As of tomorrow (21 September) I’ll have been in Ukraine for exactly one year. It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since I arrived in this country knowing about five words in the language and even less about the people and culture. A year ago tomorrow I was thrown into three months of Pre-Service Training, living with a host family that spoke no English while learning a few new Ukrainian words a day and being introduced to the Ukrainian education system. I met wonderful people in my PST cluster-mates. They’ve seen me at my best — kicking butt at vocab grab games — and my worst — anxious and not able to sleep. Now we can look back on intense PST experiences and laugh. And we’re lucky enough to live in the same general area of Ukraine now and so will continue to share experiences for another year and a bit.
In celebration of one year in Ukraine — actually not really, it just happened this way — I ran my first (and possibly only) marathon this past Sunday in Kyiv. I finished in 4:45.10 or so — not as fast as I’d hoped but I finished nonetheless. My friend Kim and I ran together — both running our first full marathons — and six other PCVs ran the marathon while a bunch of others ran the 10K. Let’s just say it was an interesting marathon for the following reasons, aptly summed up by my friend and fellow runner, Paula. The course consisted of:
a 4km road we ran up and down 10x, dodging pedestrians, bikers, cars, and construction, and them running out of regular water and giving runners carbonated water instead. If you want to run an extreme marathon, come to Kyiv!
Ridiculousness. I’ll be returning to the half marathon distance — much preferable to my mind and body — on 31 March in Prague!
On a totally different note, 21 September is also the International Day of Peace, aka World Peace Day. Please take a moment or two to think about what peace means to you and what you can do to make the world a more peaceful place. Also, watch this video from The Miniature Earth Project — it’s eye-opening and makes me so grateful for what I have.
And happy autumn! I’m making this applesauce tomorrow to celebrate. How are you ringing in the fall?