a peace of amy

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The final post…

It’s taken me a while to post, I wanted to wait until everything was final. 

If you have been watching the news since January/February, you have most likely seen a story or two or 30 about the country I lived in for the past year. Those reasons, potential threats, and the actual over-take of a part of Ukraine (Crimea) is why we were evacuated. On February 24th, I left Ukraine, and so did the 228 other volunteers. From Feb 23-25 we were all flown at different times to the DC/Maryland area. We had a 3 day conference that was to like hang out and learn about our next options.

I’ve been back in the United States for about 6 weeks, going on 7. And I haven’t been doing very much. Luckily for these 45 days Peace Corps has still given me a small allowance, as they would in Ukraine, so that has been helpful. As of April 14 (next Monday), I will close my service as a current Peace Corps Volunteer and have the status of “Returned Peace Corps Volunteer” (RPCV). I don’t want to say that I won’t be a PCV anymore, because I always will be. I served for 12 months, not 27, and that is a huge bummer for me, but nonetheless, I was a volunteer. And I loved it. I didn’t want to leave, I didn’t want to come back to America, but I’ve had my time to deal with it and I’m okay. I’ve really enjoyed the time back with my family and my friends. I’ve started to look and apply for jobs (…something I was REALLY looking forward to avoiding for another 15 months haha) and I’m moving along as I would have come May/June 2015. 

I didn’t exactly get a proper goodbye in Ukraine. We had to up and leave within a quick time frame. Luckily I took the “pack your apartment up just in case” suggestion seriously, and did that, so my belongings that I had to leave behind in Ukraine (yes, everything) will be sent to me at some point within the next few months. Hopefully. I have been wearing the same outfits for the last month. I bought new shoes because all I wore back were winter boots. I am starting to buy spring/summer clothes because I literally have none of that here to wear. It’s been a good time. 

I have Skype-d with my Ukrainians a few times since I’ve returned. They were so hopeful the whole time, wishing I would return, and it makes me sad that I won’t be returning as their volunteer. They are extra sad that they can’t celebrate my birthday with me this week and my counterpart, Iryna, told me that she has gifts for me that she will put in my belongings that will be sent to America. I didn’t get a proper goodbye, so I definitely want to make plans to get back to Ukraine just so I can get the closure that I need and see my students one last time. I hope that I can work that out, but I guess I’ll need to find a job first. 

So, my Peace Corps service will end soon (April 14th), a bit early. And at this point, I’m choosing not to start over the “27 month commitment” anywhere else for a few reasons. If I could go and finish the 15 months I have left, I would, but that is not how it works. 

Thank you to those who kept up with my life in Ukraine and supported me through it. I appreciate all the love and kind words I’ve received since beginning the Peace Corps last March. Living in Ukraine is something I’ll never forget, the  Ukrainian people and my friends there are people I’ll never forget, I was so lucky to get placed in such an amazing country and for it to be my second home. Ukraine was so good to me, and I only hope I can continue to talk to and teach others about it. 

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instagram:

Documenting the Kiev Protests on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from the protests in Kiev, visit the Independence Square and Barricades location pages or browse the #Kiev, #киев, #євромайдан and #euromaidan hashtags on Instagram.

Protests in the Ukraine capital of Kiev have escalated this week with barricades being set up in Independence Square. Instagrammers have taken to their phones to document the uprising through photos and videos of the protests.

Scenes show clashes with riot police as President Viktor Yanukovich enters into crisis talks while demonstrators continue to call for his resignation. The movement began after a landmark trade pact with the European Union was rejected.

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group after the concert in Hannah’s village. 

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Pictures from home:

Cheeers to being in America, Hannah and Lyndsi, New Years!

Mother, Brother, Father :-)

Andrew, Emily, and Tdog!

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the latest.

My last day in Prymorsk was December 23rd. I started my day off by going to the school and getting lots of Christmas/New Years cards (details in the post before this.) Then I went to work where we all had lunch together for early American Christmas and to say goodbye to me before my journey began. The director made sushi for us, which was so nice (she knows it’s my favorite) and we had other food and of course vodka. After that, Iryna and I went to some shops. She bought me a really nice crest of Ukraine for Christmas and took me to buy some Prymorsk magnets. On the way out of the store, we stopped by her friend’s shop. The shop was for like handmade grass woven baskets? It’s hard to explain. And she put fake flowers inside these baskets as well as little dolls, created a whole scene. Anyway, so I was looking around, being nice and all of the sudden the lady just chooses one and puts it in a bag for me and tells me to have it. It was so nice of her to give me one of her baskets for free. I was loving the generosity of everyone that day.

