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Somewhat Random Thoughts

May 30, 2010

Written on May 28

A few random things that I have seen lately include:

  • A man riding a bike while holding a scythe. As I was walking to class one morning, I was passing through what I consider the “center” of our village (though I have since been told that the “center” is truly at the end of town, where the monument to WWII soldiers is located). I had my camera with me but I was not fast enough to catch the man riding his bicycle while holding a scythe.
  • Chicks on a bus. Real chicks. The other day I was on the bus, on the way to our technical session, when a woman got on the bus near the bazaar (where chicks, ducklings, goslings, and rabbits are sold), holding a bag that was peeping. It was interesting to sit on the bus and hear “peep peep peep”.
  • Puffs in girls’ hair. I am hoping that one of the Ukrainians who reads this can understand the custom to me and anyone else. On the last day of school, I saw a lot of girls of varying ages wearing puffs, for lack of a better way to describe them, in their hair. In the city I saw girls with the puffs in their hair with a black dress and white apron on – I heard someone say the phrase “French maid’s outfit” but I will not describe the outfit as such…I realize this has to do with a tradition/custom, but I don’t know what it is? One custom I thought was very nice is that most of the kids got dressed up and brought flowers for their teachers.
  • Birds of all kinds. A crane flew over me the other day, and since the rains of the past few days I have seen what I think may be starlings (?) round the puddles left by the rain. My mom asked me last week what kinds of animals are here, and when I mentioned the farm animals she asked “what other kinds of animals are there”? I was at a total loss and have since been trying to pay more attention to the animals. Alas, I am no bird expert, so I will only be able to describe the birds and hope someone else can answer the question of what kinds they are.

I also opened up my window this morning, as I do every morning, to attempt to discern how the weather will be. My success rate at this appears to be getting better, as although it was a bit cool, I believed it would warm up today and it has. But I digress. I stood at the open window and realized that I was hearing sounds I would absolutely never hear where I used to live. In addition to the roosters (these are hard to escape, especially in the villages), I heard barking dogs, neighing horses, cars and trucks driving down the road, and cows lowing. It was the mixture of the sounds, plus seeing just how green everything is, that made me think such.

On a completely unrelated topic, site interviews were this past week. I honestly did not know what to expect, although anyone who knows me knows that I get nervous for any interview. I met with Marat and one of the regional managers, named Bohdan. They were both very nice, and easy to talk to, and soon enough it was over. I will find out in mid-June where I will be placed – I believe the exact date is June 16, but I am not sure, as I did not write down the schedule when it was given to us a couple of weeks ago. I figured I did not need to, as Peace Corps will be telling us where we need to be and when.

At the site interview, my friend and clustermate Gary told Peace Corps he decided to go back to the US. He is the fifth person from Group 38 to go, and his departing is the hardest one for me, because he is a friend. Yesterday was a pretty hard day. I am happy that he is going to do something that will be a better fit for what he wants to do, but am sad to see him go.

On another unrelated note, my mother will be happy to know that I did indeed receive the mail she sent me. And after I get to site and know my address, all are welcome to send mail, including letters and “care packages”, at any time!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Gail permalink
    May 30, 2010 6:53 am

    The french maid’s uniform is the last day outfit for the graduating class. They are black and white in many variations. I have pictures of Ira, Nastia, and Olga (a friend of both Nastia and Olya’s that is currently living in Ukraine and returning again this year to Minnesota to go to the University) in their outfits and am awaiting one from Olya. I think the description of french maid’s outfit is very apt. I came up with it myself the first time I saw it 6 years ago and when I received Olga’s picture last week thought the same thing again. Depending on the outfit, they can seem very inappropriate for a 17 year old to the eye of a midwesterner. Puffs in hair baffle me also but I have seen numerous ones of them and the foreign exchange girls have actually put some in Sadie’s hair while they were here. They are made from fluffy ribbons or scarfs. They are used on special occasions but I really don’t get it. I actually think they look a little funny. You will see a lot of them again on the 1st day of school in the fall – September 1st.

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