This weekend, I had a farewell party with some of my dear Peace Corps friends. I really hate saying goodbye because it makes me feel sad so I fashioned a bucket list/scavenger hunt for the “party.” We were supposed to start at noon but of course, I took too long getting ready so we started at about 12:20. It was great. Why was it a thirty-six party? Because I have lived in Ukraine for thirty-six months total and I am wishing, hoping, and praying that the next time I return (if I return to Ukraine) that I will only be visiting and not staying here. So I made a list of thirty-six random things that I wanted to do and my friends (those who felt like it) came to Ternopil to try to complete the list.
Sounds awesome, right? You have no idea. Here’s the list:
The Thirty-Six Party in T-town!
1. Take a shot of medovyha in a dive bar.
2. Order one piece of сало and a clove of garlic and down it with a shot of vodka.
3. Buy an apple at the bazaar, spit clean it, and eat it.
4. Eat an ice cream treat you’ve never eaten before and rate it out of five with your free hand for the picture.
5. Buy a cup of квас and drink every last drop.
6. Make a daisy chain.
7. Clean up at least 15 pieces of trash from a park.
8. Get four Ukrainian strangers to take a peace sign pix with you after you explain Peace Corps to them.
9. Call a number on an advertisement and ask them about their specials and/or sales.
10. Find someone who will give you directions how to reach 15 Квітня Street. Write down directions from where you are.
11. Go to the train station to say goodbye to train number 116, Truskavets-Kharkiv.
12. Buy a pack of ORBIT. Put as many pieces of gum into your mouth at once as you can and blow a bubble.
13. Drink your beverage of choice on Lover’s Island.
14. Take a picture next to the statue of the first king of Ukraine.
15. Find someone who will sing Ukraine’s national anthem.
16. Spend three UAH or less for an item for the prize bag.
17. Eat “street food” for lunch.
18. Take a picture with a LIFE ad.
19. Get the person in your group with the best Ukrainian to ask:
20. Take a picture with a stranger wearing a vishivanka
21. Find a bookshop that sells Кобзар, find out the price and take a picture with the number in front of the store.
22. Find one of the libraries in town, find out the hours and the address of it and write them down.
23. Down a packet of sugar.
24. Go to the stadium. What are all the colors of the seats? If you can get in, take a picture of yourself sitting in your favorite color of seat. If not, take a pic outside the stadium.
25. Feed the stupid pigeons in the theater square.
26. Touch water in the lake.
27. Go to a pizza joint. Ask to order one piece of pizza. If they say it’s impossible, find out why.
28. Take a picture of yourself holding a statue in the palm of your hand.
29. Meditate on the ground for one minute.
30. Do a Rocky Balboa. Run up a set of steps and when you reach the top, hop up and down.
31. Make up a Ternopil dance that you can show the whole group later on.
32. Find the large aloe plant in the center of Ternopil. Take a picture of yourself next to it.
33. Take a marshrutka ride you’ve never taken before and try to find your way back to your starting point.
34. Find a coin on the ground. Take a picture of one of you picking it up.
35. Find out what kind of cows the baba’s near the train station get the milk they sell from.
36. Find a fat piece of green grass. Use it to whistle.
It’s a bit strange, yes? When Brendan read the list, he said, “We’re going to get kicked out of Ternopil and we can never come back.” This, of course, was not true. But when he joked that we needed to do number two first to have a little courage, we all thought he was serious and that’s what we did.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate salo and vodka? I do. I don’t usually consume either, but this was the last hoorah and so I sucked it up and participated. The list was long and like my mom told me over Skype, we probably weren’t going to make it through all 36. We got 26 though. That’s not at all bad, my friends.
Well, as you can imagine, when you have a list of 36 things to do and take pictures of, there are a lot of pictures. Here are my top five favorite photos from the day.
#1 – Mo-Ro and I put 10 pieces of gum in our mouths and blew bubbles.
#2 – We tried to blow the bubbles at the same time but as usual, we weren’t quite in sync.
#3 – Brendan and Steven held Taras Shevchenko in their hands.
#4 – This was the crew that started out…
#5 – Whistling with grass… Do I only know how to do this because I grew up on a farm? These two couldn’t get it to work.
Runner-up: Mo-Ro asked the lady inside if she could not buy a whole pizza but just one slice. She was shot down.
The fact that I have to get on a train in 12 hours and 45 minutes is starting to kick in now. I’m getting a little antsy, but of course, when I land in PDX and see my awesome family in a few days, all the nerves and weird feelings will go away.
Tata for now.