Mars is currently host to three functional orbiting spacecraft: Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Happy Thanksgiving!!! (That’s today…as I write this…But I guess that technically means it is just the beginning of thanksgiving for everyone in the States….and the weeks later by time I get this on the internet). So as I wrote before, the Peace Corps gave us an extra $2.50 for Thanksgiving. (20грн each) We ended up spending almost 100грн! So to clarify…I am complaining here because that is a lot of money here, but really, we fed 6 people and we have leftovers for only $12… Not bad from that angle, eh? I made my first pumpkin pie and not to brag or anything but I thought it was absolutely delicious! Only the pumpkin was very hard and not squishy like how I would have ideally preferred for pumpkin pie would be, but it was still delicious. (None of our Ukrainian guests liked it though…) Actually, it was really funny, I decided to take the rest home to my host Babushka to see if maybe she would like it. She tried it and her face immediately screwed up into bitter disgust. BUT, I came back into the kitchen about 10 minutes later and my host mom was munching on the pie and almost half of it was already gone! She never said she liked it, but a pie that disappears is a good pie.

Today I taught my seventh grade class and it was absolutely wonderful! I had mentioned to my students at the end of class on Monday that Thursday was a special day and if they brought food, we could celebrate. Well, in America if you told a class this maybe one kid would show us with some store-bought cookies. Today. My class showed up with home-made baked goods, chocolates, a bag of apples, fizzy apple cider, and even cups. There was only one student who didn’t bring anything and she is new so she is excused. I am not sure I can express in words how overjoyed and proud I was! These were my students and they were awesome. Unfortunately, Monday is my last class with them and then I leave my little town. I am really going to miss them…

Lately I have been getting headaches from the scratches on my glasses, so on Saturday I got the brilliant idea that I would send my glasses to Kiev with our link group to get fixed. Brilliant right? I don’t have to spend 50грн to go to Kiev and I can just use my older prescription glasses for the week. Of course, Murphy’s law, (Or Sod’s law depending on your English), I woke up and broke my glasses this morning while fixing my bed. Eeeek! And tomorrow afternoon I have my final lesson…which just so happens to be the lesson I am to present in front of the Peace Corps administration to demonstrate my ability to teach…without glasses. For all my readers out there who are near-sided and -4.25 or worse, please write empathetic comments. As for the lesson, this marks the end of my methodological training. Next Thursday I will have my LPI, (Language Proficiency Interview) and the two weeks from tomorrow I am off to my permanent site!

We went to Kiev yesterday, where once again I had some bad luck. Due to reasons beyond my control, I was unable to take my stipend out of the bank this month and I have to request a new card. Murphy’s law, again, I need my passport to do this, the actual passport, not just a copy. But of course, my passport is with the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to get a pink card to work in Ukraine. There is no way for me to get it before next Monday when we “swear in”, (the process of becoming an official volunteer after completing training). So, instead, I had to exchange my US dollars. BUT, (of course another BUT), the bank wouldn’t take $20 worth due to the fact that the bills are wrinkled. So I was only able to get 795грн. Of that amount, I paid 775грн to my host mother for this months rent, which leaves me 20 грн to live off of, (that’s about $2.50). Of course, to look on the bright side of things, when I finally do get access to my account, I will be rich!

Its been snowing a lot lately! I think it was snowed almost ever day for about 9 days straight now. Its absolutely beautiful and white! (Until today, when it warmed up quite a bit and the snow turned into 3 deep brown slush covering all the sidewalks). When there was snow though, it was great because even at night when it was cloudy, it was bright outside. The kids were all out on sleds playing. Over the weekend it snowed the most I have seen since I have been here. I would have loved to play in it, but I went to my 16 year old host-sister’s home town about an hour away and she wasn’t very big on the idea of playing in the snow. Well, the day after tomorrow is my final language exam, LPI, and then on Monday I leave my beautiful city! I may not write again for a while until I get to my new site but I promise I will update as soon as possible. Pray for me! 🙂


3 thoughts on “Mars is currently host to three functional orbiting spacecraft: Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you, as well! Although that was literally a week ago… =D

    That’s funny about the pie. I’m not a huge fan of pie in general (I don’t like the crusts, though I’m sure you remember that… it used to end up on the floor, or your plate), but sometimes it is good. Especially if it’s got spices in it (cinammon!!) (sp?)!

    Sounds like you had fun teaching in general. You are right about the differences in what peopel will bring for school parties or food celebrations. Only in French class did people consistently bring stuff, and even then, it was kind of sporadic.