On Christmas Eve, I left Prymorsk (my town) for what would be 3 weeks, but I couldn’t really say or advertise that because I had a really big secret to keep until the 30th. I traveled to my friend Hannah’s village. It’s about 4 hours away from where I live, so not too bad. Except I had a backpack and a pretty heavy suitcase to lug around, but it ended not being too terrible. 11 other volunteers came to her village as well. We had all planned to celebrate Christmas (and Hannah’s Christmas Birthday) together. Once everyone arrived on the 24th, we ate dinner and then exchanged presents- secret santa style. My friend, Suzie, had my name and got me a really cute scarf and some nail polish- both things that I love. I had Peter, and he asked for a special pan to cook Ukrainian pancakes in. I couldn’t think of something silly to get him, so I went with what he asked for. We all discussed the plan for the following day and then decided to get some sleep. 

Christmas Day: we all woke up early, ate breakfast and got ready. We were at Hannah’s school by 9:00, I believe. December 25th is just another normal day in Ukraine so we decided that even though we were all together, we would still work and teach lessons. So, the 12 of us split into pairs and co-taught one lesson, 3 times in a row. I was with Peter and our lesson was on Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. We (and by we, I mean mostly Peter) did the lessons in Russian and it went really well. After all the lessons were over, we had lunch in the school cafeteria and then went back to Hannah’s to rest before the evening activity. The community had their New Year’s Concert that evening and we were invited to perform a song during it. So we practiced a dance that afternoon and headed to the concert hall around 4:30pm. The concert lasted about 2 or 3 hours, I forget. All of the performances were so good, even little kids danced around which was so cute. When it was our turn, we started off by singing Happy Birthday to Hannah and the Ukrainians handed her a huge cake. And then it was our time to shine. Yeah, we can’t really sing, but it was still fun. I will upload the video if I can.

The next day we just kinda hung around. Suzie and I had a train in the evening. Which we missed. Because we went to the train station before our train, and the board clearly said that our train was going to be 40 minutes late. So total that gave us like an hour total before our train. We decided to go to a restaurant to grab food in the meantime. We returned to the train station still, 15 minutes before our new train time (or so we thought) and our train was no longer listed on the board. This meant one thing, it had already come. So we are like “welllll shuuucks” and got in line to see what our next move could be. Well the first line I got in was to ask if our train, indeed, had come. And the lady said yes. So we got in a different line to buy new tickets. The ladies there laughed at us for “going walking” instead of staying at the train station. Whatever, we thought we had plenty of time! Luckily, there was another train to get us where we needed to be like 30 minutes later. We got on and went to sleep. Arrived at the next train station at 2:30 or 3 in the morning, bought another new train ticket to our destination of Kirovgrad. That train came at 3 something and we almost missed that one because the train was 30 cars long and we went to the incorrect/opposite end and had to run to our correct train car. We weren’t going to make it so we begged to get on at car 8 and had to walk through all of the cars until we made it to train car 1. It was a mess, especially with my suitcase and backpack. I have never sweated so much in my life. So we arrived in Kirovgrad at like 4:30, took a taxi to our friend Natalie’s dorm and crashed. Suzie got up the next day and headed home, I stayed with Natalie for the weekend (which was my plan all along.)

Staying with Natalie was fun and relaxing. We basically watched movies (Love Actually and Frozen) and shows (Nashville) and ate food. Stuff we’re really good at. She made really yummy pasta with alfredo (but really with a cauliflower substitute) the first night. The second day we ventured out into the city and ate at this really good pizza restaurant. We got a 4 cheese pizza with the cream sauce and it was sooo good.  On Saturday evening, I had a train at like 10pm headed to Kiev. This was the last train I would have to take for two whole weeks, which was super exciting. 

