вівторок, лютого 27, 2007

batter up!

The flu continues, but as the kids are starting to trickle back in, it seems unlikely that we'll have a quarantine. The 6th form is almost all back, but the 7th form just got hit this week, leaving me with 8-10 students out of 24. It's nice. We played "baseball" today with questions about the Olympics (people who grew up playing "Bible Baseball" in Junior Church will understand how it's possible to play baseball without bat, ball, mitts, or bases), which is something I would never attempt if they were all there. Nelya and I sigh to each other about the ideal world in which we would have classes of 8 children, all equipped with British textbooks, parental support, and a CD player that would play all CDs. (Our current one will play regular CDs and the burned ones that Tif sent, but anything I burn off my own laptop won't work. Very annoying.)

Biggest giggle of the week: looking over Zhenia V's shoulder yesterday in 4th form to see that instead of "Classwork" at the top of the page in his copy-book, he had written "Dammwork". I didn't suspect him of being profane, so I asked him why he'd written that. "Isn't that how you spell it?" he asked me. No clue how that mix-up occured. The lesson flopped (as Nelya was the acting teacher and I was the assistant, I claim little responsibility), and I wondered if perhaps Zhenia was unwittingly giving his opinion of the class. :)

10A wrote a control (test) today. As their attendance had been sporadic even before the flu outbreak, the results looked pretty sad at first glance. Oh well, that makes them easier to correct!

Мітки: , ,

субота, лютого 24, 2007

and they continue to get sick!

The obligatory flu update: yesterday we had, if I remember correctly, 96 students absent and at least 10 that I know of that went home during the day. Nelya and I canceled our 10th form class in the afternoon, because only 3 students of 20 were there and it was last period. But we STILL haven't announced a quarantine. One of the teachers told me this is because not enough kids have doctors' excuses that they're actually sick, since many parents just treat their kids at home (understandable, because a) who wants any medical expenses, and b) who wants to drag their sick kid out on public transportation to the hospital?). So we'll see what happens...

Am currently in Kharkiv on a trip to buy tickets for (yet another) trip to Kyiv. This time it's for a meeting to start putting together a training manual for PCVs who will be working with younger forms. Apparently the latest group of TEFL PCVs felt that their training was inadequate...and they got more Young Learners info than I did! At any rate, it should be a neat project, and it means I'll be in Kyiv on my birthday! I'll have to celebrate somehow, I suppose...I bought a ticket for a later train home than I usually take (which will only get me to Kharkiv, and then I'll take the elektrichka) in hopes of finding PCVs to go out to dinner with.

Other than that, no real news.

Мітки: , , , ,

вівторок, лютого 20, 2007

they keep dropping like flies...okay, like sick children

Today is not one of the Internet's happy days, as it has already kicked me off multiple times, to the point where the behind-the-counter ladies called in the Programming Guy. He fixed things, and the comment was made that the computer listens to him. :) I guess you just have to show it who's boss.

The flu continues, with 84 kids absent from school today (out of 270-odd). Kharkiv is also in quarantine mode right now, and I wouldn't be surprised if we'll be there soon. I've been told when 1/3 are absent, but I think the decision has to come from the raiyon administration, rather than from school staff. Having only half my students makes the lessons so much easier!

Apparently the education inspector for the raiyon is supposed to come watch me teach this week. I was sorry she didn't come today, as all the lessons went well. I'll be surprised if she comes, because she's said several times she'll come and then never shows.

The Y family butchered their pig this weekend. I went over to do laundry on Saturday and Nadia and her mom had the kitchen table covered in pork that they were packaging. It felt like home. :) She sent me home with a package of fresh pork, which my freezer is actually keeping frozen. (Yay!) I made pork stroganoff last night, which is a fancy title for pork, onions, mushrooms, garlic, and sour cream, all over mashed potatoes. Yum!

