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You ain't getting any younger!


This is true. I am currently at the ripe ol’ age of 25 – almost to the point where people start making jokes about pushing 30 (well, some already have). I don’t know how to take it. Whenever I log into FaceBook, I am always shocked by messages of people getting engaged, married, and now having babies! Ah! Usually, people are shocked to find out that I’m over 20, and I often shock myself when I tell them my real age.

Sometimes, it’s ok. Older people sometimes see me when I’m out and about and offer me help because they think I am a lost little girl. When I flew home from Kazakhstan, this older man that sat beside me kept getting me coffee, tea, and offering me food (even when I was trying to sleep). Waiting at the Kazakh embassy, an older woman made sure to tell the guard I was there before other people so I could get let in earlier. Yeah, sure that’s ok. Taxi drivers would often walk me to my marshrutka and help me bargain prices for long journeys. I’ll take whatever help I can get.

But, the thing is, I’m completely capable of dealing with these situations on my own. So, sometimes, it just seems patronizing. In class the other day, a girl asked me, “But you’re so young! How can you travel all the way to Ukraine by yourself?!” Ugh. Come on.

Oh, now, lucky me! It seems I have chosen the best location for people with problems of looking way younger than their age. From the first weekend here, Tanya and I have realized just how difficult guessing the ages of local people is! I actually had to take my roomie out onto the balcony to gossip, “Oh my goodness! She’s only 18?!” This was when we were sure the person was at least 23-ish!

This shock continued into the classroom. People my age often look well into their 30s, and so on. It is no lie, but the people here age differently than we do back in America.

So, why am I lucky?! Apparently, in a year’s time, I will also experience the aging benefits (?) of Ukraine! Another teacher explained that when he first got here, people always guessed him as being extremely young, but after almost a year, he is now pegged at his real age! Then, again, maybe that’s not lucky. I don’t know if I like the idea of aging 5 years in one.

Then, you might be wondering why this is true. I hadn’t thought much about it before coming back to Ukraine, but there was little incident some years ago known as Chernobyl… Yeah, ha, right? I always laugh when people make jokes about not drinking the water…


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17 Responses to You ain't getting any younger!

  1. Steve November 20, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    I uploaded your picture to a Ukrainian website that simulates the aging process.

    This is what it suggested you would look like a year from now:

    Have fun!

  2. Brooke November 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm #

    oh my! that’s awesome – thanks for the chuckle! i’ll be a babushka!

  3. Shawn November 21, 2008 at 2:51 am #

    I think the combination of harsh winter plus constant exposure to cigarette smoke is the culprit. The hot, young devushki here seem to transform overnight into bulky little babushki.

    By the way, there will be a mini-Bootie meet-up in early December if you’re interested. (By mini…I mean you will make 3.)

  4. Brooke November 21, 2008 at 10:13 am #

    Shawn – that’s probably it 🙂

    Yeah I’d love to take part in the bootie meet-up! Let me know when. I’ll bring my roomie and that’ll make 4!

  5. Peeetr November 28, 2008 at 12:20 pm #


  6. Brooke November 28, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

    HAha thanks for the suggestion Pete, I do want to go at some point soon – and its good to see you’re keeping up on your Russian!

  7. Shawn November 29, 2008 at 2:59 am #

    Many people in the Middle East look older for their age. Many people are surprised of how old I am compared to my looks, also.

    I find a lack of freedom of expression, and people that live under a controlling culture is reason for aging.

  8. Brooke November 29, 2008 at 6:36 am #

    Interesting… so how do you think that actually ages them?

  9. Shawn November 30, 2008 at 9:10 am #

    Because the universe is related to freedom of expression and choice. A more difficult life is a cause, although a controlling culture does not make life easy such as a place of Egypt, as an example.

  10. Shawn November 30, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    By the way I added your link on my travel blog under, “blogs that I follow”.

  11. Brooke November 30, 2008 at 12:35 pm #

    Cool, Shawn, thanks 🙂 I put a link for you in my resources section.

  12. Nancy December 22, 2008 at 7:03 pm #

    I clicked on your blog from a post on Thorntree. Have only read a few entries, but really like your style! Great trip you’ve got going here. I’m quite impressed at your ability to save up for this trip. I cannot sacrifice my regular vacations–just went to Nicaragua and am off to Burma in 2 days–and thus, never have enough money for the big trip.

    I’ve thought about the “young looking” topic quite a bit. As an Asian woman I’m generally assumed to be in college when I’m actually 32. In the States I find it somewhat amusing, somewhat flattering. (When I was younger, it was annoying–no 25-year-old wants to be taken for a high-schooler!) Overseas, I feel GUILTY when I’m taken for young, because to me the underlying meaning is: I’ve had a damn easy life. And compared to the people I’ve met…absolutely I have.

    Harsh weather is a culprit of course. Westerners have the option of staying out of the sun and wind. So many others don’t. But mainly…I think it’s the hard living, and not in the more fun Keith Richards way.

  13. Craig P. January 10, 2009 at 3:15 am #

    Think of the jokes they make of my age is 62. At least I made it this far. Many won’t. Enjoy life every day.
    Craig P

  14. Craig P. January 9, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    Think of the jokes they make of my age is 62. At least I made it this far. Many won’t. Enjoy life every day.
    Craig P

  15. Ines January 20, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    I like your energy, and I understand the age problem…I’m 19 but people who don’t know me tells me I’m younger like 15… xD
    Just makes me laugh! What else can we do? They think we are younger let them think whatever they want. 🙂
    I’m almost finishing high school, here in Portugal, and I don’t think I want to go to college. Propably travel and when not traveling working to travel again 🙂 *

  16. Lauren Quinn February 13, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    Okay, I totally relate to this. I started feeling the crushing hand of old Father Time coming down on me at 25 also. People told me it was ridiculous, but it’s true—at 25, you’re no longer in your early 20s. You’re firmly an adult. You can’t use those “I’m just fucking around” excuses anymore. Time to get (slightly) more serious.

    I’m 27 now, which is entirely more frightening. My early 20s are long gone, 30’s on the horizon—and half of my idols died at 27! And the acne has given way to wrinkles… There’s just not enough time to travel the world, write about it AND have to come home and wait tables to finance it all…


  1. Memories from an Overnight Train to Odessa | Brooke vs. the World | RTW Travel Blog - October 20, 2009

    […] 7 years his senior. I laughed on the inside and knew that Tanya was, too. We had been having trouble guessing anyone’s age our entire time in Ukraine because they just tend to age […]

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