life on le facebook.

  • BEST. Tuesday. Ever. Got my sweet counterpart to schedule something two months in advanced (Americans: this is a virtually impossible feat, which you know makes me nuts). Got Vadim to pronounce “th” during tutoring and a phone date with a long lost friend to come….what more can a girl ask for??
  • My 5th formers gave me a hamster today…. I guess this means they like me.
  • What is the point of bathing when the water itself stinks like stinky feet, mineral overload, boogers, and rust all put together?
  • on my walk home from school i saw this REALLY bright thing in the sky, so bright it hurt to look at it! i got home and decided to google it, turns out it’s just this thing called “the sun”. weird.
  • During trivia game at English Club:
    Me: ” This person is the US president’s wife……”
    x: (screams) ” MONICA”
  • “WoW!! Your husband is very pretty!”
    “thanks honey, that’s not my husband, that’s the ESPN homepage…” I sure will miss tutoring 10 year old Ukrainian kids!
  •  You know you’ve been in Ukraine too long when you’re absolutely not fazed by immediate shots of cognac when you walk into the door, and within 5 minutes you’ve realized how integrated you’ve become and have already lost count.. but you know it’s at least 4.
  • I’ve held out as long as I could, but I’m back to sleeping in the kitchen! I can’t wait for all of my future visitors so that we can cuddle around my oven and use each other’s body heat for survival!
  • Good news: My exposed electrical wires aren’t sparking anymore.
    Bad news: No electricity.
  • you know you’re in ukraine when the 65 year-old school principal wears a *very* revealing top and no one else but yourself seems to think ‘HELLOOOO CLEAVAGE!’ either i’m a pervert or i just haven’t integrated enough.
  • Starting to understand why ancient peoples sacrificed animals to bring the sun god back.
  • my landlord killed the pig with a knife in the heart and then stuffed the knife wound with a dried corn cob. interesting.
  • I wonder if there’s a color code/rank system for these babushka’s and their headscarves. I bet bright orange means they’ve killed a man.
  • i don’t have the heart to tell my ukrainian students that ice cube, green day, and nickelback are no longer popular musical artists in america. on the other hand, i have no problem secretly rejoicing in the fact that i’m cooler than my 7th graders.
  • Looks like it’s a potatoes with a side of potatoes sort of evening dinner.
  • i was told by my coworkers today, in all seriousness, that there’s no way i’ll find a husband with the flat shoes i’m always wearing. oh, ukraine.
  • It must be spring time soon- there are 40 baby chicks now living in my bathroom.
  • Dr.’s follow up appointment:
    “Doc, what should I do and what shouldn’t I do to heal faster??”
    “No heavy lifting. Limited movements based on how you feel. Thorough cleansing. Take antibiotics. And mix one part water with one part vodka every night.”
    “Doc, I’m not going to do that last part.”
    “Why not?”
    “I’m just not.”
  • I drew a plane with big round wings ascending into clouds today to explain the English phrase,”up in the air.” When I drew the little window at the tip of the plane my students started laughing hysterically at my drawing. It turns out that I drew a giant erect PENIS with accompanying balls and peehole. Take a moment and picture the drawing for yourself. It was by far my worst English lesson to date……….
  • bucket bathing is no fun as-is, but it’s even less fun when you don’t realize your shower-head (ie saucepan) wasn’t cleaned well enough and you pour the remnants of your last meal onto your head….maybe it’s time to buy a second saucepan.
  • So I have started taking a bath with clothes that need to be washed. I get half clean, they get half clean. Brilliant, I know!
  • I was just told by a Ukrainian that flossing is bad/dangerous. Um, all your teeth are gold.
  • There is nothing less rewarding in this life then washing jeans with your bare hands. It takes more time then all the rest of your laundry combined and when you are finished your arms and hands ache. You are rewarded with a 1-2 day wait while it drys. All of this just on the hope that the smell they have acquired after trips in hot trains and bus and time around smokers, is finally gone and not replaced by the “It took too long to dry” mildew smell.
  • picked up Pilgrim from the farm today… will be killing my own thanksgiving turkey this year. #tryingnewthings
  • peace corps thinks i might have some sort of intestinal parasite or bacterial infection (again) so my poop gets a free trip to washington d.c.! …never thought i’d say this but i’m kinda jealous of my poop.
  •  you know you’re a pcv when you want to heat up your soup while taking a shower but can’t because your saucepan is your shower.
  • got chased by a goat and saw a man clipping his toenails on the street while on my run today. For a moment I thought I was back in Corner, Alabama.
  • Today, I stood in line for 70 minutes to pay a monthly gas bill of 72 kopeeks. That makes my time here worth 9 cents (US$0.09) an hour. I would like to take the opportunity to thank my parents for my university degree.
  •  I saw 3 of my 6th formers at a bar today. I don’t know whats worse. Seeing them at a bar or knowing they can all out drink me.
  • Nothing reminds me where I am like pretending to shop online and then taking a bucket bath.
  • an epic marathon of meat eating and vodka drinking with my landlord and neighbors, two drunk strangers fighting then making out on my bus, followed by my 6th grade student pouring me wine and avoiding my turn at karaoke. another memorable ukrainian easter.
  •  What could bring a PCV more joy than seeing the bright smile on a little 8th formers face as he offers his English teacher his pack of cigarettes and bottle of vodka he and his friends were about to drink before school and he takes it? ……. The smile on the PCV’s face as he watches his 8th graders cry as he dumps the bottle of vodka on the pack of cigarettes and then telling them they have a control test today. Today will be a good day.
  •  Victory Day Parade. Easy the most thong underwear I have seen in one hour in my life (even more than previous year’s Victoria Secret Pre-Christmas Rush).