December 29th: Got Kiev at like 5am, killed time and sat in McDonald’s until the sun came up (it’s right across the street). And then I kinda just walked around the train station, looking at stuff, bought a ticket for the 14th of January to get back to Prymorsk. Around 10, I headed to the airport (where could I be going?!?!) Kiev airport is about the most boring airport you could ever be in. I couldn’t check-in until an hour before my flight. So I sat in a chair and either read and looked at my phone for a couple of hours, then it took me like 3 minutes to get through their security (didn’t even have to take my shoes or jacket off). On the other side, just as boring. There was maybe 5 gates and 1 duty free shop full of alcohol and perfumes. So again, I sat for another 2 hours. Finally my plan took off from Kiev at like 2:10pm. I’m traveling backwards time wise, so I got to London 3 and a half hours later at 3:50 London time. I ended up sitting beside another PCV on the way to London, which was funny. She was traveling back home as well! We got through security and stuff in London, grabbed some Starbucks and got onto our next plane (where we weren’t sitting next to one another) and took off at 5:00pm. I chose my seat in one of the rows closer to the front thinking I could get off the plane faster, mistake. Allll of the babies sit in the front! Because the bathroom is right there. I had three babies in the row in front of me. And one baby (who ended up being really good) right beside me, in the next seat over. It could have been the babies, or the screaming 3 year old, or my nerves, or my thoughts, I don’t know, but I did not get one single minute of sleep on that 9 hour flight. We had to fly over a storm so it took longer than expected. Luckily, Lyndsi had been checking and didn’t have to wait too long, I think. So by 9:30 or 10 at night we were back at her house. By this time, I had been up 24 hours, by body thought it was 5am Ukraine time. And I was a zombie. We stayed up talking though until midnight I think. What a day the 29th was. 

30th: So I wake up, shower and get ready (I actually have to look pretty for the first time in 9 months, whaaat.) And then Lyndsi and I hit the road and head to Harrisonburg, which is conveniently halfway between Manassas and Salem. And my other bestie, Hannah, also happened to be there for Christmas break. So, Lyndsi, Hannah, and I all got lunch and caught up with one another- it was grrreat! Then…. it was time to get to Salem. My super awesome boyfriend came to pick me up in Harrisonburg and we headed home.

Story: My mother, Candy, has NO IDEA that I am in America. No clue. I have been keeping this secret since August when I bought my tickets and I was about to surprise her! So like 5 minutes away from my house.. I called my brother, and told him to get mom to stay in her room. Which she did. So Andrew dropped me off, and I went inside and stood in the kitchen. I really had not thought this out. I decided the kitchen was a good place. And I also didn’t know what I was going to say. So, Adam brings my mother down the hall and she is like “somethings not right” and she takes forever to turn the corner into the kitchen. So for some reason I said “boo!!!!” really loud which scared her haha. And then she just stared at me for like 5 seconds and started bawling and hugged me for a long time. It was so great, and I’m really happy that it all worked out and she never found out that I was coming! After that reunion, I went to surprise my friend Amanda as well. She was having a bad day, but I think I made it a little better :-) 

After all that was over, it was time to enjoy time with my friends and family for two weeks. I celebrated New Year’s even though I was jet lagged, ate all my favorite food, went shopping, listened to country music, snuggled with my puppies, drove my car (!!) and took awesome showers every single day. I loved my time at home. I’m coming again in September for my mother’s 50th birthday, my sorority sister’s wedding, and my cousin’s wedding! So that will be a super busy trip for me.

I left the States on Monday (Jan 13th) and it was pretty tough. When I left in March, I was way too excited for what was ahead to be sad. I’ve been here for almost 10 months- I knew what I was going back to. I love Ukraine, but I guess it’s only normal to be a little sad to leave everyone behind in America…again. Either way, I made it back to Ukraine on the afternoon of the 14th and then got on a train and go to Prymorsk the morning of the 15th. I’ve pretty much been sleeping since then. I’ll get back into the groove of things next week, I need several days to recover and adjust back to my life here :-) 

Pictures/videos to follow! 

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So today I went to school before work. I walked into a 3rd grade classroom and all of the students stood up (like always) and started singing “we wish you a Merry Christmas” as best they could and when it was over their class teacher gave me 15 Christmas cards all drawn by the kids! I’ve been to their classroom once as a guest and they wanted to do something special for me! They are 8 years old! It was so cute and all of the cards are great. They all wrote “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” on them and drew a picture. There are pictures of Christmas trees, snowmen, snow, the Ukrainian flag, and even one British flag (hey, it was a good effort, so close) and several portraits of myself thrown in there. It was a pretty great way to start a Monday! Especially Christmas Eve Eve!

