• 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): http://www.kyivpost.com/

  • A Letter to Grandma, One Year Later

    This blog was originally going to be posted on December 27, 2013, but my blog was down for maintenance. For all those who commented on my Facebook posting of this entry, thank you for your kind words.

    Dear Grandma,

    I can’t believe it’s been a year since I said my final goodbye to you. A very fast year, and one that I wish you were here for.

    There has been so much that this year has taught me. Not only the obvious things – a new country, a new language – but so much about love, loss, and what really matters in life.

  • Quotes from Craig, Volume 1: Maximus the Cat

    Note: due to bandwith limits on my blog, the contents of this post have been edited. Instead of screen shots of the hilarious email exchanges, I now can only post the words they contained. I’ve also had to reduce image size. Sorry!

    As a Peace Corps Volunteer, one of the most exciting things to receive is a care package or handwritten letter. It is also a joy to receive email updates from family and friends.

    One of my current most enjoyable things is receiving emails from my father. For those who have heard me talk about him and for those who have been lucky enough to meet him – I think he’s pretty funny.

  • 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.

  • On Body Image, Ashton Kutcher, And A New Challenge

    I’m taking a break from my regular Ukraine-centric postings to share a topic that has been on my mind lately.

    Several weeks ago, after a summer beach weekend, a friend said to me (about another person we know):

    “Her body is really disappointing. Your body is better than hers.”

    I was stunned.

    My first thoughts were:

    1. Oh, so my body is only better than disappointing, eh?
    2. Hmmmm, is my body ‘better’ than hers?
    3. When did I agree to join a swimsuit competition??
    4. Wait, what gives YOU the right to judge me (and her!)?