I have so much to tell, I don't know where to start. The host family I am staying with (as of yesterday) is Lena (45), Max (14--knows some English and got me on the internet), and 3 year old Artom, who I have been playing logos with the past hour. They are quite wondeful. Max spent the day walking around the city with me and a group of other PCT (Peace Corps trainees) and their host moms showing us the beautiful old churches and a lovely park.
I am in Chernigi, a city of about 300,000 (though it doesn't seem that big--no high rises, etc) north of Kyiv, not far from the Belarusa border. I'm learning Russian (yeah!) for eventually assigment somewhere in eastern or northern Ukraine, or the Crimean pennisula.
They have a small apartment in one of the old soviet high rises. I have the largest room, which I think normally is their living room. Has a balcony. There are two other rooms, bathroom (with a washer!), and a kitchen.
Unless you have experienced this, and I know a few of you have, it is hard to describe--being in a totally foreign environment, living in close quarters with basically not understanding almost anything that is being said. It is pretty overwhelming, but of course it is only the second day. I'm exhausted!
The first couple of days once we got to Kyiv, which was an ordeal in itself, we were at a wooded retreat center built in Soviet days outside of Kyiv. Some interesting statues--I took some pics, but I'm using the family computer, so I don't know if I will be able to load any. Eventually I will make it to an internet cafe and can load some of them. I saw my first Ukrainian bird there! Something like a chickadee.
Lots of great PCT's, though now I am mostly with my cluster of 5, I think. There are 25 community development trainees in Cherkigi, so I am sure we will see lots of each other. The PC is VERY organized. I love my language teacher, who is basically the person fromPC I will have the most contact with. Her name is Tamila. She is really a delight.
I feel like I need to get off their computer, so more later, I hope. And maybe pics!--I'll talk to Max....