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Where have I been?

May 8, 2011

Before I will answer that question, I would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers in my life, but especially to  my mother!

So, it has been a while since I wrote anything here. What the heck happened to me?

The quick answer is that I was out of town, away from Internet and computer, for the better part of two weeks. First, at the end of April, I went to Beregove – finally! I had been wanting to visit my friend Erin, and was meant to go over to that part of Ukraine to help her with a project last fall, but was unable to do so. Therefore, when presented with the opportunity to assist her with this event, I said “of course!” and decided to go over early to do what I could (and I’ll be honest, to socialize a bit with a friend I had not seen in a year).

Getting to Beregove for me was less painful than for some, more than for others. I took a bus to Kyiv, then a 14 hour train to Mukachevo, then a bus to Beregove. During the train trip, when I looked out the window in the morning and saw the Carpathians, with the river we traveled along, in the morning, I wondered whether, if I lived over in Western Ukraine, I would actually feel like I was in Peace Corps. It is so beautiful, and was so green. Where I live is nice, but nothing like this. When I left Kirovograd, we did not yet have leaves on the trees, though the grass was starting to green. It was finally becoming warm.

When I arrived in Western Ukraine, I saw flowering trees and flowers blooming, grass, and it was beautifully warm. One day I even wore a short sleeved shirt with no sweater or jacket!

Relaxing in Beregove with Erin and Theodora

In any case, I was there to help Erin, and in the days leading up to the event, we had a nice combination of working and socializing – her, Theodora, and I. She asked me to photograph the preparations and the event, so I was largely focused on that, especially on the Friday and Saturday of the event itself.

I also had a hotel room all to myself. When I made the reservation, I asked for a small room, since it was only going to be me. Somehow I ended up with the deluxe room, with two single beds pushed together to make one big bed, a bathroom to myself, and a television that had the National Geographic Channel in Russian. It was more than I wanted to pay, but I decided that I had earned it, and as I do not usually travel a lot, I did not try to change the situation. It was nice to sleep in such a big bed!

However, I was there to work, and work we did! But it was fun, and the event went well. I met more Peace Corps Volunteers, spent time with friends, got to see Beregove.

Unfortunately, I did not study my language as much as I wanted to…and it was interesting to be there, because people there speak a whole new kind of Surgik. Because the city is located 5 km from the border of Ukraine and Hungary, many people speak Hungarian. Some spoke a Hungarian-Russian or Hungarian-Ukrainian Surgik. So it was a somewhat surreal experience to finally understand a lot of what is going on where I live, then to go somewhere and not understand anything again. Except for the other volunteers of course!

So the event wrapped up and I returned to Kirovograd overnight, and then it was off on the next adventure!

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