Archive for the ‘Invitee’ Category

32, 43, Hut Hut!


Here they are, my belongings that will be heading to Ukraine with me. Got a test weigh of 32 and 43 lbs. for the larger bags so I’m okay on the 50 lbs. per bag front of the two that I’m allowed. I started a comprehensive packing list like many of the others I scoured and found quite helpful on the ol’ Internet…then I couldn’t bring myself to catalog every nuance. What?! Where’s the librarian in you? you might wonder. Suffice to say it was not one of my favorite classes 😛

Besides the ‘normal’ essentials – clothes and the like – I am taking my small yarn stash with me, a couple of books that include the pattern for my first sweater, and a ball winder. There’s a over 200 people on Ravelry in Ukraine when I do a search, and I’ve found a couple of websites with yarn as well so I’m excited to see what the LYS in or near whatever community I’m in has available and hopefully some folks to knit wih.

I’m also looking forward to using the shortwave radio I picked up – I caught a station from Asia the other night! And Hawaii! So neat!!

the family

I was lucky enough to get to enjoy time with my entire family before going. A beloved aunt requested a family photo that was pretty dang funny as we tried to get our dog in it too. This is the best of the lot – although the one with my sis and I basically strangling the dog to keep her head up is a classic outtake 😀


My sister is crafty. Super crafty. With a bit of extra time on the home-front, she made me the above BEAUTIFUL needle case for my DPs. I’m a lucky gal to have such a considerate sister, thanks and love ya lady!


One of the best parts of fall is the local county fair, and we have an amazing one here in Mendocino County along with the Apple Show that coincides with the California Wool & Fiber Festival. I’m soooooo glad I got to go!! Finally saw the sheep dog trials for the first time, and it was so much fun to watch!


‘Course there was an amazing array of apples, and Gowan’s had a tasting booth.

basket of clouds

The Fiber Fest had baskets of clouds. Tons of glorious colors and vendors and demonstrations. It really made me want to learn to spin my own yarn! After doing the dying earlier this month, I am really itching to conceive a project from start to finish. Someday.

wear wool, eat lamb

Loved visiting with the 4H animals, learned about LaMancha goats and their lack of external ears from a wonderful Healdsburg woman, and ate the requisite deliciously bad-for-you fair fare. Mmmm, corn dawgs ❤

favorite spot

Before the Fair and the visit with my sis, my best friend Erin came to visit, bringing with her my absolutely genius goddaughter/niece. She loved being outside and this seemed to be her favorite spot. She has grown SO MUCH since I saw her a few months ago – crazy! Talking and singing up a storm. It was wonderful to sit on the back patio with my favorite sisters, Erin and Berdette, and the little miss, enjoying the perfect temperatures and golden afternoon light with knitting, laughter, and friendship. Face punch!

favorite sisters

We even got in a visit to S.F and the amazing ImagiKnit! Got in some good movie watching and delish food eating. Even some chili cook-off action that resulted in a fun night out and a new friend.

All in all, I’ve been so fortunate to spend time with the people I love before heading out. The two years will pass by before we know it. I’m so looking forward to keeping in touch with you all, hearing what is new in your lives, and sharing what is new in mine. Thank you all for your love and support!

It’s about time for me to go to bed – I’m waking up at midnight, finally heading to Ukraine with a two-day stopover in Washington, D.C. There was a delay in processing some of our group’s visas and special passports, but seems like it’s a go now! I’ll update as I can as I understand these first few weeks might be spotty access internet-wise. Рока!

Today’s music: кино – Виктор Цой – Жизнь в стеклах (kino – victor tsoi – life in glass)


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Big River

Gorgeous day on Big River today taking my kayak out a final time with a friend. Aquamarine is just a word until a day like today. The water was so clear, the eel grass so green. Saw an otter. A day that made many fellow river paddlers burst into spontaneous, joyous songs.

About sixteen days left before I pack up and head out. I alternate between wishing there was more time and to be on my way already. More time for studying the ‘survival’ Ukrainian sent to familiarize us a bit before training, for finishing my pile of library books. More time to visit with all of my friends, to enjoy the upcoming/almost here fall harvest. But to be on my way so that I can have some new pullout or other sleep-torture device to awake on – change up the back kink you know – and to finally begin. Preparation begins to lose its excitement after a time; get on with it already!

