I don’t have too much time for a decent post, but I thought I’d put in an update that we made it safely to our training site. We’ll spend the next 3 months here with our cluster of 3 other volunteers learning Russian (among other things). We’re staying with a lovely host mom named Natasha and her mother — our babushka — named Nina. We’re very comfortable in their home, and they take very good care of us (I already feel 10 pounds heavier). I’m very glad we get to stay in the same home — it wasn’t a sure thing since most host families don’t have enough room for 2 guests.
Anyway, we have an internet place in town, so we’ll try to post regularly and give you lots of interesting details (which we have plenty of already).
Quick update! We made it to Philly with no problems. Thanks to Ma & Pa G for taking us to the airport in Charlotte! We met 53 other very cool volunteers. We’re the only North Carolinians, although there are 2 other folks from Colorado, and 1 from St. Louis. (In fact, she and Alex may be 2nd cousins, once removed, or something like that!) There are 2 PCTs from Hawaii, a couple from Alaska, and at least one person from Santa Rosa. Our group also seems pretty diverse age-wise. There are probably 12 in the over-40 category, most of whom have retired. Over a third are recent college grads. We spent about 5 1/2 hours this afternoon doing icebreakers and talking about PC safety and policies, then went out for Thai food for dinner. We’ll be up early in the morning to leave for JFK! We’ll post again when we have Internet access, which may not be for a week or so.
By the way, GO HEELS! I expect lots of emails, blog comments, and facebook posts to let me know how our Tar Heel boys do on Saturday!
Well, the time has finally come. After a year and a half of patience while making our way through the Peace Corps application process, we’re off! I’m nervous, excited, and ready for an adventure! Our first couple of months, Alex and I will be PCTs – Peace Corps Trainees. We’ll be living with a host family and spending most of our weekdays in classes. We’ll be learning either Ukrainian or Russian, and we will also be receiving technical training to prepare us for our youth development positions. We will be stationed within a few hours of Ukraine’s capitol, Kyiv (or Kiev), and will be training in a cluster with 4 or 5 other PCTs. We may not have much internet access during training (or during the rest of our service, for that matter!), so please be patient – we will update the website with blog posts and pictures whenever we can! Remember, no news is good news! We don’t know anything yet about our permanent site – Peace Corps’ unofficial motto is: “be flexible!”
In Ukrainian: До побачення! (Pronounced: do pobachennya! Stressed syllable in bold.)
In English: Good bye!
Or, an easier version: Пока! (Poka!) Bye!
(By the way, the picture is for those of you who doubt my ability to prepare for Ukrainian winters!)