Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas with the Luongos

We are not proud.

Goodbye Vladimir


The preceding 3 photos were taken from the Novomoskovsk webpage .
The first photo was taken by me when I was still living in Ukraine. I could see the statue from my balcony.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Departure is Closer than I Realized

Yesterday I received a bunch of e-mails and attachments from Peace Corps Albania. Funny how I had forgotten the load of stuff they send you before you even leave for training. In fact, I think PC Albania sent me more stuff than PC Ukraine!  Anyway, today I took some time to muddle through it all and as I was reading the "Welcome Book" it suddenly hit me that I would be leaving in about 12 weeks! Of course, this means I have only a mere 10 more weeks at my job...HOORAY!!!!!

So, onward to training this March.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

To Wile away the Hours....

...that turn into days and into weeks and, well, you get the picture. Suffice it to say that work is one big awful daily happening and I am starting to get antsy for the day when I am schedule to leave the states again. It's not enough to stay busy but I need to be uber-crazy-busy to not think about how much I don't like going into my job every day.

Wow. that didn't take long, did it? I've been there, what, six months?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

So here's the Skinny....

Peace Corps is trying to make the process a lot easier in order to attract more applicants. The last (and highest ever) number of applicants currently reached 17,336 as of October 8th. Why? To make more work for themselves? I mean, really? According to the Peace Corps official website,  the last count showed that there are only about 7200 openings around the globe (as of last September).

I believe that throwing out the latest tasty carrot; "You can choose where you want to serve" is what is driving up the numbers. Huh. Unfortunately, this is not quite true. Take my case. I was given a choice of 3 countries. After carefully weighing in on all three, I chose Indonesia. Where am I going? Albania. Not that I'm complaining. I'm happy to serve where ever I am needed most. And I do love Eastern Europe, so what's my beef?

I guess what the Peace Corps is trying to do is attract a greater number of qualified volunteers but this may end up back firing. When I served in Ukraine there were 500 of us...500!  The largest number of PCV's in any one country at any time. By the time I left, our numbers had dwindled by 200 and they were planning on skimming more off the top. The reason? Budget cuts. Not only did they cut the number of volunteers, they cut our allowance as well.

So, if the government was severely cutting back on services then, then why would they wish to attract more applicants? As far as I can tell the US is still not back on track with our economy. Wouldn't it make more sense to try to get along with the numbers they have rather than adding more volunteers and cutting services?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

News Flash...Life is Calling

I got my official invitation from the Peace Corps yesterday and I find myself returning once again to Eastern Europe!  Next stop, Albania!  I don't know a thing about Albania, but I have a friend from Romania who says it's beautiful. I saw some pictures and it does look rather nice but you never really get a good sense of anyplace until your feet actually touch the ground.

Some of the people I've told have expressed concern for me since I wasn't placed in Indonesia...the country where I was nominated to. I'm not disappointed in the least! In fact, I'm actually very excited to be returning to Eastern Europe...and to a country where they use a Latin alphabet! Huge bonus for me, absolutely. Maybe this time around I'll have a lot less stress about the language. To this day I am still able to think in Russian and use Russian words but it's an enormous relief to not have to try to converse with someone!!

Interesting fact: Albania is about the size of Maryland, yet has only 3 million people! This amazes me as there are almost a million folks here in Rhode Island and you can fit about 10 Rhode Islands into Albania!  More on this country as I learn about it.