Lazy days and introspection
It has been a lazy few days for me here in Kirovograd. I worked a half-day on Friday – well, not even. I was prepared to work a half-day when I was told it was time to close up. So I was given my New Year’s gift of ice cream, got on a marshrutka, and went home to my guest, who had been relaxing. As I was not able to convince him to leave the rooms (well, I did not try too hard), we had a nice dinner then watched movies, and toasted the new year when it arrives.
New Year’s Eve celebrations have never really been a big draw for me. As many people know, I am not a big party person, and as my friend Eve recently put it, New Year’s Eve is “amateur night” when it comes to drinking and such. So in the past I have worked it (I was a “shot girl” one year and made around $300 in tips that night, though they were hard-earned, let me tell you), been to smaller celebrations, and spent it with family. This year I followed my pattern and spent it in a low-key manner, with a friend.
Yesterday was spent fighting with my Internet, reading, and watching a couple of movies. And eating. Again, I am eating more than I normally would and am trying my best to feed B. He lost what I would call an alarming amount of weight in his first six months at site and I am trying to ‘fatten him up’ again before he finds out where his new site will be. Not that he was ever fat – that’s the thing. He was already tall and thin and became thinner. So we have been cooking – I used up one of the precious stir-fry sauce mixes that my mom sent me one night, and some of the herbs she sent making spaghetti sauce out of tomato paste-ish sauce last night. His being a vegetarian makes cooking a little more challenging here (because though I rarely eat meat, I eat chicken and cannot fall back on that with him!) but we have been doing fine, and have had a few indulgences – nutella and potato chips. More than fine. I believe between last weekend and this week I am rapidly gaining back the weight I have lost since I have been in Ukraine. Trying to not worry about that.
I’ve also been thinking. (Uh-oh, we know that this is dangerous for me to do). I have to say that “A’s” illness has impacted me more than I realized it would. I sent her an e-mail to send my love and prayers her way, and she sent me back one that was pretty profound and ended up bringing me to tears. Here she is, sick and undergoing chemo, and still spreading love, telling me that I am a wonderful person. I wish there was something I could do for her. And I have been thinking of her and how giving she is with her love and light, and wondering why I keep mine hidden away. I wonder how I can be more like her, more generous with my love. Being here in Peace Corps is not enough, because I sometimes fall back into my old ways of protecting myself. I need to figure out how to be able to show people my inner self without fear. I have always been an honest person, but always hold back at the same time, never really letting everyone see who I am, or who I can be. And I have never been able to figure out why.
So even though I am not hard at work right now, my mind is still occupied. The fact that it is a new year is coincidence – I am always trying to figure out how I can be a better, kinder, more loving person. I don’t think I have yet achieved what I can in that respect (or in my professional life – that’s for another day). As I am here and doing this without the benefit of a trained psychologist or psychiatrist, it should be interesting to see what I come up with in my reflections and self-examination. Whatever it is, you, my readers, will know about it.
Pictures from my visit to Izmail can be found on Picasa.