Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jud's Umbrella

When we were volunteers-in-training in Chernigov, my language cluster-mate Jud and I went to our favorite bazaar looking for umbrellas. Jud bought a bright blue umbrella with a silver lining . Perfect! We both thought it was an appropriate symbol of our Peace Corps experience: Always look for the silver lining.
Now we are at our sites. We have been in the midst of a brutal heat wave for the last few weeks. Jud in Konotop in northen Ukraine, Barbara in Sevestopol in Crimea, Rita in Severodonesk, just about any PCV anywhere in Ukraine, reported the same story: it's so hot! It's taken the energy out of most of us, but we push on. Ukrainians talk a lot about "global warming." They know what's going on.
Last night the lights went out and a cool front from Russia moved in, bringing rain and relief from the heat. The lights are back on and the rain continues. When I stopped in the Biblioteca today to talk to Iryna, the director, about the English club, she asked about my planned trip "to the sea." Yes, I said, we leave tomorrow. At first I was surprised she knew about it, but then I remembered what a seasoned PCV had once told us: when you're a PCV in a rural village, everyone seems to know what you're doing at all times!
I said in halting Russian, going through my dictionary, that I was looking forward to it. Too bad about the weather, Iryna said. It's okay, I replied, rain or shine, it will be a great trip. I thought of Jud's umbrella. Always look for the silver lining!

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