What Direction Now? Life at the intersection…

NaBloPoMo16 – Now, Then


Dear Andrew from earlier today,

Here are a few things to look forward to and/or look out for in the day ahead of you, gleaned from what I learned (or re-learned) in the day behind me. Enjoy!

Andrew from now (and now, then…)


1) The best defense against the early morning McDonald’s temptation is having a doctor order you not to eat anything before you’re finished with your later morning appointment.

2) COSing volunteers don’t care much about the current volunteers being able to freely walk through/sit around/breathe in the office lounge.

2a) When 150+ volunteers COS within the same five week period, there are bound to be days when the oh so common “I’m only going to leave this here for a while during my last day out in Kyiv” results in mountains of backpacks and suitcases blocking out the whole bookcase wall and dominating most of the walking space around the room.

2b) Those days will happen to be every day during the five weeks.

2c) The current volunteers also don’t care much about other current volunteers being able to freely walk around/sit in/breathe in the office lounge.

3) The kind-eyed, “soft-handed” (according to some) dentist will still leave your mouth full of blood and salt at the end.

3a) Snickers are still spectacularly delicious even when mixed with bits of dental detritus.

3b) That clicking in your jaw is perhaps a slight change in your “chewing mechanism”—and yes, the dentist’s English is pretty amazing.

4) One more: according to a recently oft aforementioned dentist, there is not enough fluoride in Ukrainian tap water, so you should drink bottled water when you’re thirsty, which you can basically take to mean that your teeth are not only more important than the environment, but they also passively provide yet another great excuse to avoid giardia.

5) A mlintzi (crepe) full of a combination of stewed cabbage and scrambled eggs is pretty Ukr-incredible, despite how nasty it sounds here, second-hand in print.

6) A baba (granny) wearing an awesome powder-blue hippo hoodie and sweet kicks—black, white and silver Adidas Superstars—is the best kind of baba ever.

6a) If you send a text message to Vitaliy about a baba wearing not only his favorite shoe brand, but also his favorite shoe style in that brand, don’t tell him that they are silver…

6b)…because his only reply will be: “Silver is girlie…”

7) If a little person walks by you on the sidewalk, it is evidently totally okay here to stop dead in your tracks—even as the giant man behind you has to hit the admittedly-overworked brakes suddenly to avoid trampling you— and then to turn around and stare, all while asking your friend entirely too loudly if she saw that?!

7a) Yes, she did see that…

7b) And yes, you are entirely justified in the head-shaking disdain that you feel for this pair as you push your way through them.

8) If you want to be able to see your clustermate and great friend, Michelle, one more time before she leaves for home, schedule your COS medical session on a random date and hope that fate takes care of the rest (additional note: this is even better if it is entirely unplanned and so it is a surprise for you both).

9) Be prepared for Peace Corps staff—who should know better, right?—to already start asking you the overgeneral type of questions that you’ll hear for the next few months (or years, until every person you know stops finding Peace Corps even remotely interesting), things like “What did you get out of your service?” and “What was your favorite part of service?” and so on. Your RM, Oksana, will ask about when you plan to return to Ukraine—try not to laugh too much or say something smart-ass like, “Let me leave first, and then I’ll tell you…”

10) You will also end up talking about your girlfriend all day, in both general and specific terms, depending on who is on the other end of the conversation. You will talk about Laura so much because you are constantly being asked about your future.
I think I figured it out, we need to be together, like the shore and the sea…

1 comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • so, what did laura think about the baba’s outfit? huh?

    this is a pretty accurate description of the flailabout of the last few weeks of service, all senses considered. eww and ahh. *&*

What Direction Now? Life at the intersection…

About Andrew.

Andrew Cartwright grew up in Indianapolis, IN, but has lived over the years in such places as Denver, CO; Fairfax, VA; and Rivne, Ukraine. He is a former nonfiction editor for both Indiana Review and phoebe; he has also worked for the intersectional feminist journal, So To Speak, and the national literary magazine, Electric Literature. His work has appeared in The Normal School Online, Copper Nickel, Esquire Ukraine, Literary Hub, and Word Riot.

For more information about me and links to other writing, visit my author page at cartwriter.com





Invalid username or token.