Summer is coming to an end. School starts next week. Projects are to be started. And soon I will go to COS (Close of Service) conference and learn how to close my [long] service here in Ukraine.
It’s a little nerve-wracking to know that I will soon I will be lost in the flurry of preparations to go home and then before I know it, I’ll be home. I was talking to Conor one day and he said thinking of his 27 months in Ukraine was like thinking of a dream he once had. He simply woke up and he was back in the USA. This scares me. I have made so many friends here, had so many unique experiences here, and I have such wonderful students, that I don’t want to look at Ukraine as merely a “long dream”…
Today I returned from a village about an hour from where I live. My good friend Lena’s family lives there and they invited us to come visit. The head of the family, a young babushka, lived in a very simple house. No hot water, no running water, a toilet on the street, a well, a make-shift shower (which needed to be filled after each shower), and a beautifully huge garden where all our food came from (and where also stood a pig, several chickens, 2 cows, ducks, and 8 cats). For the first time in my life I saw a cow get milked. I should have milked it myself… I didn’t. Oh, and I got told by a 3-year old that, “If you can’t speak Russian so that everyone can understand you [referring to my accent], then you shouldn’t speak Russian at all.” Thanks kid. Like I don’t already know I have an accent.
August 24th is Ukraine’s independence day so this day we went into the nearest town, walked around their park, drank champagne, and generally enjoyed the atmosphere. The next two days consisted mostly of eating, drinking, and relaxing on the beach at a nearby pond. It’s literally my dream life.
Since coming back to my little town, I have had 3 exciting meetings with my English Club. The first night was Mexican food and “Parent Trap” night, the movie. We made everything from scratch, including corn tortillas, re-fried beans, salsa, and Mexican rice. The kids loved it! Some even tried Texas Pete sauce, which is a miracle in Ukraine, as Ukrainians generally don’t eat spicy food.
The second meeting with English club was a trip to a little place called Avdeevka. There is located a beautiful and clean swimming hole (a quarry I think?). Although it took us 4 hours on two different elektrichkas (suburb trains?), we spent all day there and had a blast. Except then we missed our train back home and had to catch another, which was rather complicated and time-consuming.
The third meeting was a Lasagna night. They loved the food, but this meeting turned out to be extremely disappointing as several students complained about everything; from the meat I chose, to the fact that I was eating meat at all, and then of course, the movie I chose. When they left this meeting, I was angry and disappointed in them and sent out a very stern email to show it. Sucks that in Ukraine, no one knows how to handle direct confrontation, so no one knew what to do with it. I managed to get apologies from the kids who didn’t offend me…
My good PCV friend, Janine, and I went camping last weekend. It was just us, two girls. Janine said I proved my “badassness” during this trip, (I made the fire, collected wood, put up the tent, and did most of the cooking). Yah, thats right, I am a badass. hehehe. Unfortunately though, this badass got robbed that weekend. You can literally see our tent from the water and there was no one else camping near us so we thought it would be safe to swim. But then we came back and my wallet was missing. In there, was an 8GB flashdrive, my MP3 player, ~20USD, my Accreditation card, my Ukrainian bank card, and what else I cannot remember. Everything but the Flashdrive and MP3 Player will be replaced. Sad day.
So now school is starting…on Saturday actually…Apparently September 1st is a magical day, whether it is on a Weekend or not. On September 15th, a trainer will come from Kiev and teach 5 students and 20 teachers and admin about HIV/AIDS. Then we will have a photo contest and make our calendars.
Note: The HIV/AIDS themed calendars with photos from my students will be up for sale for about $6-8 and shipping (about 3-4$) Please let me know if you would like me to send you one and I will know actual prices in October when I order them! I cannot bring them home with me as I have limited space and weight and I need to bring 2-years worth of life home. Sorry…
One more time, in case no one saw, I made an awesome video to advertise for the HIV/AIDS working group. Please watch if you want to know what we do! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLggT7Yuh9k. Also, I have managed, perfected and translated the HIV/AIDS working group website, so please take a look! There’s tons of materials and lesson plans there if you ever get a chance to teach about HIV/AIDS. http://hivaidsukraine.wikispaces.com/
So yah, that will be my last project in Ukraine. I am super stoked! I head out on the 3rd. Still haven’t found a home for my cat, so it looks like I will be taking her home. Eeeek!
Comments as usual please!