All posts in Peace Corps

  • Forever An American-Ukrainian

    Today marks my final day as a Peace Corps Volunteer. After assessing the current situation in Ukraine, Peace Corps has determined that it is not stable enough to send us back.

    I had thought about joining the Peace Corps since I was in high school. There were numerous times I considered joining – after undergrad, after grad school – and then I actually joined, after 2.5 years working professionally in Student Affairs.

  • The Evacuation Post

    On February 24th, all 230 Peace Corps Volunteers were safely evacuated out of Ukraine. It’s hard to believe that we’re all back in the United States, and it is still somewhat surreal to be home in Wisconsin.

    In the past three weeks, I’ve had many opportunities to talk about my experiences in Ukraine. I will post briefly here on evacuation and possible future options, highlighting some of the common questions I’ve been asked.

    Why were you evacuated? Were you in an unsafe area?

  • The Winter Update

    Time is flying by! It’s hard to believe it is almost mid-February already. I have been negligent in blog updates, so here is a recap of the past two months.

    Christmas, My Birthday, New Year’s

    The Orthodox Christmas is on January 7th, so December 25th was an ordinary day for most Ukrainians. I took the day off work and celebrated with two other Peace Corps Volunteers. We watched movies, ate unhealthy food, and relaxed. It was nice to have a lazy day.  A Christmas miracle  occurred, and a big box full of Christmas presents arrived on December 24th, 1 hour before I was catching the bus to my friend’s apartment. So, I was able to Skype and open gifts with my immediate family, and later I Skyped in to watch the festivities with my mom’s extended family. It was a real treat, and I felt like I was still part of the celebration, even from thousands of miles away.

  • News in Ukraine

    For friends and family everywhere – please take a moment to read what is happening in Ukraine. Regardless of your political views, your nationality, or your favorite news source, take 5 minutes out of your day to read about it, and another 5 minutes to educate someone else. Our world is interconnected, and what happens here matters everywhere.

    (And to put to rest any fears about me – I’m safe).

    For a news source actually based in Ukraine, I recommend the Kyiv Post – it’s the oldest English language paper in Ukraine, and they have been doing continuous updates on the protests since they first began in November. (Google translating news stories does not work well, hence my recommendation of an English source):

  • The Mid-December Update: Technology, Trainings and Turquoise Leg Warmers

    The weather is getting colder, but the snow still looks beautiful – it’s mid-December in Ukraine! Here are a few updates on what I have been doing.

    Technology is amazing 

    Although I wasn’t around to help make Christmas cookies this year, I was able to Skype in and watch my mom and her sisters in action. It was so nice to be included in the holiday preparations, and it was a family event just like I remember: “are the candy cane cookies too big? They look bigger than Grandma would have made them.”  ”Is something burning? No. Are you sure?”  ”Are the animals getting along with each other? Yes, but the dog ate the cat’s kibble.” I loved tuning in!

  • Thanksgiving, The Macarena, and Other Moments of Fun

    It’s hard to believe the first week of December has already flown by! Here is a recap of my Thanksgiving wanderings:


    I had been looking forward to Thanksgiving since I first arrived in Sumy. And, it was even more fun than I had anticipated!

    First, I celebrated on Thanksgiving Day with my ‘oblastmates’ (PCV’s who live in the same ‘state’ as me). We had a full Thanksgiving feast, including turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

    Turkey Day Group

    The feast!

    After the delicious meal, we tried a “Turkey Fling” tradition that is played annually by the family of Debbie, one of the other PCV’s in my city.

  • Eastern Rinok Training, Football, and One Goal Achieved

    November has flown by at a rapid pace. It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is a quick week away. It seems like ages ago that I was departing Pre-Service Training with promises of “we’ll see each other at Thanksgiving!” (Luckily, I’ve already seen all of my clustermates at least once).

    What have been I up to lately?

    Eastern Rinok & Chernigov Training:

  • A Little Bit of Gratitude

    Many of the blogs I follow have been discussing gratitude recently, and the importance of gratitude in cultivating a happy life. Inspired by their example, here is a list of things that have recently made me thankful.

    - Finding 5 more peanut butter M&M’s at the bottom of the bag, when I thought it was empty. I enjoyed every M&M that came out of that bag, but those last five were extra special.

    - Not having to clean the hallways, bathroom, or kitchen.  One of the perks of living in a student dorm that has a cleaning staff. (Sidenote – I live in a special guest wing, so there are only 3 of us currently living in the suite right now).

  • Wedding Well Wishes and Some Sweet Snapshots

    The past few weeks have flown by – work projects have kept me busy, I’ve been lucky enough to do some travelling, and I’ve been enjoying autumn weather with friends. A quick update!

    Wedding Well Wishes:

    One of the difficult parts of Peace Corps service is missing important life milestones of friends and family. There are numerous babies being born right now, and many close friends have gotten hitched in the past two months. Although missing these momentous events can be sad, I appreciate that Skype and Facebook help me stay involved in my friends’ lives. I also love sharing stories about my American life with my Ukrainian friends, and vice versa.

  • 9 Things I Love About Ukraine

    Happy Tuesday! Here is a list of 9 things that I love about Ukraine. Of course, the list could be longer, but here is a quick highlight of what I have become fond of during the past six months. (Yes, that’s right, I’ve officially passed the 6 month mark!! How fast time flies.)

    1. Fresh fruits and vegetables

    I shop at the local farmer’s market, aka ‘bazaar’ nearly every day. Tasting fresh, seasonal produce is wonderful. The inexpensive price tag is a perk, as well. As winter looms large, I will miss this greatly. Many Ukrainians do canning of fruits and vegetables, so that they can eat a variety of produce even in the dark days of winter.