    That sucks about your glasses! I hope they get back to you before you leave! =/ That would suck if you didn’t have them at all… At least you had your contacts, though. Did you manage to see okay? I know I can’t see anything unless I’m right up close to it without my glasses/lenses.

    And the whole lack of money thing is also pretty sucky, though it might be good later on, like you said, because you’ll be rich. At least the exchange rate is working in your favor (or it sounds like it).

    The snow sounds like a lot of fun! I obviously am not getting snow here but it snowed on the weekend in North Carolina. Everyone insisted on telling me about it. I find snow fun to make snowmen in, and have a wannabe snowball fight, but when it’s falling, it’s kind of depressing, and the earth turns grey. The reflectiveness of the snow is eery, and when it hangs around for days afterwards, it’s annoying. So I like snow, but only while I’m in it and then when I go have a hot chocolate to warm up. After that, it should poof away. XP

    I can’t really think of anything else to say because my brain isn’t really working (plus, this was a surprisingly short blog), so yeah. I love you!!! And… I can’t wait until you get REAL internet so we can skype! I will get to actually see you!! Oh… wait. Ew. Um, can we cancel that call? XP Just kidding, I love you really!

    Have a great time teaching the rest of your classes, and I can’t wait to hear where you’ll be going! I hope your glasses get fixed in time! Btw, make sure you send me your new address! I have to get you a Christmas card! XD

  2. every time i read something i just still can’t believe you are there!! I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE ITT!!… AMAZING… anywayy i have seen snow like 3 times IN MY ENTIRE LIFEEEEEE so enjoy it for me pleaseeeee!!… and alsoo if u didn’t write about thanksgiving i wouldn’t even remember yhat youu american’s celebrate that holiday!… i want to celebrate it once if i can.. so whenever u decide to come back to the AMERICAS (hjaja)) pleaaase contact me on thanksgiving so that we can do that together! and i promess i’ll invite you to a “dia de los muertos” or “posada” that we do here in Mexico .. do we hae a deal?? jaja

    i love uuuuu my firenddd have the best christmas ever!

  3. I hope your final language testing went well. I also hope you had glasses for it. I am wearing my old glasses, too, due to a recent disastrous incident. You know how it goes.

    Do you know where you are being sent? I hope you enjoy teaching there. Just this week, the lights went out in my classroom and the administration could not figure out what was wrong. So, I taught for 3 days with no lights in my classroom. But I do admit that we have real bathrooms and do not use outhouses. So, I guess the lack of lights is not such a big deal when you compare it to a flushing toilet.

    Danielle, I am not really sure about this pumpkin pie that you wrote about. You may think that it was good, but I don’t ever recall making it with a “hard pumpkin”. You are to precook the pumpkin before you put it into a pie! (I want you to know that I was thinking of some “hard” jokes, but decided not to say them.)

    So, you get to have a pink card from the government. Wonderful. In the US when you get a pink slip, it means you got fired from your job. (I am not sure why I mentioned that.)

    Contrary to Stacy, I think the world is so lovely when it is actually snowing. Do me a favor….next time it is snowing, especially if they are big, fluffy flakes, go outside and stand in it. It will be so quiet. I think that is why I love the actual time that it is snowing. It is like the world is stopped while it is snowing. Unlike Stacy, I don’t find it eerie, and instead would call it peaceful. I could just stand there until I got cold, then go in for that hot chocolate that she described. Here, Stacy and I agree. After coming in from the weather that we had today, the old-fashioned hot chocolate that I had was great. Stacy, I wish you were here to share it with me. I made the Mexican kind with an extra dose of cocoa powder. Yes, Stacy, it was made with real milk and did not come out of a packet! You sound like a connosieur (spelling????) of hot chocolate and would have known how good this particular batch was made!

    Speaking of packets, Alex, my dear, how could you imply that stuffing made out of a packet was anywhere near as good as my homemade? My goodness, my last batch of stuffing was made with day-old Paneria bread. It was yummy and Elisa and I were the only ones who ate it. I wish that you, Danielle, and you, Alex, were here to enjoy it with me.

    My mom made really good stuffing. I can remember cutting up the bread into half inch cubes. You know, Danielle, when you and I can get together, we need to build these kinds of cooking memories. Sometimes I think that food events are the most memorial things in life. Let me help you recall a really good food memory…..Do you recall going to the street market in Uruguay and buying red peppers and onions and beef? We came home and opened up bottle of Rose and enjoyed it while we were cooking. I think I recall serving it with rice. I will always treasure that memory.

    In 9 days it will be Christmas. I want to be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas. Please enjoy the food and be sure to mark some moment in your memory . I love you so very, very much and am so very, very proud of you.

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