Melissa Krut, Peace Corps Volunteer


Waking up to cold rain, wondering about shoes. Cold weather plus rain means a minus on not-yet-repaired boots, veto on leather, no feel for heels. Teaching teachers crosses out casual: sneakers, chunky mess boots, crack-smiled flats with metal button eyes.


Sudden realization: A Day in the Life! This is the day! In the Life! Of Ukraine! Oorah!


Kitchen: remembering again that I live alone and no one sneaks in to wash my dishes overnight.


Must: eggs for a long-day see-through, but yoga first and coffee after, for the same reasons. Must also: post reminders and announcements and celebrations of the occasion! Many happy returns of the day!


Rushing into Ukraine: bus stop rain, marshrutka seat surprise, with easy exit delight and no extraction extrapolations pending off-stepping.


Five minutes late for the super teacher feature, disappointed in unprofessional display but happy for games to say “Honey, I love you, won’t you please just smile?” and passing funny faces in vaguely immature style. Teachers keep it together.


Lunchings from Vopak. Probably three cabbage pies (pyrizhky, clearly, z kapustoyu) [me gusta kapusta]. Probably yogurt in a bottle, unforeseen before these shores.


Waiting at my desk. University day passes by, forgets to close the door. Cold air from the hallway straightaway.


Headline: students to tell stories of the stories they read, put that vocab to bed and round those grades! Waiting. Instead.


Reschedule? How many words? Fifty percent of what you asked for, right? I’m almost finished with the book.


Look. Listen. Wait.


Seeking Secret Santa sense. Enter one name, draw another: a miscalculation—remainder two.


Spanish lesson prep, conversation and conjugation. Sasha’s late and the matching state is one of confusion. Days of the week and months to grow on: question words, sentences heard.


Dasha’s late, having dashed it all the way. I’m drawing a sleigh, which was already clear, and the face of the deer gets a lift once she’s shifted in favor of the endeavor. English practice, lit by Christmas.


Mail check: one Day in the Life submitted by 1:30 p.m.? Unexpected and appreciated, must’ve been some morning. Add mystery requestor, top-secret questioner: VK go!


Call: project launch beyond reality, writing with control taken/ granted… dance if you want to.


Standing on the way-home marshrutka, feeling certain stare to the right, but facing strong ahead. Focus on the seven-year-old girl with the stylin’ iPhone straight from the pink zone and on the way back for recharge. Staring finally merits a glance: solution’s a chance encounter with a student who summered in Wisconsin and fell for the Dells while parked at Noah’s Ark.


Question of the day: How do you ride a bus? Wait, you know Ukrainian? First: Yes, you went to Kyiv and Mykolaiv this weekend, but how did  you get to the university today? Second: What do you do if someone passes you money on the marshrutka? Peredayte, bud  laska.


Too stubborn for a basket in the evening grocery store, awkward hands galore through the back-way home dark. This is the mud and there are no lights.


Cereal for dinner as the website hits climb, spending record time on stats page reloading: checking-in exploding, but five-minute news doesn’t know—NPR too slow to catch on to such a song of excitement sung in a foreign key all locked in this unvoiced box. Okay, computer.


Shall we shop? Why not buy? High time, in Britishspeak, for Christmas squeaks of joy and clicks to send. No details to be posted, lest secrets be roasted.


The wonderful world of communication: chat conversations, justwrite wrapped tight, blog unclogged from overdelayed log, success to Slava and answers to Ivan. Robe on and feet up, registering heat and widewindow cool.


Honey and bread, late to sleep wideopen wondering.




  1. It’s never too early to think about the Third Goal. Check out Peace Corps Experience: Write & Publish Your Memoir. Oh! If you want a good laugh about what PC service was like in a Spanish-speaking country back in the 1970’s, read South of the Frontera: A Peace Corps Memoir.

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