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…