It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d upload some pictures from the past month!

I went to Kiev twice – once to run the marathon with some friends and the second time for our closing Peace Corps service conference.  Despite the half marathon being chaotic and frustrating, I still had fun seeing some friends.

Danielle, Sara, Alison, me, and Lydia before the race

The COS (close of service) conference was a week later, and so I had to make the 18 hour trip again.  It was a busy conference, filled with sessions on resume writing, job searching, adjusting to life back home, and the million forms and documents we have to sign for Peace Corps.  There are about 75 volunteers in my group, and due to size of the country (and slow transportation), there were plenty of volunteers that I had never met before.  It was still really interesting to hear about everyone’s two years here, how they’ve changed, and what’s next.

Group 40!  Groups come to Ukraine every six months, so these are the volunteers who all arrived in Ukraine at the same time I did.


All the volunteers in the Eastern part of the country posing like serious, Soviet coal miners. We’re a very scary group, apparently.

Our two training groups that trained in Obukhov together!

I have a little over a month left in Ukraine (crazy!), so I’ve been trying to do better about taking pictures of some of the day-to-day things.  Here are some pictures of my daily life that I don’t think I’ve posted before:

The apartment blocks one evening when I was out for a run

The bus stop at 7:15 am. It’s a serious fight to squeeze my way on to a bus each morning!

The school kitchen

The schedule of lessons. All the teachers are listed on the left-hand side and then it shows, by lesson, which class each teacher is teaching.  I’m number 13!

After my attempt at a girls leadership camp, those same students insisted on continuing our Uno games into the school year.  Now we have a weekly Uno club!  The Dara of two years ago (or even six months ago) would have insisted on including something educational, but at this point I’m just glad they want to spend time with me.

Uno Club

On Friday, we celebrated Teacher’s Day at school!  In Ukraine, every profession has its own holiday and because so many women are teachers, this is one of the biggest holidays here.  We were greeted on Friday with chocolates and flowers from the students, we had a concert at our school followed by cake and champagne, and then a city-wide concert in the community center.  And then, all the young teachers all went out to a cafe that night to continue the celebration!  To be honest, it was probably one of my favorite days in Ukraine thus far.  I could really feel how far I had come with all the teachers.  We were able to joke together, reminisce about my two years, first impressions etc.  It felt like all my efforts to be friends with the teachers might have actually worked!

Some of the 11th graders giving the teachers a cake at the end of the school concert

With Oksana, the school psychologist. She was one of my first friends at school!

All the teachers after our cake and champagne celebration. As we were getting into place, one of the teachers suggested that everyone should “smile like Dara does everyday!” And look, some of them are actually smiling!

Celebration at the cafe that night

Overall, it’s been a really great month and I can already see how difficult it’s going to be for me to leave.  How do you try to wrap up a life of two years?  There are so many things I need to do, people to say goodbye to, things to give away, good bye parties to plan.  But at the same time, the closer I get to November 16, the more excited I get to be back home again.  Fortunately, I know I’ll be busy right up until the end, which will be good.  Being busy means I won’t have time to dwell on being both weepy and thrilled about leaving and coming back home!









3 responses to “Pictures

  1. I’ve been following your blog for the past year and enjoying your stories and updates. Congrats on (almost) 2 years in Ukraine! : ) Life must feel very bittersweet right now. Any thoughts of staying in Ukraine or you’re committed to going back home?

    • Thanks! And no, I don’t have plans to stay in Ukraine. It’s been a good two years here, but I’m ready to go back for a little bit. I hope you enjoy your remaining time in Kharkov! I was only there a few times, but I really enjoyed it.

  2. Oh, yeah, Katherine – I’m pretty sure Dara’s gonna re-up!

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