It’s Monday at the library, my last week of work for a while. Friday I take off with Serdar on our much anticipated week-long trip to Krakow and Prague. We will be taking the overnight train to Kyiv, spending the day there, and then catching an early morning flight to Poland. We will return to Kyiv the following Sunday, and Serdar will take the overnight train back to Simferopol, but I will stay in Kyiv for a few days to have my medical exam for extension clearance. I won’t be back to Simferopol until Thursday and then the following Monday have to leave again for a week to go to Moldova to get my Ukrainian visa (!)
I spent some of the weekend finishing the draft proposal for a Peace Corps grant that was due today. Most of my library time last week was devoted to writing the grant, which made me happy. I like having meaningful work to do; what I don’t like is feeling at loose ends and even more than that, feeling frustrated at the slowness of which things get done around there, which seems to be my major focus of angst lately. Of course, I understand that is a fact of how things seem to operate in Ukraine and probably everywhere in the post-Soviet world, but it’s hard not to be overwhelmed with frustration and ultimately, a feeling of hopelessness that anything will ever really change. But as is true of much of my life here, it becomes an occasion for “practice,” in the Buddhist sense. The practice of patience, of trust that it will eventually happen (and all my experience has shown that to be true), and the necessity of trying to stay open to whatever comes up, to step out of the framework of my culture and realize that perhaps there are other ways of doing things. That is, after all, one of my main reasons for joining the Peace Corps—to experience in a much deeper way life in another part of the world.
I don’t really have much to report in the way of activities these past couple of weeks. The hike I referred to in my last blog post never materialized, due to bad weather, nor did it happen the following weekend like we had hoped, also due to bad weather. Though today is sunny and kind of warm, for the most part the weather has been Crimea winter—cold wind, some snow, grey skies. Not conducive to outdoor activities. I do continue to go for walks from home up in the bluffs, and recently was up there right after a snowstorm and it was so lovely with the soft snow clinging to the trees all around me. But extended hikes haven’t been a possibility. We can only wait for spring and the return of the light and warmth.
My lack of trekking around has meant that I have spent more time at home, more time with the family. I especially like Sundays when often everyone is around, doing their own thing but gathering for meals. It’s a nice feeling, being part of a circle of people living together.
I will have much to write about in my next blog post, I imagine. Until then, love to all of you from your pal in Crimea.