I am back in Nikolaev after a week of complete rest. I took the overnight train from Kiev to Nikolaev, meet my host family for my volunteership, took a shower and headed for the buses to go to the beach. We were at a resort on the Black Sea, and we went swimming nearly every day. It was wonderful to relax this way. There were very few scheduled events, and our little group: Anatoly, Igor, Irina, Alla, and Polly took some side trips by ourselves. Polly is another JVC volunteer who was here two weeks before me. She heads back to Kiev today, Berkley Tomorrow, and then to New York two weeks after that. She is fluent in Russian (similar to the way my friendship with Alissa began in Paris) and she's a really sweet girl very interested in learning more about her Judaism. She's moving to New York to attend a Yeshiva. Anatoly is another jcdf grantee. He runs a Holocaust project in Kiev dedicated to the Ukrainian plight during the war and it effects afterwards. His son Igor came along for the ride. Irina was Polly's host mother, and Alla her daughter. They also brought their dog Vishnye along. All in all it was an amazing time. When I am not tying up a phone line I will send more.
I'm doing really well and trying to figure out what comes after the two week volunteership here. I don't think my Russian skills are adept enough to go out on my own, so residence in Kiev is a distinct possibility for six weeks. I have spoken with Anatoly about a possible volunteership.