Reading some travel books on the area gives one a bit of food for thought. I especially liked some of the comments that must have a story behind them but are shortened and seem without context like this one at the end of a paragraph on a restaurant, “Watch out for the wandering musicians, though.” Probably meant as a deterrent, it makes me want to check it out 😉

I have had much good fortune in the way of first-hand knowledge being relayed to me. Lunch with a friend who hosted a Ukrainian exchange student. My friend and her husband then went to Ukraine for the student’s wedding a couple of years ago. It was wonderful to talk about some of the things I have been reading about, listen to her experiences, and catch up one more time in person. I look forward to meeting someone I’ve never met, but whom I already feel kindly toward because my friend cares for her; you know how that is? And I’m excited by the expectation of wonderful strangeness to meet someone on the other side of the world who will know about my little corner of the world in Mendocino County.

More lunching, this time with two Peace Corps volunteers, one from my hometown that saw the article in the paper, who just returned a month ago from Ukraine. Small world! It was really excellent to hear about their experiences first-hand, get their perspective on working in Peace Corps, and ask questions about some day-to-day living that I had. Definitely reinforced that I have been slowly starting to figure out: that I can look forward to meeting some amazing people in the next couple of years!

Mermaid Hair

Besides grammar, TEFL methodology, the Cyrillic alphabet, storage units, the past couple weeks has seen some fun too. Take for instance the glory that is mermaid hair made with my knitting friend from Kool-aid, yarn, and water. Some wishful contemplation about making this my life’s work after Peace Corps.

aw, friends

Also did a bit of old school photo shoot action with my amazing photographer friend – boy was it terrific to hang out, laugh, get circled by the cops a few times, and have a fun afternoon! The idea was a contest for Belle and Sebastian‘s upcoming release Write About Love; you can find our excursion’s photos available here.

These next couple weeks are jam-packed full of goodness! BFF and goddaughter coming this week and my sista the following one. Hooya!

Today’s music: Vopli Vidoplyasova (VV)

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Some more local press on my departure. Pretty strange to read about yourself, but I hope it makes its way to people also interested in doing something a bit out of the ordinary that they might not have considered before. Big thanks to my fabulous photographer friend Sarah B for the awesome picture 🙂


After years of giving back to her community, Nicole Porter, 29, is heading to Ukraine this fall for 27 months to volunteer with the Peace Corps. It’s the extraordinary people she has met when volunteering that have inspired her to continue service to others. “You get back more than you give,” she said. “It’s the big part of why you do it.”

Instead of a social life, Porter’s community has been those she helped. “My friends, things changed … I had to prioritize.”

For the past five years, she has worked at the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District to conserve and restore the county’s wild and working landscapes. She has volunteered with the Ukiah Public Library, Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project, and Navarro Watershed Working Group; Porter also produced the eclectic music program “Amplified Mixtape” on KZYX&Z.

She holds a master’s degree in library science from San Jose State University and is expected to bring her expertise to teach English as a foreign language.

In a few weeks, she’ll head to Washington D.C. for one day of training and then to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine for three months. There, she’ll be told exactly where she will be stationed. Because of the current uncertainty of where she’ll be, she’s not sure if she will need to learn to speak Russian or Ukrainian. The language barrier isn’t something that she’s worried about, however. “You just have to have humor and the willingness to try,” she said.

During those first three months of her service, Porter will live with a host family to become fully immersed in Ukraine’s language and culture. She will then serve for two years, living in a manner similar to people in her host community.

Volunteers often work non-stop, rather than the typical 9 to 5 here. Even going to the grocery store and talking with locals or having dinner with them is considered work. The idea is to get to know the needs of the community and visa versa. Often, volunteers find themselves working on secondary projects that benefit the community.

Opportunities for a secondary project are endless though uncertain at this time for Porter, since she doesn’t know the needs of the community. But she has skills. She can use her knowledge of radio to galvanize a station there if the community wants one or work on environmental issues if that’s needed.

Like others who are in the process of applying to the Peace Corps, Porter has utilized social networking sites such as Facebook and various blogs to learn about other people’s experiences, advances in technology since then-Sen. John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.

After her 27 months abroad, Porter will come back home to Ukiah, where she’s lived her entire life. She recently held a garage sale and got rid of most everything she owns, except for 20 boxes, a truck and a couch ­ [with] a full size sleeper. “I can’t get rid of that.”

According to the official Peace Corps brochure, about 4,000 new volunteers are needed each year to join a rolling total of 8,000 who work in a variety of areas, including: education, youth and community development, health and HIV/AIDS, business and information and communication technology, agriculture and environment.

Article from Ukiah Daily Journal, written by Monica Stark with photo by Sarah Baldik.

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Local Press

MeUkiah’s Nicole Porter Selected for Peace Corps Assignment in Ukraine
Will Speak at Peace Corps Event in Ukiah Aug. 23

WASHINGTON /August 10, 2010/ — Nicole Porter of Ukiah, Calif., has been accepted to the Peace Corps in Ukraine.