Мітки: , , , ,

пʼятниця, лютого 16, 2007

money, 7th form mentality, and the flu (but I'm not sick)

The PC sent us an email with a breakdown of what percentage of our living allowance should be allotted to various categories. It's...interesting. They think that "incidentals", ie postage, phone cards, and Internet, should only come to about $34.65/month. My phone cards alone probably are more than $50 most months. However, utilities, travel, recreation, clothing...basically all other categories are much lower than they assume. And it's not like I short myself in other areas to afford phone cards...I've never been short on money since moving here.

I might keep track of how much I spend on food next month just out of curiousity. PC says 60%, or about $140/month, and I know I spend less than that. And even if I didn't get produce and milk from Nadia, I still think it would be less than what they think. Interesting.


I really like teaching my 7th and 8th forms, but I think I realized yesterday why I should stick to teaching younger children as a career. I don't have an immature enough mind to keep up with them. I was teaching the construction "as _____ as _____", and for an example, since I wanted two things the same size, I held up a purple pen and a green pen and wrote on the board, "The green pen is as long as the purple pen." And then the boys started to laugh, having mentally removed one space from the sentence. Mild chaos erupted for a few minutes, and I have to admit, I was trying not to laugh myself, more at their reaction than anything else. Although I didn't know that their English anatomy vocab was that good.


I only had 3 out of 16 6th formers today, as the flu has pretty well wiped their class out. Apparently if 1/3 of the school is sick, we then will have a quarantine, which has already happened in Kyiv and Poltava. But I think we're okay here.


7 kids came to my senior English club last night!!! Granted, all we did was make Valentines, and the English component was that they had to write something in English on them, but they're starting to come. And as they continue to come, I can sneak the English in...mwuhahahaha...

вівторок, лютого 13, 2007

a happy smile :)

It took 40 minutes each way to walk to the dentist's, uphill and down, through water, snow, ice, and slush (all on the street, the sky is precipitation-free today so far). It only took 30 minutes or so total at the dentist office itself.

They're very thorough...I felt as if I was being sandblasted at times. The woman told me, "It won't be painful, just maybe unpleasant." I was curious how she differentiated the terms. At any rate, no cavities but I need to floss regularly.

Courtney (who went to U of M), Susannah, Nathan, and I went out to Vesuvius Pizza last night. We decided to order two large pizzas (one onion/mushroom, one onion/olives), but they were HUGE when they came, and we failed to finish them. We had a good time talking about music and swapping stories about our sites. Then Susannah and I went to the Brat and discovered that, despite having cable with channels in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and English (one channel in English, mostly pop culture-ish news), there wasn't really much on.

Currently wasting time by looking on Travelocity at airfares and dreaming of world travelling...in warmer, drier weather!

Мітки: , ,

понеділок, лютого 12, 2007


Well, according to Dr. Sveta, I'm in fine health. This is not particularly news to me, but nice to know. I've spent most of the day hanging around the office waiting for PC staff...have almost gotten to the point where I'm bored with the Internet. *gasp*

Tonight's plans: pizza with Susannah, Courtney, and whoever else is around.

Tomorrow: the dentist. Ugh.

I had a great weekend. Saturday, I enjoyed the luxury of free high-speed Internet and returned library books (that were due in October...I'm so glad that Kyiv-Mohila Academy is kind enough to not charge me late fees!), and then headed out to the Malkos in Zgurivka. I was well-fed by Mama Luda and had my usual good-hearted, bi-lingual sibling bickering with Sasha. The highlight of the visit was going sledding on cardboard boxes with Sasha and one of his friends. I haven't been sledding in years, and I had so much fun!

Then I caught a ride back to Kyiv with some of the Malkos' neighbors, rather than take the bus (warmer, cheaper, faster) and spent the night at my friend Tanya's. It was a lot of fun, very slumber party-ish: we watched The Princess Bride and Serenity, swapped music, and had supper with her parents. As I said, very much like a slumber party growing up, except that I chatted with her parents in Russian instead of English.

And today...dun dun dun...my medical checkup and the dentist tomorrow. Ugh.

