Whew! What a month! I blinked and it disappeared.
I’m thrilled to report spring has sprung in Kyiv! We wake up to temperatures in the low 30s F, but by mid-afternoon we’re basking in sun and lovely spring weather. Unfortunately, we’ve been so busy with work obligations, travels, and just catching our breath when we have a moment of down time that I’m embarrassed to admit we haven’t even taken a springtime walk in the park yet.
April promises to be just as jam packed as March, but we hope to make a concerted effort to get outside, unplug, and be present during one of the most wonderful seasons of the year in Ukraine.
Playing tourist in my own town.
After three years of living in Kyiv, you’d think we would have seen it all. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. The longer we live here, the more comfortable we get. And the more comfortable we get, the less we venture out to explore new things. That’s probably true with living anywhere though.
In zag news, our good friend K is moving to Senegal next year. What this means is that, as she rushes through her Kyiv bucket list, I’m tagging along and we’re both playing tourist in our own town. We spent the better part of a Saturday wandering through an art exhibit about Crimea, stopping to admire street art, looking for attractions we both wanted to see, and wandering through parts of the city we’ve never been in.
As the days get longer, hopefully we’ll make good on our commitment to explore even more of our beautiful city.
Time for March Madness!
The only thing I know about March Madness is that a 16 seed can, in fact, beat a one seed. But that certainly didn’t help me build anything even close to a winning bracket.
This year, all three of my brackets in our family March Madness competition landed at the very bottom of the heap. But it’s always a good time ribbing everyone else in our friendly competition, especially since we have a WhatsApp group and my dad and uncle discovered GIFs.
Volunteering during the Ukrainian presidential election.
With encouragement from my friend A, I decided to volunteer as an international observer for the first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections.
I traveled to Mykolaiv, which is located near Odessa, with a team of six other Americans and Ukrainian-Americans to observe polling stations and help ensure elections were free and fair. From sun up to long past sundown (2:44 a.m., to be exact), my partner (a Ukrainian-America from Donetsk) and I visited 15 polling stations (including two “special” stations set up in hospitals).
Ukraine has a direct democracy, which means everyone was issued one 32-inch piece of paper with the 39 candidates’ names listed. Voters checked one box, then dropped the ballots in huge, transparent bins. After closing the polling stations at 8:00 p.m., each commission’s polling station dumped the ballots onto a large table, sorted them, and then counted them.
We encountered a few irregularities but overall the election was considered free and fair.
The final election has two candidates: Poroshenko (the current president) and Zelensky (a comedian who played a president on TV). Final elections are April 21.
It was incredibly interesting to watch and learn about Ukraine’s voting process, and I’m thrilled I could volunteer my time for the elections. I’m hoping to volunteer as an international observer for the final election as well. Stay tuned!
Book club becomes movie club … for a night.
Have I mentioned how much I love my book club? Because I really love my book club.
It’s the first one I’ve been in where everyone reads the books and our gatherings actually revolve around talking about the book. <gasp!>
A few months ago we read Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Since the book’s been made into a movie, we threw a Saturday night movie party to compare them.
Let’s see … a movie based on a book, snacks, and friends. That’s pretty much my ideal Saturday tied up in a bow.
Kicking back for a girlfriends’ getaway in Cyprus.
How lovely that Europe celebrates International Women’s Day as a legitimate holiday.
Chasing sun and relaxation, A and I planned a girls’ getaway in Larnaca, Cyprus. I haven’t seen A since she moved to Beruit, and we had a wonderful time catching up.
We rented a penthouse apartment with a massive terrace overlooking Larnaca’s salt lake. We kicked back over long meals, drank lots of wine while watching the sun set, and chatted for hours on end. One morning we walked along the edge of the lake and encountered thousands of snails. It seems we literally ran into the message to slow down and enjoy the moment.
My body greatly appreciated the sunlight and vitamin D. And I think we both needed a break from our daily grind.
What’s up with that crappy media coverage?
How inspiring was the youth strike for climate change? And, how seriously disappointing was the news coverage of said youth strike?
Shame on you, world media coverage. Next time, don’t give the orange ape any air time. Instead, pass the mic to youth who actually have something to say. In fact, pass the mic and then listen.
Rediscovering my running legs.
It has been a depressingly lethargic winter. I struggled to find motivation a lot these past few months, and my physical, mental, and emotional health suffered.
I know I need to get outside more, and running makes me feel good. But let me tell you … those first few runs of the season are brutal.
So far, I’ve been running along the flat neighborhood roads behind our apartment building. I need to rebuild my lung capacity and stamina. It hasn’t been simple, but every difficult jog has been very much appreciated. Hopefully by the end of April I’ll be back up on the trails, kicking up leaves and leaping over tree roots.
Everything In Between
Finding my mantra.
I’m in a constant struggle to rebrand myself, market my business offerings, and strike the perfect balance between what I want to do and what I need to do. I know I often get too much in my head trying to “figure it all out.” I constantly ask myself what I’m trying to figure out anyway.
On planes and in trains throughout March, I did some thinking and made notes about what I need to do to be my best self.
One of the ideas that constantly floats to the top for me is my need to create. In my typical fashion, I created a piece of art with these personal mantras noted. It sits right next to my computer so it constantly reminds me of what is most important to my well-being.
March in written words.
I’ve been pumping out lots of non-bylined articles and press releases for the Adventure Travel Trade Association lately, but I did manage to squeeze in one story about mentorship that I was able to call my own.
Even though I’ve significantly stepped away from editorial writing in recent years, I’m excited to report I pitched a few article ideas in March that were accepted and I’m working on those stories now. Hopefully I’ll be able to share them with you in April.