(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.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Final First Bell

It's amazing that the summer is over. It feels surreal to me. Not because school is starting, not because the weather is getting colder, but because I have so little time left in Ukraine.

The idea didn't really strike me quite as hard as it did yesterday when I heard that first bell going off. I don't know where all the time went, but it went that's for sure.

It was really nice to see everyone after a long summer of working at summer camps and travelling. The first thing I noticed was how much everyone grew! I forgot how fast kids grow, and my 7th formers are all almost taller than myself. Scary. I personally don't remember growing so fast. It's cool to see the changes.

Anyways, this was my last first bell. Yes, it's an oxymoronic statement, but to me it rings of sentiment. A lot of emotions came up- first and foremost how much I have become a Ukrainian myself.

It's quite amazing how much i've integrated. I felt like yesterday was a totally normal day with all the little kids dressed up in their finest suits or dresses, and songs being sung, and half- drunk fathers trying to take pictures of their kids while maintaining their footing. To me, it's normal, nothing here strikes me as culturally shocking anymore. I don't even flinch when someone comes up to me on the street and asks me for cigarettes, I don't think twice if I see 4 dudes on the corner at 6 in the morning drinking vodka out of plastic cups. I think it's perfectly normal to brush my shoes before I go out.

All these little things that I thought were insane before seem perfectly sane to me now. Not only sane, but necessary in many ways. I like it when babushkas yell at me and tell me that I need to be wearing warmer clothes. I think it shows that they care about me.

Finally, I think i've realized how much I am going to miss all these cultural nuances when i'm gone. I don't think that Israel will be a huge leap as America would be, but i'm sure I am going to miss a lot of things here when i'm gone. I have about 3 1/2 months left, and I know from my overall experience here that that time will fly by. I can't believe how fast 2 years have flown by. It's like a blink of an eye really. Guess the saying holds true, time flies when you're having fun.

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