Sunday, August 29, 2010

Euro Trip 2010

My trip was great. I traveled around to five new countries with my Peace Corps friend Allison and her sister. We stayed in hostels and for the most part did the trip on the cheap. Each city had its own personality as well as interesting characters. It was a great two and half weeks spent with many memorable moments.

Here is a bullet point list of some of them. When I eventually make it home ask and I’m sure I can give you more details of to what it was like. (Check out Facebook for all the photos)

Budapest, Hungary:
Dancing at the Club until 3 something to popular American songs we didn’t know
Hot, intense march up to Buda Castle
Enjoyed the beautiful scenes of the Danube

Zagreb, Croatia:
Ate a lot of delicious Italian food
Religious holiday so closed museums but hoping café life near our hostel
Gin Rummy with a cute Australian guy

Vienna, Austria:
Royal Place of the Austria-Hungary Empire
Belvedere Palace and gardens
Sisi Museum and Apartment
St. Stephan’s Church
Night Film Festival at City Hall & International Food

Prague, Czech Republic:
Propaganda Pub & Pub with taps at each individual table
Prague Castle, St. Charles Bridge, Lennon Wall
Great Free Walking Tour
Delicious bohemian goolash
Awesome Romanian, Australian, and New Zealander fellow travelers

Krakow, Poland:
American like amenities of Poland
Two more good free walking tours
‘Schinder’s List’ movie sites
Market Square
St. Mary Church
Tour of Auschwitz Concentration and Death Camp

Got back to Ukraine this past Friday after 14 hours of travel and for the distance we had to travel that’s roughly 17mph. Now, I’m trying to settle back into Ukrainian life. I got a lot of laundry to do. Feel like I need to give my room a good cleaning and organizing before the school year starts.
Can’t believe summer is of 2010 is over. Crazy how fast time flies. Hope everyone back home had a good one. Miss you all.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cheese Braid, Chaco Tan & the "Red Phone"

Super salty and oily but wonderful.


People’s lives don’t stop when you leave.

I will be 24 in less than a month, crazy.

Puking on people isn’t that big of deal on Ukrainian transportation.

Summer weather here has turned me into a Diet Coke addicted (by that I mean 3 a

Think this looks bad, it has faded alot.

I miss: driving in whitey with the windows down, ice, soft clothes from a dryer, my mom’s horrible but hilarious laugh, eating apple sauce with Fritos reclined in crappy chair watching a $1 movie rental in my living room, Pearce, my dad asking me what my “agenda” for the day is, good hugs, Mexican food and Chicago style pizza, mowing the yard, beds long enough for me, singing at church.

I don’t miss: the dogs next door in Berwyn, having to put gas in my car, people around me being able to understand my cell phone conversations, traffic, Cardinal fans, FOX news, humid central Illinois summer weather.

My house has a straight line to the Kremlin.

Biggest frustration: living in a house and feeling like I’m an unwanted house guest.

Biggest challenge: learning Ukrainian or should I say being motivated enough to learn it.

Overall High Thus Far: having a better understand of myself.

Overall Low: not being in two places at once. I’m an absent daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt and friend.

My thrown away old, holey zip-lock washed and hung on the line by my babusci.


1,000+: sunflower seeds I’ve consumed this summer

169: mail sent

125: mail received

100+: pages I read yesterday

66: Ukrainian verbs made into flash cards

36.5: % of service I’ve completed

24: days til school starts

4: shots of vodka that were forced on me at lunch yesterday

3: movies I watched yesterday (Return to Me, Casablanca, Cool Hand Luke)

2: showers that I’ve taken in a 7 day period

0: real haircuts I’ve gotten

Somethings never change, I'm still rockin' the fro look.


Germs don’t exist in Ukraine. You get sick from drafts, not wearing a hat, and sitting on cold surfaces. Vodka cures all: sickness, boredom, loneliness, anything.

No matter how many people are on a bus, they can (and will) get more on it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Peace Corps Learned Flexibility

Ukrainian Overnight Train Ticket $9
2 McDonald Supersize Cokes $2
5th generation iPod $300
4 Bottles of Vodka $20
No money on Life phone $0

Memorable night on the train and the ability to give a thumbs up after being thrown up on by a drunk Ukrainian stranger…

This past week I traveled back to my training village to visit with Allison. I had a really good time with my favorite village people but we will get back to that later.

I had a 9:10pm train from Kiev arriving in Kivertsi at 6am in the morning. Allison had left on an afternoon train so I hung around the Peace Corps office. Mc Donald’s is right by the train station so I figure take advantage of the ability to get a drink with ice in it and get another Supersized Coke or as I said to the lady dosha valeke (very big) coco cola. Boarded the train 20 minutes before it was suppose to leave. I was unfortunate to get one of the short beds that run parallel with the aisle.

I got comfortable and read until about 11 o’clock. Eventually, I put my stuff away grabed my Ipod to drown out the snoring of some old guy who was across the aisle from me. I’m almost asleep on my side with my head facing the side of the train when a guy stumbles against the set of beds I’m sleeping in. At the same time, I feel a liquid hit my shoulder, back and bed.

Yep, I just got puked on. The guy was attempting to get to the end of the car where there is a bathroom but was like 1/3 of the car length to short. In the next section, the lady in the same spot as me got booted on too. I sat up and was like seriously. Luckily, I had a shirt at the top of my backpack so grabbed it and changed. Then I striped the sheets of the bed because they both had absorbed this man’s digested dinner and vodka.

I walked to the end of the train car to ask the train person for a new set, they were fresh out. Went back to my bed and was like I have to text someone this crazy Peace Corps story. Unfortunately, I hadn’t put money on my phone so my story would have to wait until morning to share. The rest of the night I sat there in 90 degree heat and puke stank having to go the bathroom but not wanting to go into the bathroom where the guy probably had gotten sick all over.

It was gross when it first happened then I quickly was like this is a pretty good story. I’m overall thankful I had an extra shirt and the fact I was sleep on my side facing in. If not I would have been unlucky enough to have it splatter on my face. Always a silver lining.

So back to visiting the village. My host family apparently on vacation in Crimea (looks like plans for me coming to visit were lost in translation somehow.) I did get to see the daughter of the babusci because she had to come back for work. So we caught up as much as we could with my horrible language skills. The rest of the time I spent hanging out with Allison’s host family who I was pretty close with in training. The best day was Friday when we went out to the river on the outside of town, swam and had a BBQ.

Now, I’m back at my site hanging out until the 10th when I will travel through Eastern Europe with Allison and her sister who is flying to Budapest from Chicago. Hope everyone is well at home and they are enjoying the last part of summer. Miss you all.