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June 1, 2011

Today is, on the Ukrainian calendar, the first day of summer. And it feels like it!

It is strange to think that a month ago, I was getting ready to go to Gaivoron on a photo excursion, and that whole week I was cold – we had highs around 45 degrees F that week – NOT my idea of May weather. Within two weeks I was clad in very different clothing, and opening my windows. As I write this post, the thermometer reads 88 degrees F.

What a short Spring we had! Like, a few days long. It is so strange to not be able to wear any of the “transitional” clothing that I brought, but to go pretty much straight from needing a turtleneck to needing a tank top.

But I am not complaining. In fact, I have been praising the weather lately, probably to the consternation of the women with whom I work. They don’t like warm weather – in fact, right now they have one of the air conditioners going, and hide in the room where it is running (I, on the other hand, am out in the room with the second air conditioner, which they have not turned on yet).

Besides providing me with the ability to walk everywhere (and I have the blisters on my feet to prove it), the warm weather also means that produce season is coming! Strawberries have already come down from 50 uah a kilo a week ago to 28 uah a kilo today! Unfortunately I am headed out of town for a few days but upon my return, I will be purchasing my first seasonal fruit of the year – woo hoo!

After a while, you really learn to appreciate things that most people in the U.S. take for granted. I mean, strawberries are available there year-round…you can find them here in the off season too, but whoooo…I cannot buy them on my allowance! They are most definitely a “luxury” item that most people do not eat except in June.

This is also another time of reflection for me – it is Close of Service time for some PCVs that I know. That means in exactly a year, I will also be leaving Ukraine, or will already have left Ukraine. How surreal it was to call my friend this morning and literally be the last person in Ukraine she talked to as she was on the bus that led to her airplane (out on the tarmac).

It is easy to fall into the “what am I going to do” trap, as I sometimes do – that worry about what the future holds. What I am trying to do instead is to start to plan for it, while focusing on what I am doing here. Especially because the next couple of months have shaped up to be a bit busy…I did not want to be bored this summer, so I made sure to make some plans.

By the way, did you know that yesterday was International No Tobacco Day? No? Well…given that tobacco kills six million people a year, maybe those of you readers who smoke should think about quitting?

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