Porter, 29, departs for Ukraine Sept. 24, 2010, to begin pre-service training as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Upon completion of training, she will begin a two-year assignment teaching English at the secondary school level. She will work closely with her Ukrainian colleagues to develop new English teaching methods and materials and will work on community projects addressing needs such as HIV/AIDS awareness, ecology, and civic activism.

Porter attended Ukiah High School and graduated from San Jose State University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in library and information science.

For the past five years, she has worked at the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District to conserve and restore the county’s wild and working landscapes. She has volunteered with the Ukiah Public Library, Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project, and Navarro Watershed Working Group; Porter also produces the eclectic music program Amplified Mixtape on KZYX&Z.

“I want to contribute to making the world a bigger place by being a part of global efforts to better understand each other,” she says. “I’m looking forward to continuing my public service and making a meaningful difference in the world with this opportunity as a Peace Corps Volunteer.”

During the first three months of her service, Porter will live with a host family to become fully immersed in Ukraine’s language and culture. She will then serve for two years, living in a manner similar to people in her host community.

Peace Corps Recruiter in Ukiah, Aug. 23

Nicole Porter will join a Peace Corps recruiter for a presentation in Ukiah, Monday, August 23 at 6PM at the Holiday Inn Express Meeting Room, 1720 North State Street.

The Peace Corps is growing in advance of its 50th anniversary year in 2011 and is now interviewing for thousands of new volunteer positions in 77 countries in the fields of education, health, business, agriculture, the environment, youth development and more.

There is no cost to serve as a volunteer and no upper age limit. Service is a 27-month commitment and includes transportation, a living stipend, training, medical care, graduate school opportunities, $7,400 upon completion and much more. For more information and online applications, please call 800-424-8580 or visit www.peacecorps.gov.

As Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world with 7,671 volunteers serving in 77 host countries. Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit our website: www.peacecorps.gov.

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These past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. Bittersweet as I connect with people I have worked and volunteered with, sharing remembrances and laughs and talking about what’s coming up in our lives, but knowing they won’t be in my everyday life going forward. I had found a good niche for myself in my community, and now with more experiences and resources to draw from I’ll try to do the same in another.

A tasty potluck is happening tomorrow on my final day of work – we know how to have a good shindig! I’ve been so lucky to have such amazing, engaged, and caring people in my life. I mean, really, liking work?! That’s awesome!

I’ve been slowly chipping away on some of the life preparation for moving overseas. Had a gargantuan yard sale last weekend; priced it super cheap, moved a bunch of stuff, and made a bit to put towards storing the stuff I didn’t sell. I’m a big yard sale-r myself so it was fun to see people go crazy for deals and talk about the stories behind an object. A highlight was meeting a man who grew up in the house I grew up in! He had some great stories, built the garage and back porch with his dad and ‘specially the one about his dad beating up the bastardly neighbor “right there in the driveway”. I could just see it happening. Good times.

Once I’m unemployed comes the time to focus fully on everything that’s been coming in but not dealt with: language learning, TEFL resources and test, paperwork…then there’s getting my life here in order so that things flow smoothly while I’m gone. Figuring out finances, packing, more paperwork, the dreaded DMV, fixing my glasses, reading through the resources and getting some more…

Yeah, this post is getting reeeeeeeal exciting eh. Time to wrap it up, but first one preparation that I have made that has been amazing is getting back into my yoga practice. I had stopped going when money got tight and hadn’t been consistent with home practice. But saw a crazy good deal for new students at the local bikram studio and said What the hell, I’ll give it a try. I FRAKKIN’ LOVE IT!!! It’s helped with the stress and is definitely getting me back into shape. I think I’m going to die for about the first half of class and then I get another wind and am able to push on and get through the second part. Definitely the noob in class, but loving every minute. Afterward, I feel euphoric! The soreness has lessened and I’m just pleased that I can make it through each class. Can’t wait until the next one.

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It’s Official!

So begins my new adventure, new change, new job, new community. A lot of new. To spell it out, I was invited to be a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Ukraine. I’m excited that it’s official – I didn’t know if it would actually happen – and it’s wonderful to be able to answer the question, “Have you heard anything?” with a YES!!

I’ve got so many things to take care of and fit in before I leave, but a few things that I am seriously looking forward to before I go:

  • floating that wild and scenic Eel River with friends,
  • a visit from my BFF and the genius god-daughter,
  • hiking with friends amongst the redwoods of Montgomery Woods, and
  • (possibly) a visit from my Denver sister.

There is, of course, the appreciation of the everyday beauty and friendship and family of those around me that I am soaking up too.

My hope is to update this blog as a way for family, friends, and soon-to-be ‘family’ and friends to keep in touch and share experiences. Thank you for checking it out!

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