Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bye Blog

The blog is on hiatus, perhaps permanently. Ukraine is still great. If you'd like to get e-mail updates send a quick e-mail to to let me know.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Just a quick note to confirm that I am here, safe and happy in Ukraine. I'm waiting for Peace Corps to approve my first blog post so for now please enjoy this picture of my amazing host family.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Leave a Candle in the Window

We came, we staged, and tomorrow we leave. We leave and fly and then the plane lands and then it will be real. I feel ready. There are many reasons why I feel ready. One major reason: the group of people with whom I will serve. My fellow PCTs (that’s Peace Corps Trainees for those playing along at home) are friendly, kind, funny, creative and, dare I say, a little more alive than the average Joe(s). Can’t express how good it feels to be in this together.

The most influential studies of combat motivation suggest that when soldiers go into battle they are not motivated by patriotism or idealism. They fight because they are fighting for one another. While the combat experience is not a direct parallel to PC (if I drop my books and cower in the corner of the classroom my fellow PCV won’t be taking a bullet to the head), I think this research remains relevant to my experience. I want to succeed as an individual but I also want to be part of our group’s success.

There are other motivations, of course. I will be motivated by a desire to serve the community where I am placed, a desire to serve Ukraine as a whole, a desire to represent my country in a positive light, a drive for personal accomplishment, and the knowledge that success in Ukraine can lead to exciting opportunities in the future. But when it comes down to those mystudentswon’tlistento meandallIreallywantintheworldisagrandeStarbuckschaiwith expressoandacopyoftoday’sNYTimes kind of days, I think it is the knowledge that there are 80+ others out there in the same position that will keep me motivated to try again the next day. I didn’t think of that before I arrived here. And it is a comforting thought.

If you want to make me happy please send mail, e-mail, and blog comments. I know I have an amazing support system at home. That is just part of what made my decision to join a (relatively) easy one to make. For the first three months mail can be sent to:

Peace Corps Ukraine
PCV Amy Bernath
P.O. Box 298
01030, Kyiv

I will write you back. Promise. The blog may be relatively dormant for a while. I’m somewhat unclear on the guidelines for blogs and I want to avoid causing another postcard incident. But I will be back. Signing off from Philly and looking forward to checking in from Ukraine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It Starts

To blog or not to blog, that was the question. Part of me feels presumptuous for thinking that others will want to read about my life. I do, however, enjoy keeping in touch with friends via their blog posts. And so today, in anticipation of the upcoming move to Ukraine, I make my humble entry into the blogosphere. We shall proceed now, dear reader, suffering together the slings and arrows of my outrageous fortune. Enjoy.

T-minus 13 days until the flight to staging in Philadelphia. 15 days until Peace Corps Ukraine Group 33 leaves New York bound for Kiev. I absolutely cannot wait, though there is much to do before leaving. Most importantly, my thesis defense is set for Wednesday. The computer must be loaded with music, I should learn a little Ukrainian, brush up on the fundamentals of English grammar, perhaps familiarize myself with Ukraine’s political landscape. I may also want to pack a few bags and see a few friends in the coming weeks. Family as well. Busy and fun-filled days await me.

Is anyone interested in learning a bit more about Ukraine, my soon-to-be temporary home? For a map and the basic facts try CIA World Factbook. I’ve found Brama to be a helpful source for coverage of current events. Fellow future-PCV Suzy introduced me to this blog for straightforward political analysis.

Look for more in the coming weeks and months. I just wanted to get my feet wet today with a test post. Thanks for visiting!