And what have I been doing in all that time since I've been back? Well... a whole lot of everything ordinary, plus a huge heaping of looking for full-time employment (or part-time, I'm not picky at this point). I have been reveling in hot showers, the ability to run without being stared at or chased by little dogs, not being stared at in general, the ease of using my native language, being close to my family, fast/working internet, and an abundance of fresh produce, though there are pieces of Ukraine I miss and think about.
Packing up and leaving was stressful in its own ways, but mostly it wasn't too bad. I managed to drag my 50lb frame pack, regular backpack, fire extinguisher, space heater, and a very heavy and unexpected bag of food from one of my English teachers all the way to Kyiv, and once I got there life was easy. I said goodbye to everyone I wanted to, and my school gave me some very thoughtful and traditional Ukrainian gifts, like an embroidered cloth, a Russian/English history book, CDs with photos, a photo album, candies, a bottle of vodka, cards, and one of those beautifully painted decorative cutting boards. I made some banana bread and brought it in for my teachers to enjoy with their lunch time tea, and ended up having tea and a wonderful conversation with many of them on my last day. There was also a little presentation in front of the entire student body with my Director and one of my English teachers thanking me for my service. In true Ukrainian fashion, I had no advance warning and had to come up with an impromptu speech in Ukrainian to tell them all how much I loved working with them and getting to share in their lives for a short period of time. Regardless, it was a really sweet and thoughtful ending to my time in my community. I also had a couple students cry, which was a little bit heartbreaking but I left them all with my email address and I've been lucky enough to hear from a few of the ones who have access to internet.
My dedicated Ukrainian corner. And yes, I bought those nesting dolls because a little cat and chick pop out at the end.
The past six months have felt like limbo where I've been trying to work out my next move, and finally I'm moving on to something else. I'm going to be spending the summer interning at a family member's law firm, and I'm excited to have something to do and expand my brain and learn new things and explore new places.
I've been debating what to do with this blog - to let it rest or continue blogging about whatever happens next or shut it down - and I've decided to let it stand as is. I like the idea of my Peace Corps service having a dedicated little space of its own, like its own little chapter of my life, where I can look back on it or new people can discover it for themselves.
Thank you for reading, and taking part in this adventure with me.
Signing off, with love.