Cliff Gardner

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The hardest job I'll ever love

Dear Thomas,

Congratulations! It is with great pleasure that we invite you to begin training in Ukraine for Peace Corps service.

When I read that this morning, my first thought was…Ukraine. Ukraine? UKRAINE!!!

My second thought was of that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer and Newman are playing RISK on the subway. Kramer is winning and Newman valiantly declares, “I still have the Ukraine.” Then Kramer makes a snide remark about the Ukraine being weak and some big Ukrainian guy smashes the board into a thousand pieces.

My third thought was to read the rest of the packet. I leave for staging, a three-day event in D.C. for all Ukraine volunteers, in late September. Right after that, I fly to Ukraine for a really intense 12 week training program during which, I’m told, I’ll learn to speak Ukrainian. For the two years that follow, I’ll be teaching English in a high school, probably in a rural area.

I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about anything in my life!


  • Congratulations. :)

    By Blogger Ian Samuel, at 2:11 PM  

  • I think this is going to be so amazing for you. Congrats!

    By Anonymous andrea, at 2:21 PM  

  • oh my god congratu-freaking-lations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'm so proud of and happy for you! celebration time!

    By Blogger Ashley, at 2:29 PM  

  • I am excited too!!! For you! For going to Ukraine (I have a friend from there whose name is snowflake in Bulgarian) not that that is really relevant... but I know you'll do wonderfully and that this will be a great experience!!! PS - I've read through the handbook and watch out, there are all sorts of rules, like no drugs and no sex with the natives. That is my summary, at least.

    By Anonymous melissa, at 2:57 PM  

  • whoaaa that is so cool!! i am super jealous. the ukranians i have met (with the exception of igor my crazy oxford roommate that took bubble baths twice a day) have been really awesome. also, i think they speak russian mostly in the ukraine, just an fyi.

    By Anonymous caroline, at 3:05 PM  

  • That's awesome. Congrats! :)

    By Anonymous shea, at 4:46 PM  

  • I have been excited about this ever since I listened to your message this morning... it's like I'm going or something! haha

    You're awesome!

    By Anonymous amy, at 5:42 PM  

  • Totally awesome news, Thomas! Many congratulations!

    By Anonymous Christine, at 6:51 PM  

  • Congratulations, it sounds like the chance of a lifetime. :)

    By Anonymous Eric, at 9:47 PM  

  • I'm so proud of you, my friend. May God lead you to do amazing things with the children who are blessed to have you as their instructor! Congratulations! Now, we have to get together before you go overseas!

    By Anonymous sharl, at 1:45 AM  

  • I'm so happy for you!

    By Blogger Megan, at 5:15 AM  

  • I'm thrilled for you!!

    Do you think that Mike sells his lemonade in Ukraine?

    By Blogger magic, and with love from Sam,, at 7:19 AM  

  • Oh, the concert is on Monday the 5th

    By Anonymous amy, at 12:55 PM  

  • Congradulations, that is super-d-duper exciting! хорошее везение (good luck!)

    By Anonymous elizabeth, at 12:56 PM  

  • How exciting!!! Congratulations!

    This will be a whole new world for you --- my second cousin did Peace Corps in central America... and figured out he came home a whole new person.

    Good luck and keep us informed!

    By Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory, at 2:52 PM  

  • You rock dude! Congrats. Watch out for dioxin...

    By Blogger truax, at 5:39 PM  

  • Congratulations, Thomas!

    By Blogger Amy, at 6:37 PM  

  • That's frickin rockin dude. You should get in touch with Jen Eidum from UPS. She just got done with a Peace Corps tour in Ukraine...Actually, I just heard she's getting married out there.

    The blog's going to stay in English though, right? ;o)

    By Blogger Your Friendly Neighborhood Clark Bar, at 11:24 AM  

  • woah.. good luck!!!! I know you'll be awesome!

    By Anonymous Kim, at 8:55 AM  

  • Hi Thomas! I just searched blogs by Ukraine volunteers and happened to come across yours. It's exciting to get to know some of the other volunteers that we will spend the next 27 months with. My name is Diane and I'm also Ukraine 31 volunteer! A bunch of us have joined the Ukraine31 Yahoo Group. If you haven't already feel free to join and get to see who some of the other volunteers are. I just started a blog at Twelve more weeks exactly. Guess I'll see you in D.C!!!

    By Blogger Diane, at 10:08 AM  

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