August 12th: the Peak of the Perseids Meteor Shower. 60 Meteors/min

I’m at a patio right now drinking a live beer flavored with honey. I’m at home that means. I haven’t been home in almost two weeks, except for one random night I finally made it to my bed somehow.
Firstly, exciting news, I finally saw the Donbass Arena. This is one of the few stadiums (including stadiums in Kharkiv and Poland) where the 2012 Eurogames will be held next June. The game I saw was Ukraine vs. France, and we sorely loss. But the loss was not the worst of the game, believe it or not. I went with my site partner, Candice, (a random ballerina some volunteers met at the last game after my site partner yelled some profanities out in English), and two German girls who are also doing volunteer work near us. We were initially assigned to seats far back beyond the crowds. Since the stadium was fairly empty though, we made the decision to move closer to where the real fans were seated, the fans dressed in all yellow and blue jumping up and down, singing and waving flags. Apparently these same fans are the drunken idiots who get overly excited, pull down their pants and wave their junk about. Yes, that did happen, and the bastard didn’t even get kicked out of the stadium. He only got a warning! It was a fun time either way though.
While Candice, Conor and I were walking back to Candice’s place, we decided to play tag on a playground we found. Conor and I were slightly tipsy after a few beers, so anything stupid we may have done, ie falling, tripping, etc, was excused. CANDICE ON THE OTHER HAND was not excused. She tripped over a park bench and fell flat on her face and then continued to laugh about it…all done sober ladies and gentlemen. Haha. Класно!  (Classic)
So this is kinda cool, one of the German chicks, Johanna, only arrived in Ukraine about 2 weeks ago. The organization she is volunteering with, Alliance, is using her as a test subject to see how manageable (or unmanageable) Ukraine is to a foreigner who knows no Russian. They are sending her out on random errands like finding shops or riding buses and then she writes a blog (in English) about her experiences. As it stands right now, Ukraine is F***ing difficult to navigate without knowing Russian. Ukraine has a lot to do before the 2012 games. At least they are working at it though.
I recently had an AWESOME opportunity to play my flute in a very important ceremony. For those of you who do not know, Peace Corps is currently (this year) celebrating their 50th anniversary. In Ukraine, we just had about 100 new trainees become volunteers. Peace Corps Ukraine combined these two big events and made a gigantic ceremony out of it. I got the play my flute in the opening of the ceremony! Ukrainians are, like the rest of the world, crazy about the Beatles so I pretty much played a bunch of their songs. It was awesome.
Summer in Ukraine rocks. Already. Although I haven’t lived through the infamous July yet…so this may be updated later. Its so pretty…flowers and green EVERYWHERE. Maybe I didn’t notice these beauties since I lived most of my life in the hot south or America. But after that long dreadful, black winter, this summer is breathtaking. I finally got a hold of a sleeping bag to go with the tent…did  mention that? I went halvsies on a tent. WOOT.
This summer I have one camp I will take part in and then Language camp. The first on is a camp focused on HIV/AIDS, which I have numerous times mentioned is a HUGE problem in my oblast. HUGE. I am taking 13 of my students along and it is going to be a blast. It will overlap with 4th of July, which I am a little sad I will be missing in Pennsylvania by the way….but we will be able to use this as a great opportunity to show Ukrainians how we celebrate one of our most important holidays. The second is a Russian Language camp where I will be able to touch up on my Russian grammar. I am stoked because it will be the first time my cluster, Charlie, Jun and I, will be together since we swore in as volunteers. Also, many other of my favorite volunteers in the world will be there. I am stoked. It will be a week of actual full on Russian studying and seeing friends and no other worries, ie projects…can’t get better.
School ended a while back but I never got a chance to write about it, sorry. I think it was the last week of may it ended? Anyways, it was awesome. We had this big ceremony to say bye to the students and give out certificates. I had to present a few and say everything in Russian…it was tough. But it made my heart BLOOM because when they said my name to come up, the students almost made me deaf with screaming. My heart almost melted. I LOVE MY STUDENTS.  After that, all the teachers piled in a big van and we headed to a nearby lake to have a Щащлик. (BBQ) Shashlik, (yes that is what that says), is like a shish kabob. Yummy. Deliciousness. The food was great. Ha, the best part though, is when all the teachers started puling out their many bottles of vodka. It always gets me. I look up and there is about 16 bottles of vodka and wine on the table, and all I can think is “uh-oh”. Ha…so we drink them….and it was hilarious, from spending a good 30 minutes to modeling for photos, (sticking to Ukrainian traditions of ‘photos are awesome”) to my director randomly deciding to present her sunglasses to our youngest English teacher, to returning to the table hours later and finding that one of our administrators had been hiding more vodka in her bag…At this point I was sun sleepy. I had been playing Frisbee, (drunk I might add)  and laying in the sun and the alcohol was starting to make me feel woozie. My teachers tell me the only cure for this is another shot and they insist on another shot. Ha…thank God we had to leave shortly. Though shortly included making or may back to the vans and taking as many strange pictures as possible with the 2o-something teachers on hand. Ukrainians know how to have fun!
I think I must run now. Its getting late and I need to sleep and be productive tomorrow. I only returned from Kiev this morning (at 5am I might add) and I still have to unpack. Small little updates, my sister Elisa might be here to visit. Yay! I am still working on fundraising for the World map project. The book-project is on hold until next semester for reasons beyond my control. Nevermind…
Next month on the 16th, I am officially 1/3 the way through my service. Wow. Time flies when you are having fun….and then winter comes…Threw an awesome surprise for sitemate’s birthday…after an innocent Mexican party, my students and I surprised him by throwing a bunch of water balloons at him. Turned out the Babushka was the only one to hit him . 
Sorry, one last note…My little sister Maria was dues yesterday. As far as I heard she hasn’t had the baby yet, a little girl, Cheyenne, but please send up a little prayer for her and an early congratulations. I hope to soon have pictures up of her little girl. I miss you tons Maria.

One thought on “August 12th: the Peak of the Perseids Meteor Shower. 60 Meteors/min

  1. Hey! Sorry about how long it took to write this response. Somehow, I am still the first to post anything, so I’m not sure what’s up with that. A third of the way through your volunteering is great. =) Fun pictures, too. The children’s park bit… is special. As far as I know, Maria’s baby was born healthy and fit, but I haven’t really heard. A live soccer game sounds fun, although I can’t knock Candice. I am sure I have done exactly the same thing thousands of times. Those of us born without grace can’t help it.

    You sound like you’ll be busy this summer. Have fun with all those camps… O.o At least you have fewer random projects to do now that the school year has ended. Do you know if you will be teaching the same students again next year?

    Love you, Danielle! I look forward to hearing more soon!

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