Since my last post, it feels like a year’s worth of events have happened in a short amount of time. Where do I even begin: With the epic trip to Crimea, volunteering with the Ukraine Special Needs Orphanage Fund, Camp HEAL Rd.3? All of those will receive appropriate attention. However, there was a slight detour into Chisinau, Moldova after Crimea that really just needs to be told first.
As per each COSing (Close of Service) group, all volunteers have the ability to apply for an earlier date, up to a month prior. For whatever reason, the vast majority of my friends applied for the very first two or three days available: May 16th, 17th, and 18th. It had long been a plan of mine to go up and join them for one last big send off, Group 41 style (for a finishing group of 91 people, we were all pretty close for the most part). However, due to my extension and the new policy for foreigners in Ukraine, the other extendees and I all had to go to Moldova to get new visas…guess when we went…
While I much rather would have preferred a trip up to Kyiv, little sleep, tears, and whatever else it would involve, Moldova was actually a nice little stop. It is another Peace Corps country, but we were only there for a short amount of time, we didn’t really have time to meet up with PCVs there. Everyone talks about Moldovan wine; from my my counterpart Ivan, other volunteers, to my Ukrainian host mother who is actually Moldovan born (she told me which wine to get…I have no idea if I succeeded or not). The Moldovans we encountered were friendly, helpful, smiled a lot, great customer service, and made strong attempts to speak English with us. The irony of our trip, pointed out by Dave at dinner our first night, was that it was easier for us to communicate in Russian than in English.
This about says how that felt
Now, we’re all legal. We all have our Ukrainian Posvidkas, the majority of my group is gone, and the rest are good to go until our extension COS date.
If you’re ever bouncing around Eastern Europe, spend a day or two going through. Visit a vineyard or take a drive through the countryside, your dollar will go extremely far. Enjoy some pics I took until my memory card filled.
While this has really been the first week that I have been able to sit back and really start to miss people from my group (which I do), my summer has been awesome so far and there is still plenty to do before I leave in December. Luckily for me, I like to meet new people, so the support group that remains – while different – is still awesome! Can’t wait to share these last five months with current PCVS, RPCVs, friends and family back home, and anyone else who stumbles across this blog.
Future posts: Crimea in May, USNOF, Camp HEAL