вівторок, лютого 28, 2006

A! B! C!

The post title is courtesy of my 2nd form, who discovered today the joys of waving foam letters in the air and yelling out the alphabet in order . (Minus K and S, which had been appropriated by a 3rd former, who has been apprehended and pinky-swears he will bring them back tomorrow.)

Life is busy, but interesting. Besides school, which I can talk about for hours, I had a full weekend. On Saturday, Nelya and I went to the Orthodox church, which I found fascinating. I wasn't able to understand much, as the entire service was in sung and/or chanted Russian, but the acapella, mostly female, singing was beautiful. But you don't sit down in Orthodox churches... On Sunday, I went to a Ukrainian folk music concert at the local Palace of Culture (don't ask, I didn't name it...sort of like a US community center). It was AWESOME!

Major Prayer Request: my friend Tifanni, another PCV, fell on the ice yesterday, fractured a vertebrae, and is in the hospital in Kyiv for the next two weeks. After that, it's up to Peace Corps Headquarters in DC to decide what's next.

Current occupation: researching Ukrainian higher education at the end of the 20th century for Nelya, as my Internet skills (and amount of free time) are more advanced than hers

середа, лютого 22, 2006

(early) spring has sprung

I have just had some man ask me some question about Xeroxes while sitting here at the post office typing away. I simply said that I didn't know, and he seemed quite surprised. This may have been one of those questions that I should have known because I was on the computer.

My church-going on Sunday ended up as somewhat of an adventure. I thought I was at the Kyiv International Bible Church, but apparently two congregations use the same building at the same time, and I ended up at a Russian-language Pentecostal service that was almost three hours long. No, I was not blessed with the gift of tongues, and yes, I felt as if God was giving me all the church I've missed in one lump. After church, I hung out with the Thomases, and then caught part of one of the GCM church services that was in English translated into Russian, before I had to catch my train back to Balaklia.

It's great to be back teaching...my kids had made Valentines for me. I'm amazed at their artistic creativity, especially as their oral work tends to follow strict patterns and be very non-creative.

It's in the mid-30s Farenheit today, which means that I go outside without a hat but the roads are very slushy, as there aren't drains in them.

неділя, лютого 19, 2006

evil squirrels and church

Stage Notes: Peace Corps office
Mood: blessed

IST is over, and while it was fun to hang out with people, I'm glad to be going back to site. My roomies, Grace and Shelly, were randomly insane in the way of many of my friends back home...as in, we stayed up until 2 am one night discussing such topics as the fact that, according to Grace, brown squirrels are evil and black squirrels are slightly less evil and protect us from the brown squirrels.

Also deeply encouraging was meeting two other PCVs in my group who are Christians and being able to pray together, something I haven't had with other people in almost five months. I have a lead on a church in Kharkiv with an English language service, so I'm hoping to check it out soon. It amazes me how things like being able to pray with others, that I took for granted back home, mean so much to me here.

And, as I am in Kyiv today, I am going to church at Kyiv International Bible Church this morning and hanging out with the Thomases this afternoon.

вівторок, лютого 14, 2006


Made it to Kyiv without any problems and had a lovely chat with a woman from Belarus on the train. Next item on the agenda, collect a month's worth of books (okay, a week's worth is all I can carry) from the PC library so I have something to read the next time I'm colded in.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

субота, лютого 11, 2006

walking in a winter wonderland

School was canceled for four days due to cold, which meant that on Friday, when we finally DID have school, lots of kids were absent. I only had 3 kids in my 4th form, which was a lot of fun and gave me time to work with them more closely. (Why can't that ever happen with my 3rd form?) 9th form and I need to have a talk, as they don't seem to find their homework worth their time to do. Aargh.

Currently, Mike and I are bumming around Kharkiv for the day, as everyone else in our region is in Kyiv for an inservice training for Russian. We have Ukrainian IST starting on Tuesday, so I'll get to see everyone from my training cluster, plus a lot of other people. I'm hoping to see my host brother from training and Eric and Cindy Thomas, but I still have to figure out schedules.

It's beautiful out today...the snow is falling, and it's only a little cold. We've wandered up and down the streets, Mike bought a coffee press, and then we're going to find an Irish pub Mike knows about later.

понеділок, лютого 06, 2006

turn my head with thoughts of summertime

Nelya called this morning to say it was very cold (-27 Celcius) and that I could stay home if I wanted. So I did, not wanting to be frozen. However, I had errands that compelled me to leave the warmth of my apartment, and I have discovered that it is actually not that bad, if you don't mind frozen nose hairs. Am now contemplating trying to make it to school for the last two classes.

This is my seventh trip to the post office in the last three days...every other time I was here, someone was on the Internet and was going to be so for at least two hours. This time, I met a guy who speaks very good English (including such phrases as "piece of cake") and who has been to New York City, Minneapolis, LA, and Key West. I think he's better traveled in the US than I am.

We had a school dance on Saturday night...sort of a home-coming-esque thing where previous students came back for a concert put on by current students and then a dance for everyone afterwards. I danced a bit, but mostly hung out in the teachers' workroom and had lots of people trying to talk to me. The music teacher, his son (who's a jazz pianist), and I sang "Yesterday" in three-part harmony.

School last week had its ups and downs. My third form on Thursday was a complete disaster, as Nelya had had to go to the train station and left me alone with 15 rather wild, non-English-speaking 8 year olds. It turned into chaos, as I had no way of making them behave. (Trust me, I tried.) 2/3 of my ninth form didn't do their homework, and 4 of the other 5 blatantly copied from books and each other. However, they looked pretty sheepish after I lectured them. But on the other hand, 10th form did a lesson on supermarkets complete with pages from a Meijer's ad, and that went over really well. My 5th form is currently learning grammar via folk songs, and the shyest girl in that class, who never speaks above a whisper, even in Russian or Ukrainian, said "Good morning" to me the other day.

So there's hope in teaching yet. :)


Movies of the weekend, lent from Tif: Phantom of the Opera (from whence comes my post title) and The Incredibles, which I highly recommend to my family.

середа, лютого 01, 2006

I is an English teacher.

We have school this week! Yay yay yay yay yay!!!!

Highlights of a teacher's life:

~watching second-graders injure each other to the point of tears during the Hokey-Pokey
~my 8th form getting oh-so-excited about learning English, participating, and racing each other in a wordsearch to earn stickers
~one of my 8th form boys asking me for his daily grade...I wrote "7" in his daybook, he grinned and said "six!", so I changed it to a 6. The look on his face was horriffic, but I think he might study his numbers better from now on. (Usually when I teach, I remind myself of Mom. That day, I reminded myself of Dad.)
~catching a 10th form girl in the middle of forging her mother's signature on the class rules they'd had two weeks to get signed. I suspect there were a lot of forgeries I didn't catch...
~asking my 10th form for a list of shops and having one girl (a different girl) say "sex shop"...I informed her that that was NOT an appropriate answer
~giving my 5th form a test over the future simple tense. I can definitely tell who sat by whom.

This morning, I was at the bookstore and bought a book (printed in Ukraine) of short texts in English about English-speaking countries and people, in hopes of using it in my upper forms. My favorite quote so far: "[The Bronte sisters] lived in a parsonage in Haworth sometime between the year 1800 and the year 1900." If any of the Brontes had lived past age 35, I think I could have dealt with it better. As it was, Sally-the-English-Major-and-Quiz-Bowl-Player cries out, "Shoddy research!"