Snail Mail!

I know I said the next blog post I would write would be from my new site, but something wonderful happened yesterday that I want to blog about now before I go to Kiev tomorrow!

My friend Andy went to the Peace Corps headquarters in Kiev on Friday, and he checked the mailbox for Kolychivka while he was there. He found mail for me and Tammela, so he brought it home to Kolychivka for us! And to my great surprise, not just one letter came for me, but FOUR! And even better—one of those letters was actually a bubble mailer full of Starbucks Christmas blend from my dear friend Emily! How lucky am I? Plus, a beautiful handwritten letter from my friend Raquel, a Thanksgiving card from my wonderful parents, and another letter that my Mom wrote almost a month ago that finally made its way to Ukraine : ) It was like an early Christmas for me! Emily had told me a bubble-mailer was on its way, and I was concerned that Peace Corps would send it back because they’re pretty strict about mail—we’re only allowed to get letters, no packages! So I’m so thankful the bubble-mailer was deemed flat enough to count as an envelope ; ) My Mom also packed her Thanksgiving card with a surprise—Hershey’s dark chocolate! I gave my host mom a piece, but she wasn’t impressed. Oh well, I guess that means I’ll have to eat the rest myself! ; )

I was so excited about all the mail that I took a picture of it. Snail mail is pretty much one of the best surprises ever, so if you’re reading this and feeling inspired, send me something the traditional way : ) I can only get letters at the Peace Corps address, but next week I’ll post my new address where I can receive packages at. Care packages make great Christmas ideas for someone who is far away for the holiday season! (Hint, hint.)

Yesterday we had our farewell/thank you tea party with our host families, and here is a picture of us with our host mothers. None of the host dads came—I guess tea parties aren’t their thing ; )

From the left: Andrew G, his host mom Katya, Irina (Andy’s host mom), Andy, Valentyna (Janira’s host mom), Janira, my host mom Anya, Tammela, and me. (Tammela’s host mom is hiding behind her!)

So today I got all my packing done, and it made me really wish that my Mom, Aunt Mari, and Aunt Debi were here to stuff it all in. I’m not sure how they made it fit when they helped me pack before I left, but after lots of unpacking and repacking, its finally all ready to go. I’m pretty sure my big suitcase weighs about 70 pounds now, with the safety kit and all the Peace Corps manuals I had to include! The good news is that my host brother is coming home from the city tomorrow morning in order to help me take all of my luggage to the bus stop. Thank God : ) I don’t think I could get it there all on my own!

Today was my last day with my lovely host family, and I know I’m going to miss them so much! I don’t think I would’ve made it through the last three months without their hospitality and patience with my Ukrainian! My host mom started to tear up on me today, and I really hope she doesn’t cry tomorrow when I go. That would make it so much harder! I promised to come back and visit next summer, and she really wants to meet my real mother when Mom comes to visit me in Ukraine. I know its time to move on, but I really don’t want to go.

The next post I write will be from my permanent site—I promise! : )

Love,
Kate

P.S: Since I wrote this post, I’ve received 5 more letters in Kiev! Thanks for the mail everyone, keep it coming! : )

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