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September 23, 2011

It is no secret to anyone who knows me or reads my blog that I have had a couple of “down” weeks. It is amazing, though, how quickly things can seem to improve, usually right after I feel at my lowest.

It began yesterday, with a visit to the Technical College. The teacher with whom I work there wanted me to meet some of the third-year students. As usual, they were a bit shy to ask me questions, and the usual questions surfaced – “Why do all Americans eat fast food every day?” is always, always one of them. I tried to explain the concept of stereotypes, and how dangerous they can be. After all, the United States is a country of more than 300 million people (I believe the census counted 308 million plus last year). I was also asked what is the most popular car in the U.S. right now and had to answer honestly – I don’t know anymore. I have been away from the U.S. for 18 months – I do not particularly know what fashions are there or what cars are popular. I do know that the economy is still struggling. They were not really interested in that though…

Then my day was already made when Vika told me that the man who runs the Computer Science Department had been able to help her when she also had been targeted by a virus that sounded suspiciously similar to the one that hit my flash drive – and yes, I still had not been able to recover items from the past six months, which as it happens, was a lot of stuff. All I can say about this man is that he is a miracle worker. He wrote his own program to disable the effects the virus(es, and malware) had and allow me to be able to view my files again! He even wrote a special version of it to work with Windows 7, since that is the operating system I use.

After that, you would think it would be a slow day, but yesterday was the opening of a new photo exhibit at the library – a group of photographers had gone to the Carpathians and taken some wonderful photos. I got to see some people I had not seen since the photo excursion to Gaivoron in May. Of course, whenever I see these people, some sort of craziness seems to happen, and yesterday was no exception. But it was good craziness, and a good day. I was already starting to feel better and somehow, these crazy people helped me.

Believe it or not, I functioned 95% of yesterday in Russian. Mostly listening, but I did some speaking. I still need to improve but…it felt good to be able to do it.

However, nothing compares with what happened to me this morning. I had been at the library no more than five minutes when someone from downstairs came and retrieved me. She told me that some visually impaired children from a local school were using the computers that we got with the grant I wrote, and would I like to come down and see? Of course I did. I cannot describe how good it felt to see the children using the computers and the other items that our partner organizations provided. It literally brought tears to my eyes more than once during the time they were there. These are children who, if their families have computers at home, they cannot usually use them. However, with the adaptive technology and programs on these computers (and games), they were all able to take a turn. I asked their teacher how often they were to come to the library, and she said twice a month. There are also older students they plan to bring to use the computers as well.

Sometimes it is nice to get the reminders of the good things I have done here. All of the teachers were thanking me, as was the deputy director of the library yesterday during our little luncheon after the opening of the exhibition. But I am not here for them to thank me – I emphasized that it was not me who did the project – it was the team. I just helped them with the grant. I don’t care if I get a lot of recognition, because that is not what is important. What is important is that the effects of what I have done will last – that the proverbial seed has been planted, and that this technology will enable them to continue to reach out to populations who would not usually use their services, or have access to information.

In my darkest hours, it is sometimes hard to see the good things that are around me. Somehow, I am able to bounce back out of it. Going through depressions, though, makes me appreciate even more the times of normalcy.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    September 23, 2011 7:54 am

    Your last sentence is revealing. Perhaps that’s why we get depressed–to be able to appreciate the good things in life once they are revealed. I’m proud of you and happy for you. Just keep goin on……

  2. R. Strina permalink
    September 26, 2011 2:49 am

    Congratulations, Karin on the accomplishment of having worked on getting the grant for this project at the library! Very touching! Thanks for sharing! More greetings from fall-like MN! I think we are having ‘our Indian summer’ this week! Cheers, Renate 🙂

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