Week 5


  1. Carry a backpack, not a purse, your back will thank you.
  2. Say yes to everything…for 6 months…
  3. …but, don’t be afraid to say no.
    1. I can see how those last two seem contradictory. Peace Corps tells you to say yes to everything. Every invite, every offer. I think that’s great advice, with a caveat. Saying yes to everything allowed me to experience some incredible things: I (sort of) learned a traditional dance with my students, I rang in the new year in a random nightclub on the border til 6 in the morning, I jumped in a frozen lake, I tried all sorts of new foods, I judged a Halloween witch pageant…but after 6 months at site, I recommend you start saying no, and to be firm in your no. You don’t want to overstretch yourself and burn out.
  4. Self care!
    1. I know my Whitworth RA friends will get a chuckle out of this, but wow is it important. It goes along with the above two as well. Knowing when to say no, I’m not going to do xyz just because I don’t want to is valid. Not leaving your house all weekend is ok. It’s the extremes that are dangerous.
  5. Take walks.
    1. I got this from a friend who was kicking my butt on fitbit step challenges. I asked him how and he just said he walked a lot. A lot of the cool places in my village I just stumbled on to while going for a run or a walk. I of course got a cursory tour when I first came, but on my own I discovered the stadium with the baby goats and secret path to the border and the paved road to my house.
  6. You don’t have to wear tights just because they want you to wear coats.
  7. Learn how to say you’re not cold in every language they’ll ask you.
    1. For me it’s Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian
  8. Keep your battery pack charged always .
    1. You never know when your power is going to go out
  9. Take advantage of a good shower
    1. If you are somewhere and they have hot water and maybe even decent water pressure, take a shower. Even if you’re not dirty, take a shower. You never know when you’ll get a decent shower again.
  10. Book the top bunk on the train if you don’t want to chat for a while.
  11. Hydrate or die
    1. Your body will thank you.

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