Cliff Gardner

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Packing up

When Peace Corps Volunteers finish their service, they frequently have far too much stuff than they can actually pack, and usually this benefits the newer PCV's in their region. I had taken advantage of this on several occasions, but this time, it was my stuff that was pillaged by my friends.

Last weekend Rosa and Wendy came to Ochakiv and took a lot of stuff that I couldn't possibly take with me, and it was a mutually beneficial transaction--they got a bunch of DVD's, bedding, towels and general office supplies that aren't available here, and I will now have a much easier time packing. However, one big thing warrants mentioning. I had left all of the stuff I planned to leave or give away in my old apartment, so when Rosa and Wendy arrived, that's where we went.

To my surprise and annoyance, I discovered that during the two weeks I had been gone from that apartment and my landlady and her husband had moved in, they had purchased and installed A) a brand-new stove with four awesome burners and an oven that could actually open/be used (instead of the crappy "no oven and one mediocre burner" that I had) and B) a brand-new hot water heater (you know, so they could actually shower instead of heating up water in buckets and pour it over themselves).

So, to review, after living in the apartment for two weeks, they found it so miserable that they made two fairly large purchases to make it more comfortable and "livable" for them, apparently not caring that that's how I was living FOR TWO YEARS. Ukrainians repeatedly ask PCV's "how can you live like this?" I never understood until last weekend that THEY don't live like we do--they live much better and much for comfortably. On a related note, I'm coming home in 8 days where I will be able to shower whenever I want with hot water and bake things for fun.


  • Yes, Ukrainians watch their pennies so when the time comes they can splurge on things they want/need. I did/do know employed Ukrainian people there who live in truely miserable one-room flats with terrible infrastructure problems. I was in and out of some scary flats. I have no doubt that the money we paid in rent made a huge difference in the quality of life for our landlord and to their friends who probably got a kickback for directing us to their rental unit.

    Despite everything - I miss my crazy life in that flat by the Black Sea...and I REAAALLLLY miss my Ukrainian friends.

    Life is good...

    In Sunny Santa Fe
    Ukraine 2005-2007

    By Anonymous Virginia, at 7:52 AM  

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