I am finally at my permanent site! If you would like to know what it is, along with my address, you can send me a private message and I will let you know what it is. I can give general information though. I live in the east of Ukraine, there they speak mainly Russian, though oddly, only Ukrainian is taught in schools. Maybe not so odd. I have a small apartment in the center of the city, or maybe its a town. Is ~80,000 a city or a town? My apartment is tiny, but oh so comfortable! I have a large bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. Small, but its my own. 🙂 Everything is operated by gas. Gas stove, gas water, gas heating. I think this terrifies my school because they think maybe I will maybe leave the gas on and burn the house down. 😀 One kind lady is convinced I am going to kill myself and makes a consistent effort to call me every night to call me every night to ask if everything is ok. I have to be careful what I say as to not offend any possible Ukrainian readers, but my personal assumption is that I am still a child until I have a man to take care of me. Which reminds me, “Danielle, why are you not married yet???? I have a very handsome son I would like you to meet. He’s tall just like you.”
I teach at a ‘Gymnasium’ so the students are a little more advanced in languages than a regular school. No Stacy, a Gymnasium does not mean sports. Here, Gymnasium means a school for advanced students. I think there are about 250 students in my school, ranging from 1st form (grade) to 11th form. (Or maybe 10th? I’m not sure…) I teach from 6th form to the 10th form. I have my own classroom and it is perfect because the sun shines right into my room. My first week, this week, is the last week of this semester so mostly I just introduced myself to the students and played games. My fellow teachers are awesome! There are 7 English teachers and I think there are about 30 teachers altogether. Something interesting and depressing to note is that in Ukraine teachers make VERY little, (I’m not sure if it is kosher to put an actual figure here), but they are also required to pay for all their materials and classroom repairs. When I say classroom repairs, I mean new windows, wallpaper, new doors, and any other problems that might occur in their classroom. Apparently if the costs are high, parents will helps out but it is still a very high cost for teachers. Mom, No more complaints about American schools. 😀 (Or maybe you never complain…? Tee hee)
I have a fellow volunteer in my town. He is a Community Development volunteer so he doesn’t teach. (Yes, TEFL volunteers are better than you guys. :P) He is SUPER tall. This point is emphasized, (purposely to make him feel awkward just in case he reads this), VERY VERY TALL. Maybe 7 feet? He has been very helpful though because he has already been in my city for 6 months so he has started a network. Thankfully he has kindly introduced me! If you ever come visit him ask him about the EX-Army NGO. It’s a good story. So Christmas is on Saturday and I am starting to get a little homesick. Luckily though, the volunteers in my oblast are all meeting up to celebrate Christmas. I can’t say where as I would then fear for my life! But I am stoked to meet everyone who is volunteering around me!
So I have only been here a week and I already have a fan club. Its very nice because I no longer have to buy any chocolate but on the other hand I am predicting I will get fat from all the presents they keep giving me. I feel like a pop star here. (No mom, I am not fat yet. Still nice and fit.) I have one student who consistently comes into my classroom every break. He’s a good kid, but I have politely learned to keep on working even if he is standing over my shoulders watching me. So…as I am writing this, a group of 10th grade students have come into my class to decorate it for Christmas. I think I am in love with my school!
It seems I have written all about my site and I haven’t said anything about the Swearing-In ceremony. I am very proud to say that I performed the Ukrainian National Anthem on my flute. It was bad, but I did it. I hope to have the video up shortly. Also…the most exciting part, PETER YARROW performed a free concert for us! Yes, that is the Puff-The-Magic-Dragon guy. His band apparently also performed right before the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. Pretty awesome, eh? (Side note: It is very possible he was stoned. Either that or he genuinely is the happiest person
I have either met.) I also have a video of that I hope to share…but…internet is slow so uploading could take 2 hours+.
Anyways, I must do something useful with my spare time, so bye! MERRY CHRISTMAS! Think of my lonely self during the holidays and send up a thought or prayer for me! I love you guys and thanks to my diligent readers and COMMENTERS! If you have anything specific you would like to know, let me know and I will put it in my net post!