Friday, November 18, 2011


Winter has hit Spitak in full force!!! For the first time in my life I had snow on my birthday!!! It is so cold here that it’s pretty much unbearable!!  Part of it might be that I have just come from warm sunny California, so I have had to make a huge adjustment… but the other part is that it is just really cold!! This is the one time when I just wish I could go home… Last year I fared so much better, but that was because the snow didn’t come until January first.  Snow in November is just too much for this girl! To make matters worse I went to my sitemate Judith’s home last week and boy was it warm… I mean the kind of warm I can only dream about right now. She has a gas heater and it works so well!! I can walk around her house without a jacket. I only have my Peace Corps heater so I pretty much have to sit on top of it and not move!!! Even Sophie is cold, she has been snuggling under the blankets at night instead f sleeping on top of them as she usually does…
A lot of Peace Corps volunteers say that Peace Corps in Eastern Europe is the posh corps… and maybe in a lot of ways that is true, most of us do have things that a lot of volunteers in more remote regions don’t have, such as a steady internet connection. Hell the Bulgarian volunteers I met even have washing machines. But when winter comes and its 10 below, and we have little heating, have to walk everywhere in the snow, and have no sunlight for a 6 month chunk of the year, we struggle. I mean have you ever tried to hand wash cloths with freezing cold water?? Your hands hurt so bad sometimes to the point that they crack and bleed… There have been times I have left my cloths in a bucket to line dry the next day and have woken up to them frozen… There is also the fact that I get home around 3 in the afternoon and after that, there is nothing I can do but snuggle in a blanket and try to keep warm… I can’t even take Sophie out for walks and socialize because It is just too cold… Seasonal depression is huge in Eastern European countries. I mean wouldn’t you be depressed if every day you went to work, and came home and had nothing else to look forward to? You can’t really travel like you do in the other seasons because roads are snowed in and marshutkas are pretty wobbly in the snow which makes you fear for your life a little. So basically you travel on a need base, you see only the people in your town, and only really between you walking to where you need to get and back…. To say the least, I hate winter here especially now that it has come super early. I mean we had spitak until May of last year… November till May covered in snow??? Ugh no Thanks!
Ok done ranting, and now for a funny story… The cycle of weather goes a little something like this in Spitak right now, snow falling, snow on the ground but a clear sky, snow on the ground but its mostly icey and the sludge… and it rotates every few days… So one day I decided to take Sophie for a walk as she has been getting some winter time blues because she can’t go out and run anymore. So we were walking home from the grocery store in the center of spitak, her on the leash following behind me a little bit. I am not paying too much attention to her or the surroundings because I am constantly watching my feet so that I do not slip on the ice. Well as I am looking on the ground tip towing around Sophie see’s a bird or something, I never really saw what it was, and takes off running. I have her leash wrapped around my hand a good 3 times, because when I have groceries in my hands I like to make sure I have a good hold on her. So she takes off running and I am attached to her walking on ice. I feel my legs begin to lurch forward as my torso leans backward. I try to dig my heels into the ground, but it’s slippery and I fall. But to make things worse as I fall down, my natural momentum pulls Sophie back toward me. She stops for a second and looks at me and then continues to run, dragging me on the ice behind her… We didn’t go far thank God, but we went far enough for people to see and to laugh. I mean they were concerned but the site of the American with her huge ole snow boots and tons of grocery bags in hand being pulled across the street by a tiny little dog must have been irresistible, I mean I giggle just thinking of it so I don’t blame them!! Luckily I wasn’t hurt, my groceries broke my fall!!!  If only I could get the hang of walking on the ice… It’s only been three weeks of snow and I have fallen three times… once a week. At this rate I am going to need to walk with pillows wrapped around my body!!! 

1 comment:

  1. Is there a way to supplement your room small heater by an iron wood-burning stove? or maybe renting a gas heater?
    About slipping on snow or ice, you can put one of those slip resistance devices on the flat bottom of your shoe or booth, you just pull them over the shoe and there are metal-spikes on bottom that keep you from slipping. If it is unavailable there ask for it to be shipped from USA. It is not heavy thing and they take a small space if rolled-up. Take care Alyssa jan! Human potential is great and you can make it another winter, just think how others are doing in the cold and some probably are in worth situation than yours. If everything fails then do as the native Indians of America used to do in the winter. They danced up and down, jumping in their tents, a dance that raised their body temperature.