In early September 2013 I volunteered with Love Volunteers in local orphanages in Ukraine. During this time I lived with a Ukrainian family, whom graciously opened their home to me, fed me and were patient in my feeble attempt to communicate in a mixture of English, Ukrainian and hand signals.
When I walked into the wooden doors of the orphanages, slews of children waived at me, jumped up and down with excitement or mostly charged towards my nearest limb, hugging my legs with a death grip. I find it so amazing that despite the language barrier and my poor attempt at Russian and Ukrainian that the children’s behaviors were the same as any other child I had ever witnessed at home. I was asked by my friends how hard it was for me to communicate with the children having such a large language barrier, which surprisingly the answer was simple: it wasn’t. All children have the same wonders, curiosities, emotions and want to be loved and adored.
On my last day in Cherkasy, we made a final stop at my favorite orphanage in order to pass out some photos we had taken from the week and to say my final goodbyes to all the little munchkins. I stepped one foot out of the car, swung my camera over my shoulder and somehow managed to knock my earring straight out of its place and somewhere onto the muddy ground beneath the car. We searched and searched for this shimmering earring but it was nowhere to be found. Just as I felt despair, Alex told me that it was a Ukrainian proverb that if someone loses an earring, they are bound to return to that place in the future. Was it a sign? Most definitely. What a way to end the trip. :)