So today I went to school before work. I walked into a 3rd grade classroom and all of the students stood up (like always) and started singing “we wish you a Merry Christmas” as best they could and when it was over their class teacher gave me 15 Christmas cards all drawn by the kids! I’ve been to their classroom once as a guest and they wanted to do something special for me! They are 8 years old! It was so cute and all of the cards are great. They all wrote “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” on them and drew a picture. There are pictures of Christmas trees, snowmen, snow, the Ukrainian flag, and even one British flag (hey, it was a good effort, so close) and several portraits of myself thrown in there. It was a pretty great way to start a Monday! Especially Christmas Eve Eve!

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Thanksgiving food, drinks, table - that’s about all the pics I took. Thanksgiving package from Tonda! And my Christmas decor (haha). Some school kids with their masterpieces, the sunset I mentioned and me and students after the HIV/AIDS lesson!

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November recap

Woah, 2013 is almost over! We’ve now entered into the last and final month of the year. I survived missing my first major American holiday that centers around family and it wasn’t that bad. I think Christmas may be a little tougher, but I will have to wait and see. Seeing pictures of everyone’s Christmas tree and house decorations going up is so fun and festive, but also a little bit sad. Hopefully some festive-ness will make it’s way around Prymorsk as the new year approaches (that is what they celebrate first, then Christmas on the 7th of January.)

November was pretty good. In the beginning of the month, I started an advanced English club which has been my favorite for obvious reasons - the participants actually understand English, for the most part. I wanted a club where I didn’t have to teach the language, just give people the opportunity to practice speaking and having conversations in English. It’s not a huge group - usually about 5 people, but that is fine with me. They aren’t totally fluent which means oftentimes they aren’t that willing to speak so it’s difficult sometimes, but we’re working on it. 

I did, however, meet an English teacher from another school (Lyceum, as they call it) in Prymorsk who has excellent English speaking 11th graders. Some of them come to my English club, but I have also been to their school to help with lessons and speak English with them. Today, actually taught a HIV/AIDS lessons at the Lyceum the class of 11th graders. Yesterday, Dec 1st, was World AIDS Day but since it was a Sunday I decided to wait until today to get the message out. HIV/AIDS is a growing problem in Ukraine and part of my PC Program is to create awareness among youth/adults/all Ukrainians so we together bring the number of infected lower and lower. Educating Ukrainians is very important so I was happy to use my resources and show a video and give information, definitions, statistics today to a group of young people to make sure they practice safe sex and know the facts about HIV/AIDS. Next Monday, I’m going to have some type of Domestic Violence presentation/lesson for the same class since we are currently in the “16 Days of Action Opposing Violence against Women” (every year from November 25 - December 10, remember that.) So, between HIV/AIDS awareness and DV awareness, I actually have had a chance to be busy at work! Two of our specialists at my Social Services Center each have one of these as their responsibility. They have been in the community and schools/college giving presentations and information themselves. I piped up finally and asked if I could do presentation in English, too and they said yes. Julia (the woman in charge of HIV/AIDS) went with me today to watch my presentation and although she doesn’t understand english, she told me “good job” afterwards :-) 

November and December also marked the end of Group 42’s service here in Ukraine. From November 15 until December 13 they all have a date that they chose to pack their things, say goodbyes, and head back home to America. Three of these volunteers lived close by me in the city of Melitopol (within an hour by bus) and one lived in Berdyansk (40 minutes by bus). In mid-November, I headed to the village outside of Melitopol where Chelsea and Sarah live and we met the three Melitopol volunteers (Kerry, Logan, and Cynden) and had brunch and just hung out and it was great! The next day, Chelsea and I went to Cynden’s apartment and looked at all the stuff she wanted to give away and took what we wanted- that was great. I got a few of her sweaters, so many school supplies, and an awesome Starbucks french/coffee press. This past weekend, 10 of us gathered together at Kerry and Logan’s apartment in Melitopol to have a Thanksgiving celebration and a last gathering/send-off for the group 42-ers (the three Melitopol volunteers, Sarah from Berdyansk, and a guy from Crimea.) We (as in…other people) cooked food alll day Saturday and ate dinner together, it was very nice. Then we played games and ended the night watching Pitch Perfect (Cynden and I have excellent taste in movies.) Sunday we all woke up, ate leftovers for lunch and watched Space Jam, which was another excellent movie choice. There were like 2 or 3 people out of the 10 of us who had NEVER seen the movie! Talk about missing a classic. After the movie it was time for me to catch a bus back to Prymorsk.

