“Won’t you be cold?”

Throughout this past summer, I fielded a wide variety of questions: “How does it feel to be a college grad?” “What’s the next big step?” “Oh, you’re moving to Ukraine?” “Will you be safe in Ukraine?” “Aren’t you nervous?” “Won’t you be cold?” “Did you buy a coat?” “Will you be able to contact us?” and my least favorite question is something along the lines of, “Isn’t Eastern Europe just a bunch of concrete buildings?” Now, I’m not saying these questions aren’t worth answering. People have their own perspectives on the world and more often than not, the perspectives of those who have never left the United States are, how can I say this nicely, extremely limited. And I recognize that I’ve been extremely lucky to have been able to travel as much as I have, but there is something ridiculous to me that anyone born after 1989 still sees Eastern Europe as a field of failed Soviet Architecture. Like please open a geography book or google any city in Eastern Europe.

dniproPhoto Description: Me trying to figure out how to sit in a heart
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