The one where Whitney finally posts her blog…

Bear with me if this is a bit repetitive, I keep writing it and adding to it so I can upload when I’ve got wifi!

I am mostly settled into my home for the next ten weeks of PST. I’m staying with a great host family. I’ve got a mom, a dad, a babushka, 2 cats that like me, one that I’m not sure about, a dog and countless chickens. There’s a beautiful garden right outside my window and I live right across the street from the school, which is pretty darn convenient considering my LCF* lives right next to the school.

We are in this tiny village, and they call them villages, but I think neighborhood might be more accurate. There’s a school and two stores, a few of us took some time to explore our village the other day and it didn’t take us too long to see all of it.

It’s a very interesting thing to be living with people that you cannot communicate in your language with. No one in my host family speaks any English, but we’ve gotten by so far with the smattering of Ukrainian that I’ve picked up and some gestures. I watched a Russian soap opera with my babushka, who speaks literally zero English, understood nothing, but somehow it was still interesting. I’ve been impressed with them and with myself for being able to figure out what they’re saying and with them for being able to communicate with me.

To be honest, a lot of the time my host mom continues to talk whether I understand or not. It’s working out so far, but I think I told them my sister was a model. I described my dad’s job as “computer businessman” because I definitely don’t know how to describe Amazon in Ukraine. I could explain that my mom was a teacher though.

So far, I’ve gotten scolded for not eating enough, not dressing warm enough and for not wearing socks in the house. Mama Natasha is keeping me on my toes. The food has been wonderful and my cluster* is great. We’ve started class. This language is brand new to me, but I’ve seen myself improve throughout the week.

I’m learning that there’s not a whole lot to do in the village right now. Soon, I’ll start teaching a little bit at the school in the village and I’ll have Ukrainian lessons every day, but I think this will also be a solid time to learn to play my Ukulele and get some reading done.

Side note, my heart and my prayers go out to those affected by the Bellingham shooting. It was on the news here. I was watching with my host dad when he excitedly pointed out Washington being mentioned on the news. My heart breaks for you.

I wrote this about a week ago, I was just waiting on wifi to be able to upload it. Since then, I’ve toured the local school and I’ve had a great time getting to know my host parents. I’ve also gone into Chernihiv once on a marshutka and I’m stoked to welcome our link group to our sweet little village on Saturday.

Sidenote, my last post mentioned personal victories and I’m making pretty decent progress on my language learning, but someone asked me my name and I said “Good,” so you win some, you lose some!


*LCF: language coordinator something, basically my language teacher.

*Cluster: the other 5 volunteers in this village who I will be learning and teaching with


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