Sunday, December 26, 2010
Where in the World is Alexandra Angel?
Goooood question. And one that gets answered S-L-O-W-L-E-Y if you are a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Clue 1: (Given in February 2010) In one of 70 countries around the world
Clue 2: (Given in March 2010) In Eastern Europe or Central Asia
Clue 3: (Given in July 2010) In the country of Ukraine
Clue 4: (Given on Dec 14th 2010) In PC Region 5 of Ukraine, in Lvivska Oblast
And finally, ladies and gentlemen, the riddle is solved, the question is answered: Alexandra Angel is in the town of Соснівка (Sosnivka) in Western Ukraine. And after, well I guess more than a year, of waiting, I finally know where I am.
So we have a settting. But what about a cast of characters, a plot, the scenery, lighting, a conflict, the climax… These things will arrive slowly too.
Yet some more quickly than others.
The first scene has already finished in fact–my arrival in Sosnivka.
I got here at 5 in the morning. My train stood in the station for all of ONE MINUTE as my counterpart and I shuffled all my 5 bags off the train as quickly as possible, with the help of the train conductor. It was a definite relay; a whirlwind start to a jam-packed day.
Fast forward to 9:45am; I walk into my school for the first time and am greeted by two lines of rosy cheeked children, holding multicolored balloons in their hands, and forming a tunnel for me to walk though, all the while, shouting “Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!” Am I in a dream?
I am ushered to the Director’s office, then to the teachers’ office, where different children greet me. Dressed in the starched white, and beautifuly embroidered traditional costumes, they proceed to rattle off a quick presentation about Ukraine, showing off their English speaking skills, and finishing the performance with a rendition of “Jingle Bells.” They sing through the second verse, which I don’t even know!
More ushering about, more moving, and bustling, and scampering, and scooting. I’m given a tour of my school, the art room, the English classrooms, and the museum of children’s works. I’m presented with gifts from the students.
Finally, off to what will be my dwelling place for the next two years…a small flat not five minutes walk from school. More dashing too and frow, collecting my luggage from one house and moving it to my own. Then a tour of the town.
And lastly, ahhhhhhh. Collapse on the couch. Only 10 minutes later to have my power go out.
Welcome to Ukraine.
“So, again, tell me where you are Sasha?” you ask. Well, physically about an hour north of Lviv, maybe 50km from the Polish border, in a little mining town of about 10,000. But the real answer is still a mystery. Where am I? I have no idea. Each day is a race, each day is a new question. Scratch that. Each day is a Marathon and each day is 100 new questions.
But what’s life without a little mystery, a little discovery, a little romance? Life is a question mark. My location, my destination, my present, my future, my life have yet to be discovered.
Welcome to Ukraine.