About a week and a half ago, when I was in Kiev, I was lucky enough to be able to meet with someone with whom I had been put in contact, who works for the Rule of Law program here in Ukraine. We had a great meeting, and she asked me to conduct some training sessions in Kiev this Thursday, Friday and next Monday, and again after my trip to Prague.
Well, of course I was interested in doing so! What was even better was when she said they would provide me with a place to stay – a hotel or “American standard” apartment. Then she said “would you mind staying in my guest room, or would that be a problem?”
Um, guest room? I reminded her that she was talking to someone who did not have high standards when it comes to places to stay – when I am in Kiev, I usually stay at a hostel because it is all I can afford on my allowance (and that is WITH my discount).
So it is that I arrived this evening to her apartment, and, well, I had forgotten what it was like to be in an “American standard” apartment. First off, it is BIG. I am staying in her guest room/art storage/office. She told me to feel free to “raid” her refrigerator and when I saw it, I felt like I was looking at my mother’s or sister’s refrigerator, it was so full.
On a side note, I never kept a huge amount of food stocked in my refrigerator or cabinets. Maybe it is because I moved around a lot, maybe it is because it was just me and I don’t eat a great deal. Whatever the reason, I never had a full fridge and am always in awe when I see one.
When I saw her tub/shower, it was inviting me to take a bath, which I have already done. Then I found out that her television has satellite and she has wifi. All I can say is wow.
I must have looked like the biggest rube to the woman who let me in, oohing and awing over things, but you have to remember that as Peace Corps volunteers, we live very basically. At least I do. I don’t have satellite television, wifi, or even a real kitchen (but I have an indoor toilet and water heater, which in this country means a lot). It is just kind of amazing how in just over a year I have become so used to how people live here that what most Americans consider “basic” or “standard” is something that to me is now a luxury.
It really makes me appreciate, yet again, all that we have in the U.S. and what we take for granted. And I get to be here for seven nights!