Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Long Goodbye -- A much shorter timeline of months 3 and 4

  • End of February, 2003:  I start receiving harassing phone calls.  At first the man just says "tsuka" (Ukrainian for bitch) and hangs up.  A few weeks later he learns some English and starts saying "tsuka bitch."  Glad my influence has helped the townspeople learn some English . . .
  • March:  
    • The First Part of the Month:  Lesia has stopped spending the night, but comes over continuously.  Mostly it's just really irritating, but I'm used to it at this point.
    • March 22nd and 23rd:  I ask for an extra key so I can have someone come over and feed the cat while I'm on vacation.  The extra key never materializes, but Lesia certainly does.  A few hours after I should have left, but didn't because I had the flu, Lesia appears and spends the night.
    • March 29th:  I stop at another volunteer's apartment halfway home from a weekend party just to take a hot shower.  
    • March 30th:   Lesia charges me with a new set of crimes -- sitting on the chairs and sleeping on the bed!  Horror of horrors, I have misused the furniture by using it in exactly the way in which it was intended!  Apparently they are too expensive for people to sit on or sleep in, but not so precious that they can't be stored in the second apartment. 
  •  April:
    • April 1st:  I spend the afternoon moving all of my things into the living room and moving all of the chairs into the bedroom to be "locked away" where I can't get at them.  I might use them for things like sitting, and we can't have that, can we?  I now sleep on the couch-bed in the living room, which is actually much more comfortable than the actual bed in the bedroom that I'm no longer allowed access to.
    •  April 3rd:  My regional manager, Luba, finally decides to intervene.  She talks to Lesia on the phone and finds her just the nicest!  Isn't it wonderful that they get along?  "Margaret," Luba wonders, "why can't you just calm down and live with the nice lady I spoke with on the phone?"
    • April 7th:  Luba makes a site visit.  I'm expecting salvation, but instead she turns out to be more of a liability, dismissing and even condoning some of my site's and landlady's behavior all the while fixating on inconsequential details of my teaching schedule (like why I don't have time to observe other teachers built into my schedule -- because they're embarrassed by their English and don't want me there!  Can we focus on the problem at hand please?)
    • Weekend of April 10th:   I've been forbidden to have guests, so a nearby volunteer (of hot shower fame) hosts my 23rd birthday party.  Don't we look so happy "in the nature"?

We are imitating typical Ukrainian snapshot poses -- no joke.  The only difference is that there is usually only one Ukrainian woman in each picture, and she is wearing stilettos while hiking.

Obviously we had more fun at the alternate location than we would have sharing my apartment with Lesia.  Standing on the couches would have definitely taken the "misuse of furniture" charge from misdemeanor to felony.

**Stay tuned for May:  Kicking Ass and Taking Names . . . 

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