The Real Winners and Losers

It is said the Olympics are about international ‘unity’ and a celebration of the best and brightest athletes… not about the medal count.

However around this time, I get strangely patriotic. I enjoy seeing my fellow Americans – many of whom have dedicated their entire lives to their sport… win.

I enjoy seeing that America can excel in so many events.

On so many levels.

I enjoy seeing that despite our economic recession and the fact that many argue that the American dream is slowly dying…

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That young American snowboarders, skiers, and skaters can show us that if you work hard… you can still succeed.

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… that no dream is too big or too impossible.

To see the pure joy on the faces of so many deserving American athletes ignites a sense of hope.

But yesterday, I was kind of happy we lost

I know the Women’s Biathlon Relay doesn’t get as much attention as skating and it isn’t as exciting as the snowboarding events.

However watching the Women’s 4x6k Biathlon Relay, I was so happy, and moved…

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I cried.

What happened in the Women’s 4x6k Biathlon Relay was as moving, as watching the US ‘Miracle‘ game against Russia in 1980, or when the ‘Magnificent Seven‘ won in the gymnastics team event in 1996…

Because you could tell that win was about more than a medal… Continue reading

The Real faces of EuroMaidan

This video:

 

This is the Ukraine I know.

These are the Ukrainians- who invited me to their kitchen tables, taught me how to make Borscht, found my American accent charming (rather than annoying), and made sure that I never forgot to wear a hat during the winter…

These are the real faces of EuroMaidan and their hopeful faces, will change Ukraine – forever.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

-Margaret Mead

Cлава Україні! (Glory To Ukraine)

Stay strong Ukraine.

We are with you.

The Heart of Ukraine

It has been 3 months since, I’ve been home… and as expected I left a huge part of my heart in Ukraine.

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It’s hard to know when you’re teaching a group of eager youngsters that they were born into a country- that is considered one of the worst places to be born in 2013.

But during my service I never felt like Ukraine was a ‘hopeless cause’… I always felt as though it was one of those rare places where hope could be right in front of you.

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In its people…

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In its children…

Maybe it took really being there to see the beauty of ‘that country‘ that has been on the news lately.

I miss the heart of ‘those people‘ so much, that I can still see the beauty in Ukraine even though its capital is on fire.

I’ve been trying to distance myself from the news lately… because when a country you love is facing the prospect of martial law and is on the brink of collapsing.

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It is hard to watch. I know the people ‘over there’.

They are more than a 1 minute news segment, they are very real people.

Continue reading

The first of so many “lasts” and my message to America

I still have some posts to make from my adventurous summer. But I don’t want to give the wrong impression a majority of Peace Corps. service- you simply stay at your site and do your job.

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And that’s what I’m doing now.

September 1st. historically marks the beginning of the school so even though it was Sunday – schools across Ukraine had their First Bell (aka “Day Of Knowledge”) ceremonies.

Since it had been rainy the last couple of days – my school moved the ceremony to our town’s palace of culture.

For me, it marked the beginning of so many ‘lasts.’ Continue reading

Why Obamacare is Fantastic, Albeit Confusing for Peace Corps Volunteers

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Over 40 million people in America need to be insured and I’m one of them!

Originally posted on Adventures:

For many Peace Corps Volunteers serving out in the bush somewhere, we’ve all but forgotten about Obamacare. Why? Well, the days blur together and no one is ever quite sure what year it is. Also, the bush part. Yes, we have access to news and facebook and email, but sometimes that means standing on a rock waving your arms wildly in the air hoping to get a signal. So I’m sure it simply slipped the minds of many PCVs worldwide that the online marketplace has gone live. Or they have no idea what that even means.

For the Volunteers returning to America in the next 6 months, Obamacare is fantastic. We are perfect candidates for the new system. Most of us will be returning unemployed, previously uninsurable (chronic Montezuma’s revenge should be a pre-existing condition), and likely in serious need of insurance. Peace Corps provides one month of insurance upon…

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Life Is Beautiful

In Albania I only had 2 visit days with my 4 sponsored children (World Vision packing in two visits each-day). After my visits I really didn’t know what to do with myself, or the three days I had left in Albania.IMG_5155

I found a travel agency online that offered day trips around Albania.

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Somehow I was lucky enough to end up with a great tour guide who made sure I saw all this beautiful country has to offer.

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The bluest beaches and the most magnificent mountains that I believe put the Andes and the Himalayas to shame.

I have a confession to make. I was scared to travel here. Continue reading

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The world as I see it

To be honest, I have never really been one for adventure. I’m an introvert by nature who’d much rather sit at home and watch re-runs of The Office, and The Big Bang Theory with a bag of potato chips by myself.

But somehow in this crazy life adventure always seems to find me- whether I’m ready for it or not.

That’s the crazy thing about life~ you can make one ordinary decision and it changes everything…

That’s what led me here. To a country the rest of the world rarely thinks about… Albania.

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A country that my life was changed by… long before I ever set foot in it.

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There’s a phrase in the non-profit field called “compassion apathy” and I admit I suffered from that for a long time.

Sometimes you really do, need to be crazy in order to be hopeful in a suffering world. Continue reading

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A Day In Vienna

I had a 24-hour layover on the way to Albania in Vienna. So I did what any sane person with a ridiculous layover would do. I spent the day exploring Vienna and rested up at a hotel (where I had the first bubble bath I’ve had in 2 years).

I had been to Vienna before when I was a student at Charles University in Prague for a weekend.

Continue reading

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