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Culture

All Quarantined-up and Nowhere To Go

It’s that time of year again: quarantine in Ukraine. Of course, this is no ordinary closure of schools. Generally, there are isolated outbreaks of the seasonal flu in January or February, causing individual regions and towns to shut down for a week or two. In addition to arriving in fall, this round of quarantine is nationwide for three weeks and affects all schools, universities, and public gatherings.

When time isn't money

In Ukraine, I wear a lot of hats. And not just in winter. I’m an English teacher, an American culture expert, a Mexican food chef, a basketball coach, a yoga instructor, a journalist, a travel agent, and a decent day laborer. I’m also a novice economist.

Running Into New Friends

I made a pact with myself when school started. I was going to run everyday during September. I’ve always been good at daily exercising, but I’ve never had to do it on my own before. It’s a lot easier when you have a team or a gym waiting for you. Hitting up the local soccer stadium where more people are smoking cigarettes than burning up the track is less than inviting. But people are surprisingly friendly there.

Sweet Solitude

This is my moment of zen. I hesitated to share it with you. In a culture as public and communal as Ukraine, I get territorial about my precious private moments. I took this photo on the coast of the Black Sea, after the rest of my party departed for a nap. It was pretty bold of me to stay behind.

Home Sweet Home

After 10 weeks of training, it was time yet again to leave a family, a community, and in my case an entire region of a country. Since graduation, it seems as if I’m in a constant state of motion. First, I left Waco for Katy, then Katy for Ukraine.