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!

Family Photo 7 Dec


From L to R: Aunt Darcy, Aunt Dyan (who just turned 50!!), and my mom. I love ‘em all!

Volunteerism Presentation

I gave a presentation, “Volunteerism in America,” a few weeks ago. My university department wrote a story on it (with photos!). Check it out at: Google Translate can give you a general idea of what the article says, since this one is only written in Ukrainian. At the bottom of the page, there is a photo slideshow with a nice photo of me and the student who served as my translator, Galina. Thanks to her, the presentation went very well!

Eastern Rinok 1 Year Anniversary

In 4 days, the Eastern Rinok project will celebrate it’s one year anniversary. It has been amazing to work with Ukrainian artists, and see how much the project has grown, even in the 4 short months that I have been involved. As of today, Eastern Rinok artists have sold 174 items, which brought in  $4,732.80 in sales. This is, simply put, amazing.

There are lots of exciting things going on in the project. Right now, my friend and Eastern Rinok trainer, Lily, is conducting a training series for 3 new artists in Sumy (my city). Ideally, the Ukrainian trainer is completely in charge of the training, and the Peace Corps Volunteer serves in a support role. Lily did an excellent job at yesterday’s training, and I truly get to be in the ‘background.’ Go Lily, go!

There are some great new blog posts and updates on our website, If you haven’t visited yet, I suggest taking a moment to check it out!

We also are working on a new website, developing new training materials and updating current trainings, as well as bouncing around ideas on how we can improve the project. I can’t wait to see how year 2 goes!

St. Nick’s

It has been a family tradition to celebrate St. Nick’s Day on December 6th. If you aren’t familiar with the tradition, check out the Wikipedia page for it:

My always amazing parents sent me a St. Nick’s package, which arrived in mid-November. After three long weeks of waiting, I got to open it! Yum yum yum!


Thank you, Mom and Dad!

My Winter Running Outfit

For the first time ever, I’m actually running during the winter cold. Yak Traks have been a lifesaver and 100% essential for running on the packed snow and ice. I figured I’d share a little photo of my kick-ass running outfit. Yes, I get stared at. A lot.

Winter Running

Besides adding an early 90′s flare to the outfit, the turquoise leg warmers seriously make a huge difference in keeping me toasty!

Happy to take any comments!
  1. Lily says:

    You’re so kind to me, thank you :)

  2. Dyan says:

    Hey Ash- for the record, the Candy Cane Cookies made by your Mom were the perfect size (sorry Mugs), the Hershey’s Kisses were unwrapped perfectly by your Dad and the Cookie Baking Day was a rousing success. Made all the better with the wonder called Skype that allowed us to have you with us too!
    Half a Century years old….hard to believe. I still have avoided being a grown up. :-) . Love you. Dyan