Hmm.. what else has happened in November. 

Oh, actual Thanksgiving Day! That has come and gone. It was just another normal day here in Ukraine, which is fine. I decided to be a tiny bit festive and make pumpkin bread for my co-workers to enjoy. I walked into work with it and my counterpart, Iryna, said “what is that for?!” to which I replied, “Today is Thanksgiving in America!” And she was shocked that I didn’t say anything sooner. She had so many questions about what we do on Thanksgiving, what we eat and drink, who we hang out with. I answered her questions and told her that I would show them the presentation I made for my students. And Iryna also asked everyone else if they wanted to have lunch together to celebrate Thanksgiving in a way, to which everyone said “yes!” So we went to the store and bought all of the food (and vodka, of course) and prepared lunch and ate together and said “Happy Thanksgiving” in English or Russian. Then I went to school #2 for my English club. I showed them the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving episode - because even if you don’t understand the English being said, it’s still fun to watch. And they made the hand turkeys and wrote in English “I am thankful for..” and 4 things they were thankful for, with my help they all put Family, Friends, Health, and Food. One girl put beautiful weather, which made me smile because that was her own thought/idea. 

Other than that, things are getting chilly here. The wind is crazy usually everyday. The sun hides behind the clouds mostly, although there are maybe 1 or 2 sunny days a week for now. Got to see a pretty sky during sunset on Thanksgiving thursday last week. Speaking of sunset, that time over here would be around 3:40pm everyday, which has taken some getting used to. It’s dark before 4:30pm and at first threw me off a little, but I’m adjusting.

The biggest news is probably what’s been happening for almost 2 weeks here - and that is all the protests and this revolution! Exciting stuff. The Ukrainian President made the decision NOT to join the EU (European Union) and side with Russia and it’s leader and a few other countries. This has upset Ukrainians terribly who feel they deserve to be part of the EU. They started protesting in Kiev immediately and now the protests and expanded to the big cities in Ukraine and also around Europe! As anPCV I’m not allowed to talk about it much, my opinion is my own, but I am proud of the Ukrainians standing up for themselves. They’ve been free from Russia for over 20 years and finally had a chance at joining Europe and that was taken away from them. Police in Kiev are now beating people (including women), using tear gas, and stun guns, it’s getting pretty intense. If you have time, google “Ukraine” or go to any news site (CNN, NYTime, Kyiv Post) and read about what’s going on. Hundreds of thousands are protesting right this second. They want their government leaders to resign and they are making history. I mean the Peace Corps has banned volunteers from going to Kiev (where our office is located) until further notice if that tells you how big this is. Look it up! Follow the world news! www.kyivpost.com is 24 hour coverage and stories. 

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instagram:

Ukraine’s Tunnel of Love (Тунель Кохання)

To see more photos and videos from Instagrammers who made the trek to the Tunnel of Love, be sure to visit the Тунель Кохання / Tunnel of Love location page.

Three times a day, a train chugs through Ukraine’s Tunnel of Love (Тунель Кохання) transporting wood to a nearby fiberboard factory. The train molds the surrounding trees into a natural tunnel with each pass through a three-mile forested stretch of rail. The tunnel, nicknamed the Tunnel of Love (Тунель Кохання) has become known as one of the most romantic places in Ukraine. Local legend promises couples who visit the tunnel one wish, provided their intentions are sincere.

The trees are most lush in spring and summer, but this year’s fall colors have brought fresh new hues to the tunnel. Soon, snow will cover the tracks before the green returns in spring.

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Tuesday story time

Apartment problems are much harder to understand in another language, or maybe I’m just good at pretending to not understand things that I don’t want to deal with.

I was laying on my couch watching television when around 18:00 (6 pm) my doorbell starts ringing violently. Now, my doorbell isn’t your ordinary lovely ring sound. It’s a high pitch bird chirp. So, let’s use our imagination on how much annoying noise my ears were filled with during the 10 or so seconds it took me to get off the couch, turn on the lights, and unlock and open my door. It was bad.