But on the bright side, I just inheirited the Lonely Planet guide to Ukraine from the office library. It costs $22.99 according to the cover, and I got it for free!

Мітки: , , , ,

пʼятниця, лютого 09, 2007

baby booties?

At the Internet club in Kharkiv, waiting for a train to Kyiv...my fourth trip there in a month and a half. I'm getting rather tired of traveling to and from Kyiv. However, I just ran into Susannah, who is also going to Kyiv for medical, so I'll have someone cool to hang out with. :)


Story of the week, which Tif will definitely appreciate and Jason quite possibly won't:

Due to the fact that Ukrainian winter diets run heavy to carbohydrates, I'm definitely a bit pudgy these days. I've also traded in my skirts for a pair of dress slacks (4 hryven secondhand!) due to the warmth factor, which unfortunately seems to accentuate the pudginess.

So I was standing at my desk on Wednesday before my 11th form sixth period class, with my stomach apparently sticking out just a bit over the top of the desk, when Helen, my class ditz, squeals (in Russian) with a look of joy on her face, "Miss Sally, you're pregnant?"

If anyone had had a camera, I'm sure that the look on my face was priceless. I sputtered out, "NO!" Anya, who has too many brains to be a ditz but fails to use them wisely, answered, "Why not?"

Sputter number 2. I started out in English--"I don't have a husband, I haven't had sex"--and finally just switched to Ukrainian. "Ne moszhlivo. It's impossible."

Helen, proudly: "I'm pregnant!"

Sputter number 3. "Really?!" (I found myself picturing more little Helens and was very scared.)

"Da!" ("Yes!") Anya chimed in (in English!), "Three months!"

Fortunately at that point, the bell rang and we started class. Not sure which part caught me more off guard--Helen's pregnancy (I'm wondering if the father might be Anton, another one of my 11th formers she's dated, and if so, I really worry about the kid and the sort of life it's going to have) or how happy she seemed to think that I was pregnant, too. She saw Jason when he was here, and I could just see in her eyes that she was imagining a happy little home for me with a husband and a baby. All the reasons that occured to me as to why this would be a Very Bad Situation at this time of my life (unmarried, in Ukraine, in the Peace Corps), didn't occur to her.

At least if she's three months along, she got pregnant BEFORE my abstinence/safer sex lecture on World AIDS Day, so it wasn't that she didn't listen to me. She hadn't heard yet. And she's apparently going to keep the baby, rather than abort it, which is encouraging, based on the Soviet-era stats I've read for abortions.

But Helen as a mother? I'm scared...


On a brighter note, my 11th form did an awesome job today debating whether or not I should allow mobile phones in class. I gave them the topic, let them divide themselves into pro and con teams, handed out dictionaries, and let them work on their arguments. As could be expected, the team not in favor of phones at the lesson got right down to business and worked hard. The team in favor of phones at the lesson (which included Helen and Anya) goofed off and read magazines...and then got crushed in the debate, except for Serhii, who pretty much carried his team. At one point Serhii and Vova got so into it that they slipped back into Russian and got more vehement. I declared the "no phones" winners, which the other side said wasn't fair, and I think we'll do this again. It was fun.


I still can't believe Helen thought I was pregnant. Time to lay off the carbs!

понеділок, лютого 05, 2007

not much going on these days...it's too cold

How you can tell it's cold: the jug of drinking water at church yesterday had a large piece of ice floating in it. Vitaly and I noticed this, and when we told Viktor and Nadia later, they almost didn't believe us. Almost everyone wore their coats in church yesterday. The young female crowd (that would be all 5 of us girls between 10 and 25) started out without our coats, but we had all put them back on before the first song even started.

I had 16 kids show up to my junior English club today...this time, even one of the 2nd form girls showed up, and they haven't learned the whole alphabet yet! I had problems with some of the fourth form boys, sent one home, and told three of them that they have to take a week off from coming because they were misbehaving. I'm mean like that.

I had a couple book review thoughts that I wanted to post, but I don't have the books with me and I don't remember the titles and authors exactly. So that'll have to wait.