As much time as we spend working, PCVs do manage to etch out a some free time. Our network is small and tight around these parts so this fall when two large groups began to head home (over 150 people) going away parties consumed almost every weekend.
Kyiv is an easy enough meeting ground. When my sweet friend Theo (featured in the second photo with short, dark hair and amazing skirt) found a curling rink in the city, dozens of volunteers showed up to try our hand at the Canadian sport. Why not? We're of international taste.
Sadly, I am not good at this sport. For some it worked and for others, we became the cheering section. To amusement of everyone, the curling session came complete with trophies, medals and an array of 90s American classics belting from the speakers.
These ladies below are from my oblast. They showed me how to maneuver village bus lines or host an great seminar or cook real asian food in tiny kitchens. I miss their friendship, listening ears, and humorous come backs dearly. Luckily, I can guarantee we will have a stateside reunion in 2014.
(left to right) Sara, Niza, Meredith and Caitlin.
After moving to Zvenyhorodka in late summer, I had much free time on my hands so I put my hands to work. A single week of overwhelming heat and zero farming in August allowed me the opportunity to cook birthday/holiday gifts for my cluster mates. I was forced to wait until Thanksgiving for all five of us to be in the same room but it was quite worth it.
The finished pieces and their owners.
Thanksgiving is most of American of holidays. No one else celebrates it. Others may attempt to understand it but they don't. Last year, we celebrated over a small dinner in Burty. This year, dozens of volunteers from Central Ukraine gathered at Anna's house. Everyone brought a dish of their own creation and a tacky sweater. We ate for hours on end sharing battle stories and what we will do "when we get home again".