So…another two weeks has come and gone. From Aug 17-20 I was in Kyiv at an In-Service Training for Peace Corps – maybe one of these days when I go to Kyiv I will actually be able to see some of the city that I want to see! I stopped at the PC Office and met a few volunteers I did not know, picked up the eyeliners my friend Erin was kind enough to bring me when she went to the US, and talked to the doctor about this hair loss issue. He said he thinks I am losing my hair like this because of stress. I do wonder, though, because I had stress in the US too, but never lost hair like this – it is crazy. I try not to worry, which then adds to the stress, but it is hard not to. In any case, he thinks it is stress, and I am trying to do anything possible to improve the situation – someone told me she is drinking milk here, and has noticed an improvement in her hair. Another person told me of a home made conditioner of sorts, and also about an herbal hair and nails supplement. So I am ready to do all of these things – anything to help. As to the stress, there is little I can do about that situation at the moment.
After the IST I had the fortune to spend a few days in Lutsk, visiting my friend Terry. He had told me that it was Lutsk’s 925th “birthday” and it was also, on the 24th, Ukraine’s Independence Day. When he told me of all the events that were going to happen, I invited myself to visit him for the weekend, and after IST in Kyiv, left for Lutsk. It made it a pretty easy trip – I left Kyiv on the 3:00 marshrutka and got to Lutsk around 8:30.
Because Terry works for the city council, we got really good seats to all of the concerts/events. Because of that, I was able to get some pretty good photos, so I am grateful to him for allowing me to come, and to the people with whom he works for being so gracious and allowing me to attend all of these events. I shared my photos with Terry, to share with the people at work. They can be found at Picasa at: http://picasaweb.google.com/112481827122705160344/Lutsk?authkey=Gv1sRgCJjKo4e3rqqwSw#
A few of the events were: speeches about Lutsk; a concert and dancing on Saturday night; making bagels and brownies (okay, this was not an official event but I was excited, as I don’t have an oven); another set of speeches Sunday morning; lunch at the nicest restaurant in town with the visiting dignitaries from other countries, after visiting the castle with them and the mayor; a fantastic dance concert; dinner with the mayor and dignitaries on Sunday night; flag-raising ceremony on Monday morning. That is it in a nutshell. I made Terry walk a lot so I could explore and take photos, but he was nice and humored me. I also bought a bunch of wooden bracelets (most for gifts) and wanted to buy a Ukrainian blouse (but could not find one less than 330 UAH. Yes I know that is not a lot in USD but it is a bit out of my budget).
Returning last Tuesday was interesting, as I took the marshrutka back to Kyiv, took a metro (and then another) to the bus station, and took the bus home. I left Lutsk at 8:00 a.m. and arrived home around 7:30 p.m., so it could have been much worse, travel wise and the time it took. But I had to go through Kyiv, when logic would tell me that there should be an “easier” way. Ah well, it looks like for most places in Ukraine, I will go through Kyiv to get there.
So I am back in Kirovohrad. I missed the Independence Day celebrations, though they really did it up in a lot of places – from the people I saw at the metro station in Kyiv, it seemed that way, and they were in full swing when I got back to Kirovohrad.
It was so interesting to visit the western part of Ukraine and experience the strong sense of nationalism they have there. They were wearing the Ukrainian shirts, singing the national (and oblast) anthem(s), and generally really proud of being Ukrainian. I am interested in seeing how we do it when my city has its “city day” next month, to see how it compares. It is a different feeling though, to be there versus here – I am not saying better or worse, just different.
On Tuesday we have Freshman Inauguration at the university where I am working (technically my secondary site, but that is where I spend my days). I will be giving a speech to the freshman, in Ukrainian – wish me luck! I hope they don’t laugh at me.