(All opinions and descriptions of life in Ukraine contained herein are mine. I do not, nor am I qualified to,
express the official opinions of the Peace Corps or the U.S. Government.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

First post from Ukraine! (yes... i'm actually finally here)

Yesh! I finally found a computer with a decent connection!!! Didn't expect it, so this post will be lacking any visual imagery, but hopefully my writing is proficient enough to make up for that deficiency.

Where to start? So much as happened in the past few weeks... I don't really know where to begin. I landed in Kiev, went straight to a little resort to the north called Desna. The second half of Ukraines group 40 stayed for a day and a half for orientation, and we were expedited to our host sites. It was quite the few days. I somehow evaded jetlag and slept great all through training.

My host site is Obukhiv (pronounced Oh-Boo-Cheev). Obukhiv is a small city about 40 kilometers south of Kiev. I am staying with a lady named Luba and her husband Antoli (we call him tolik for short, which reminds me of my little bro named toolie). Anyways, they are very kind and Luba cooks the best food i've had anywhere. It was a very pleasant suprise when I got picked up by her and her daughter, Ruslana who is semi-fluent in English and saw that the house I was to stay in for the next few months was very modern indeed (and most importantly had hot running water!!!).

Furthermore, Obukhiv is quite modern. There is a huge grocery store in the middle of the town that resembles a Walmart back in the U.S., and many small "magazines" which are small corner stores dot the town as well.

In addition, the town is situated about 10 kilometers from the mighty Dnipre River that flows through Ukraine, and has a huge forest on either side of it (which consistently turns brighter and brighter colors as the season progresses). My cluster mates (there are six of us total) and myself have explored the woods, where we have met quite a few characters, but that will be for another blog post which will be accompanied by pictures.

I was thrown into language class the very first morning in Obukhiv, and let me tell you all, four hours of language training from mon.-fri. is the way to go if you want to learn a new language quickly. No rosetta stone could do what I have received from PC in the last two weeks. I can't really speak yet per se, but I can tell you what the guy on the bus next to me is talking about on the phone.

Anyways, I also have taught my first two English classes at the local school, called "schkola tree" (literally translated, school three). It was an amazing feeling to say the least. The first class was a bit of a nightmare, due to the fact it was first period (students were half awake), non-responsive, and me and my colleague were a bit nervous (to say the least). However, we didn't give up and ended up playing hangman for half the class due to the fact we just couldn't seem to communicate with the students efficiently enough to get our assignment across.

The next class (the same day, both of which were 6th grade) were fantastic. Extremely enthusiastic, and very response to the games and assignments that we had planned. It was an EXTREMELY welcome sign after the first class. At the end of the day, I felt this warm buzzing feeling in my chest, similar to an adrenaline high after jumping off a huge rock at the river, or going on a roller coaster, that just made this whole future of teaching really really exciting.

I'm finally feeling the fruition of all the hard work that has led up to this point, and for that I am truly grateful that I have decided to dedicate the next few years of my life to teaching.

Thank you once again to all of you who have been so supportive throughout this whole process, I feel extremely fortunate to be in the position that I'm in today, and feel like there is no where else I'd rather be.

Much love, and I promise to put up some pictures in the next post.

Until next time!
Paka (see ya)!



  1. Nitai! Glad to hear you made it and are doing well!!

    Can't wait to see pictures from this wooded area! Have fun!


  2. I'm so happy to see your posting and know that you have found a way to express yourself once again! Of course I'll be following you so my images can get the broader brush strokes as well as the finer. As Warren's mom, I'd ask you to give him a hug for me when you see him, will you? Also, he will then give one back to you in honor of your folks! Take care, bundle up, and try to stay warm!

  3. Great to hear about your experience. It sounds thrilling! New language, new place, new food, new habits (no internet), new profession. A truly new start.
    I really identify with your passion for teaching. I gave my first lessons in the university, as the semester just started here, and again and again I feel that adrenaline rush. It's the greatest feeling. Furthermore, you're teaching is serving a nobler cause. Keep enjoying it! it'll warm you up at winter...
    Regarding Luba, it sounds that she's not like the Luba I know from the TV here:
    http://www.flix.co.il/tapuz/showVideo.asp?m=3211429 (hilarious)
    What kind of food is Luba cooking? Chicken Kiev? How's the weather? What is your address (so I can find on Google maps).
    Can't wait to hear more.
    Take care.