  • my landlady is convinced that i’m sick with bronchitis from drinking cold beverages and walking around barefoot. oooh, ukrainian superstitions. (editor’s note: this appeared in the middle of a week of 85-degree days in May)
  • In an effort to fit in, I did some farming in the yard, in my underwear, while giving polite nods to my neighbors who are also doing farm work in their underwear.
  • power is back on but my water is still out. since i only have one back up jug do i….cook with it? drink it? take a much needed bucket bath with it? do all three at the same time?
    – How big a jug?
    – ‎4 liters…ish
    – cook with a liter, drink a liter, wash with 2?
    – Cook with oil, drink vodka and don’t take a bath. You’ll be too drunk to care.
  • Fun fact: someone working in the Ukrainian postal system does not like red jelly beans. I just received an already opened package from Uncle Tom containing a mostly empty bag of Jellybellies. Except the red ones.
  • someone has most recently found my peace corps blog by googling “pictures of people who don’t bathe”. point taken.
  • Today some Ukrainian teachers informed me that my recent health issues were caused by using the “toilet” at my school. Of course, when I say “toilet”, I mean the hole in the ground next to my school. They went on to say that if I continue to use it, I’ll have very bad problems with my lady parts. Their solution: hold it. all day.
  • Great news everyone!! I went to the hairdresser today and found out I’M GETTING MARRIED!! I am beyond excited. I don’t know who it’s to yet, but I figure if I ask around the village enough I’ll find out. I hope he’s cute, has a car (or at least his parents have one), and has at least 65% of his teeth. I guess dreams really do come true. ♥
  • ukrainian train rides sort of lost their romance when the man sitting across from me blew his nose in the window curtains.
  • On my walk from Ochakiv to my village a tenth grader comes up to me and asks why I am walking to Kutsurub and not taking a bus. I tell him it is a beautiful day. His response…”Mr. Davis I do not understand Americans. You walk when there are buses and you sit on the floor when there are chairs.”
  • apparently someone googled “i don’t know….maybe, heaven” and subsequently found themselves on my peace corps blog. seems legit.
  • after today’s ten-mile run in the snow looking like a mixture of an 80s workout back-up dancer/prison escapee/ninja with sex hair, i’m beginning to think the message i’m really sending to ukrainians is not ‘look, you can run for fun!’ but more so ‘hide yo kids hide yo wife’.
  • the weather was beautiful for the village of konstantinovka’s inaugural half-marathon today. while there was only one participant the spectators were many, including some old people, non-athletic men in tracksuits, a few cats, and two goats. they cheered on the solo runner, kristen hartman, with phrases of encouragement such as: “what are you doing?”, “where are you going?”, and “why don’t you let me drive you home”.
  • so wordpress.com told me someone found my blog through googling “perky breast ukraine”. i found this quite interesting since that’s not usually the topic of my blogs. curious, i googled it myself and yes, my blog comes up second to “perky tits porn”. win.
  • sunday morning in my hobbit house has consisted of a few buckets of laundry in the bathtub, peeling and chopping root vegetables for ukrainian salat vinaigrette, and feeding scraps to the hogs…all before 9 am.i’m one brightly colored headscarf and songs from the old country singing away from full-on babushka transformation.
  • after asking for some parsley from an older lady at the bazaar today, she looked at me, starred intensely into my eyes with a smile and loss of words for a good two minutes, and then proceeded with the transaction.for those two minutes i really wasn’t sure if she was going to kiss me or rip me off…or both. turns out neither happened. *sigh*
  • since i’m still sick, my dear landlady brought me some homemade wine and medicinal advice…ukrainian medicine 101:cure your cold/strep/leper throat by heating up some homemade wine and drinking it in the evening. then before bed, rub a wool scarf in some soap and wrap it around your neck for the night.
    how it works: well, it doesn’t, but you’ll basically be too drunk to notice you’re sick and that you’re wearing a soapy scarf.
  • while on a walk in the village, Sarah and I spent way too long trying to remember what one calls the action of taking dishes out of the dishwasher. “is it unpacking…? unpacking….? wait….UNLOADING! YEA!!”. oh America with all your English and amenities….it’s been too long.
  • it’s the first night in the village for my parents and 5 hours of partying with ukrainians, drinking home made vodka and wine, has turned my ever-so-proper father into a giggling mess and that makes exclamations of “those chocolates look like a nun’s tits!” at the table.
    i like what ukraine has done to him.
  • spent my last ukrainian easter at my landlord’s beach house — the last time all my ukrainian friends and site mate will be together before i leave. it was so bittersweet. after some day drinking and beach bumming the night ended with my site mate and i singing the american national anthem from a balcony to an audience of lighter waving ukrainians. the icing on top of the cake was when my ukrainian friends told me i’m the only american they’ve hosted who knows the language well enough to really understand their humor, saying “you’re one of us!”. greatest compliment ever. greatest last hurrah. i’m going to miss this.

3 thoughts on “#pcukraine

  1. Hello, So glad my PC recruiter sent me your blog. I am finding it rather funny! I am expected to leave March 7, 2016 for a business/NGO advisor. I’m excited and nervous but am ready for the challenge. Thank you so much for keeping a blog about your stay! Any advice? Xx

    • Hi Rebecca! I’m glad you found your way here! Congratulations on your assignment! Pre-departure is a pretty exciting/completely nerve-wracking time. My best general advice might be to simply go with an open mind, a sense of humor, really try to embrace cultural integration, and write–not necessarily for a blog, but for yourself (you’ll be thankful you did later!). Thanks for messaging and best of luck with your preparations for departure!

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