A few things: although it was only 6pm, my mind for some reason made me believe it was super late at night so my first thought was “who could that be?” Maybe it was the kid upstairs who randomly asks me for help with his English homework, maybe someone was bringing me dinner (hahaha that never happens, I’m dreaming). Anyway, the sun sets here now around 16:00 (4 pm) and it’s completely dark by 5 which still throws me off. So I thought it was later than it really was. Second, the incessant bird chirping led me to believe something was urgent. I am usually wary of answering my door at night but I also have a fear of people on the outside being able to hear me approaching the door to look out of the peep hole.

Anyway, so I rush and open the door and find the 80 or 90 year old man that lives below me standing there. He starts speaking fairly slurred and mumbly Russian and pretty much says something is wrong in his bathroom and he wants me to come look at it. Umm…. Well, at this point I had no idea what do to. I definitely wasn’t about to be lured into this old man’a apartment (even though he’s harmless, he can barley even walk) and there was no one else around to help me. So I did what I do best, and pretended not to understand him. He repeated himself several more times and I made confused faces and shouted “YA NEE PANEEMAYOU” (I don’t understand) to him because his hearing is gone. He kept saying “come here, come see what happened” blah blah and so finally I was like “okay hold on” and went into my apartment and grabbed my cell phone. I called Iryna (my Ukrainian partner/coworker who helps me with all apartment related issues) and she didn’t answer. By the grace of some higher power my next door neighbors came into the building while this was happening. I lied (oops) and told them that I didn’t understand what he was saying so my neighbor started talking to him. During this Iryna called me back and my neighbor thank goodness, explained to her what was happening because my Russian wouldn’t have been as detailed or complete. So the poor old man is still talking when a neighbor from the 4th floor hears the chatter and comes down, too. This is the mother of the kid who I help with English so I know her and I know she came down to help me out. Plus the veterans of the apartment building all know each other so it’s better. She talks to the old man and we all (old man, next door neighbors, me and 4th floor neighbor) go to his apartment directly below me to see what he is talking about.

The whole time I am thinking “my bathroom is directly above his, what is it is my fault and there is some sort of excrements all over his bathroom I’m going to be so humiliated what will I do” and so on. Luckily, none of that happened. The man’a bathroom is in rough shape. There was a gaping hole in the floor and what he was trying to show me was a slow leak in his bathroom ceiling, which was old and cracked and in bad shape. So my neighbors are all looking at it and talking and finally my 4th floor neighbor friend lady (Tanya) let me look and said “look, this is not your fault and it’s not your apartment, it’s so and so and so” which I actually didn’t understand, something in the walls. I just felt better after they said it’s not my apartment. I would have felt bad for my landlord to have to deal with that. So they all explained to the man that it’s not coming from my apartment and they called the apartment manager lady over to take a look. Two ladies arrive in their pajamas like 5 minutes later (they live in the building) and take a look at his bathroom and then also check out my bathroom too just to be sure. They confirmed that my bathroom is fine. In fact, they kept going back and forth to be sure. They went into my apartment and bathroom 4 or 5 times. All the while I am just standing in the stairway with a bunch of my neighbors. So we called Iryna back to let her know everything was fine with me and my apartment.

Then Tanya asked me if I had water and I was yes, of course. But she was really asking if I had extra water in buckets or bottles because the main water was turned off for some of the apartments because of the man’s leak. I am not Ukrainian and always am fortunate enough to have running water, therefore, do not keep buckets filled up “just incase”. So she filled up a bucket for me in her apartment so I could use my toilet, brush my teeth, and do stuff like that. So nice of her! after that, I thanked everyone for their help and shut my door for the night.

My thoughts on this event: first, what did the old man think I, alone, would be able to do for him by looking at the leak? I literally would have said “oh, that’s bad. I do not know what do to. Let me call someone”. Second, I have really great neighbors. Afterwards, they were like “if you need anything again just ask” which was really nice. Most Ukrainians are that, very generous and willing to help me out. Third, I just returned from a trip yesterday and my apartment looks like a tornado blew threw it. And this event caused about 5 people to come in and out. It never fails that whenever I have surprise visitors, my apartment is messy. Well, that’s because I pretty much only clean when I know visitors are coming. Ukrainians are very big on appearance and cleanliness so I can only imagine what my neighbors think of me haha.

What an evening. I love this place.

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