четвер, вересня 21, 2006

home again

So I spend four days in the nation's capital, which has excellent email access, particularly in the Peace Corps office...and somehow, I never have time to update my blog. Quick recap of the trip.

I had a great visit to the Malkos...much good food from Mama Luda, the best cook I know in Ukraine, a chance to realize that it's almost been one year since I first arrived there, and the joy of being able to talk with them all in Ukrainian. (Sasha: "I am astonished at your Ukrainian." Sasha likes big words in English.)

And then I rode back to Kyiv Sunday afternoon in a very crowded marshrutka (small bus/large van), standing the entire way, surrounded by men who seemed to be rather intoxicated and who were arguing about whether the window should be open or closed. (I was in the "open" camp.) I visited City on a Hill, one of the GCM churches in Kyiv (Eric and Cindy Thomas are there), and was pleased that I was able to follow along with the Russian sermon. (When I got there, people were setting up and there was take-out pizza for those doing so. It reminded me of Riverview.)

The conference itself was great. It wasn't about techniques for teaching, but rather PC wanting our feedback on PCVs in small towns and primary schools in conjunction with a new group of trainees arriving soon. I felt proud to be a PCV as I sat there and listened to people who were passionate about teaching, about our role as PCVs, about ways to train/encourage Ukrainian teachers. Sometimes I get discouraged and feel like people are here mostly for a good time or the cultural experience. But this was a group who cared about the work we are doing here, and it was a privilege to be a part of it.

Plus, we did have fun...we all went out to dinner Monday night, and then I hung out with Greg, Seth, and Seth's Ukrainian fiance Olia, all talking about language and culture and teaching.

Tuesday morning, we had a meeting at the office to give PC some feedback on their plans for the next PST. Then I went out for pizza with Shannon and Greg, returned library books to Kyiv-Mohila Academy (whom I love, as they don't give me late fees and always ask me for mini-reviews), and wandered around forever before I found a Christian bookstore that Eric Thomas had given me directions to. But I finally found it, and bought a book of praise and worship songs in Ukrainian.

Yesterday was sleep/catch-up day, and today I was back at school, facing three rather wild classes of kids who hadn't had me all week and I didn't know exactly what they'd covered while I was gone. But we survived!

Tomorrow after school, I'm off to Kharkiv to visit Tanya, my friend who likes L.M. Montgomery and Firefly, as she is staying there currently for work and we're planning a slumber party.

Random interesting fact: Driver's Training is not required for Ukrainians. It is recommended, but not mandatory, so it is possible to simply purchase a license.

This may explain why, on Tuesday morning, our taxi full of PCVs saw someone driving on the sidwalk.