— Beasts of the Southern Wild
thepotatomuseum asked: Glad you're safe. Anything to share about potatoes in the Ukraine? I'm a former PCV.
Buy them by the kilo from the bazaar. Dirtiest = freshest = best.
Evacuation: boiling beets and dancing to Russian pop music. Can’t get enough.
Where the E means Evacuated.
I’m currently sprawled in my family’s home in Wyoming, after an exhausting week of flights, a Washington D.C. conference, and making myself sick on guac and salsa. Peace Corps has evacuated the Ukraine program. We’ve been sent back to the states on a 45 day “Administrative Hold”. For 45 days, we wait and watch. If the higher-ups decide it’s safe for us to go back, then we’ll be back to our sites and working again by mid-April. Or, the higher-ups will decide it’s not safe to go back, and then our options are complicated.
It’s strange to think that, just a few days ago, I was sitting in my apartment in Krasnodon burning my scrambled eggs and dreaming of home, where life is comfortable and smells like sugar-cookie candles. Now I am home, and it does smell like sugar-cookie candles, and it’s horribly depressing. Getting evacuated from a “revolutionary” country wasn’t as exciting as it sounds. Lots of late nights and card games. What is devastating are the people we’re leaving behind.
Ukraine is a rich, complex country, with beautifully ordinary citizens. I can’t claim to have achieved much after only 5 months in-country, and I certainly have less invested in my relationships than the volunteers who have been in Ukraine for a year or more, but this hurts. This hurts somethin’ awful. The people I love - my host family, my coteacher, my colleagues at school, my students, my friends, the Peace Corps Ukraine staff - they don’t have the “Administrative Hold” option. I can leave, but this is their reality. I can cry to Peace Corps “send me back! I need to go back!”, but this shouldn’t even be about me. This is about Alie, Tanya, Svetlana, Kola, Vladimir, Zahar and Nastia. It’s about Krasnodon, Chernihiv, Kiev, Crimea. It’s about the babushka selling potatoes, the old men and their fur caps, the mashrutka driver and the salesgirl at the grocery store. It’s about a brave, tumultuous country, and change.
It’s not about me. But guys, I really really really need to go back. The mustard in the United States is disgusting, and I can’t deal.