Lately I’ve been seized by an all encompassing quiet. Exhaustion has set in, and only extreme quiet ameliorates my mood. The mental silence of running has become my haven and training for the Prague Marathon is my foundation in many ways. Routine has muffled any mental noise or confusion, and it’s calm if not entirely comforting. My running schedule, diet, and water intake are all regulated closely which, to my surprise, ended up organizing all other parts of my schedule almost entirely. Being without a computer for roughly two weeks did wonders for calming my nerves and anxiety, and I found myself much happier for my ignorance on world news.
Spring, it seems, is bent on ensuring my life isn’t too quiet. My quiet morning runs are full of pops and snaps. The emerging birds drop sticks from the trees with small pops that usually make me jump a little, which I am then forced to play off as if I’m an oddly bouncy walker. Fires snap and pop thickening the morning fogs as the residents of Drohobych clear their yards of sticks, twigs, and trash. The edges of the fields are being prepared for the spring plantings, and the black soil is usually rimmed with a thin red outline as the weeds burn wetly. Sunflower seeds crack in the teeth of local high school boys skipping school as they lean on the sagging metal fences of the local stadium, watching me run.
With two months until the end of the semester I’m close to collapsing. Seeing Erin was an amazing uplifter which turned into as much if not more of a downer the second I said goodbye to her at the airport. I experienced first-hand the confusion of hours upon hours of translating until I could no longer tell which language I was speaking. My working group is preparing for our first summer camp to teach Ukrainian children about healthy lifestyles and all that encompasses – alcohol and smoking awareness, HIV/AIDS awareness, nutrition, sportsmanship and teamwork, and respect for oneself and others. I’m still working out plans for a very quick trip into Moldova to poke around wine country, will be enjoying historic Ukrainian/Polish sites in Poland around Easter time, and seeing a brand new city May 6-9 when my relay runs the marathon in Prague. Things have ceased to seem new, making it hard to know what to write to all of you back home. I’m largely inured to the ups and downs of daily Peace Corps life, but still thoroughly enjoy watching my month countdown dwindle.
*Music: “Expectations” -Belle & Sebastian