Sunday, January 3, 2010

May -- Kicking Ass and Taking Names

At the beginning of May it somehow made it up through the ranks of the administrative folks at Peace Corps in Kyiv that Luba, my regional manager, wasn't doing her job terribly well.  The director of Peace Corps Ukraine asked anyone who had had difficulties at their site as a result to e-mail him with all the details.  I did, as did one of my "sticks and twigs" friends (kids were actually throwing things into the windows of her first floor apartment).  It came to pass (in combination with other factors, I'm sure), that Luba was fired.  She wasn't terribly pleased and actually CALLED me to tell me that I ruined her life.  I don't even remember what I responded.  I just remember being flabbergasted at her lack of professionalism.

While Peace Corps was recruiting a suitable replacement regional manager, Oleg, the king of regional managers and one of the only people whose real name I'll use on this blog, came to clean up her mess.  I vividly remember the lovely May afternoon he arrived at my apartment to talk about exactly what had happened and what his plans were.  It was a gorgeous day, warm enough that I was wearing a little sundress I'd worn to school and it just felt as if, literally and figuratively, the long, cold winter was finally over.

the view from my apartment in May of 2003

The next day Oleg headed over to my school and laid down the law  -- if I had any more problems with my housing he would send a Peace Corps car down to pick me up and change my site immediately, without asking my school or me for permission.  I would move on July 1st as planned.  He would personally speak with the landlady later that day to let her know the rules, and who she'd have to deal with if she didn't abide by them.

We then swept right over to the new place, owned by the mother of one of my students.  She seemed perfectly nice and understanding.  She was getting remarried and moving to the other side of the country, a full 18-hour train ride away and would never, ever, be around to bother me.  I had a planned camp and trip for the end of June and beginning of July, so she would let me store all of my stuff at her place before I left and give me a key so that I could let myself into the empty apartment when I returned.  The apartment was newly renovated, with both heat and hot water.  It all seemed so perfect, I could hardly wait . . .

sunset view from my apartment May 2003

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