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Lazy days and introspection

January 2, 2011

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.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    January 2, 2011 10:19 am

    Dealing with our mortality makes us appreciate life so much more, and it becomes easier to open up and give because we realize how precious (and short) that life really is. The profoundness of it is never lost during those times.
    Having lost my mother to cancer and other friends in other ways, I understand your place right now.
    You have always been open and friendly, as have I. Most humans are friendly once we get past their protective layers which are normal in the face of the unknown (which usually means new people, among other things).
    We harden with age because we understand that humans are very frail and it’s difficult to continually look past those frailities and see the better person inside. It takes a very humble, forgiving person to do so in the face of such things as unfriendliness, nastiness or even attacks on oneself.
    One technique is to immediately mentally put yourself in that person’s place and try to determine a means of reaching through that place. Successful leaders usually have this quality, although even they have frailities. It’s the bain of human existence.
    The fact that you are being introspective and critical of yourself means you are intelligent and sensitive. Nothing wrong with that. It’s far more desirable to be that way than thick headed and unmoving.
    After you work through this period, do something physical. That always helps break the mood, I think.
    Example: After a day of idling yesterday, today I layered up and walked a mile in -10 weather. Loved it! Wish I could have done more.
    I’m glad you are enjoying the goodies I send. Just wish you would get the newest box soon, since your dad picked out a few things in it for you.
    No matter what, just remember you are loved by your family, friends, and most of all your Creator.

  2. Renate Strina permalink
    January 3, 2011 12:26 pm

    Hi Karin,

    Happy New Year 2011! My New Year’s Eve was a quieter one compared to others I have had! It’s okay sometimes to take the time to reflect on things and in your case – you have had a lot to reflect on for 2010 and have done an awesome job at keeping your family and friends posted on your experiences. A BIG THANK YOU to you for doing that, Karin! We may not always know how to respond to your posts, because we cannot take away any pain or hurt you or even anger you are feeling, but we can sympathize with you and we can encourage you to ‘hang in’ there. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts, your feelings, and emotions; I didn’t know you for very long when we did work together, but I’m getting to know you now! May 2011 have challenging, but good things in store for you! God bless, Renate

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