I have a webcam!
Greg and I had a shopping day at Target (not the US Target, but the biggest grocery/department store in Kharkiv) on Wednesday. Greg found blue cheese, a mop, sticky-tac (apparently you can
find it in Ukraine!), and a bunch of other random stuff, and I got my webcam, white-out, two copy-books, and peanut butter, which comes in little packets apparently, rather than jars. I haven't tried it yet, as I keep using my bread for other things (ie sandwiches), but I hope to soon.
So now when Jason and I talk with each other on Skype, we both have webcams and can see each other (although he generally looks sort of like a Monet painting, a little fuzzy around the edges, and when he moves quickly, the resemblance is closer to Picasso's work). It's almost (but not quite) as good as being able to actually go on a date. :)
My 10th form topic this week was "Making Suggestions." For their Thursday night homework, I asked them all to brainstorm three problems that they had in their lives. On Friday, I put them into groups and had them come up with answers to these problems. Below is a sampling, with suggestions in italics.
~No money (a very common problem): Need to work
~I get bad marks: Need to study
~My CD player doesn't work: Throw it out, buy a new one
(which went back to "No money")
~I'm lazy: To overcome it
(I was very proud of Natasha, as she looked up "overcome" in the dictionary to answer Olexi's problem)
~I live in Vilavatka (a village south of us) and I have to take the train to school (because the school there closed due to lack of students and the kids have to come to our school now): Move to Balaklia
(to which Olena replied, "No money!")
~No boyfriend (from Lyuba, a very sweet girl who gets mediocre grades but works very hard for them): Yura, the class clown, said that he was available. Lyuba smiled in a way that said, "Not on your life!"
The highlight (perhaps "main event" is a more appropriate term) of yesterday was trying to fix the lock on my outer door. It hadn't been oiled since I moved in (or ever?), and yesterday, the key finally stopped turning...that is, when I could actually get it in the lock. Lena, my second-floor neighbor, told me that I needed car oil, what the container looked like, and that I needed to go to the hardware store. I went to the hardware store, and the following conversation ensued.
Me (holding up an empty oil container lent me by Lena): Excuse me, do you have car oil?
Shop-assistant: No, we don't.
Me: Where can I get it?
Shop-assistant: At a hardware store.
Me: Aren't you a hardware store?
Shop-assistant: Yes, but we don't have it.
Me: Well, at what hardware store can I get it?
Shop-assistant: At the bazaar. [which was already closed for the day by that point]
Me: My problem is that I can't turn my key in the lock. Do you have anything that would help me?
Shop-assistant: No, we don't.
Me: Thank you. Goodbye.
At that point, I really
missed Cantwell's in Lakeview.
I then walked down to the bazaar, on the off-chance that it was still open. It wasn't. Neither was the other hardware store right by it. So I did what I usually do when in a dilemma, and called Nadia. Valera answered the phone, which meant a bit more talking to do before I could convince him to go find his mom. When I got ahold of Nadia, she asked me to call back in a few minutes (I think so she could go look for oil).
I walked home, was met by the neighbor girls (who have been visiting me quite regularly with bouquets of weeds and grass all week), and decided to ask my first-floor neighbors, an older couple. It turns out that "Uncle Misha" (the girls said that since he was "Grandpa Misha" to them...no relation...he would be "Uncle Misha" to me) is a very good fix-it man who took my lock out of the door, oiled it, and put it back in, all while chatting with me about why on earth I speak Ukrainian instead of Russian. He prefers Russian. However, he told me he was glad that I'd asked him when I had a problem and that he helps out everybody in the building when they have problems. So I'm going to bake him cookies or something as a way to say thank you, I think.
Yula, Viktor and Nadia's oldest niece on Nadia's side of the family, was back in church this week. She'd been living with extended family and working as a nurse in Zhytomer, in western Ukraine, since just before New Year's, and the original plan was that she was going to settle out there. However, just before moving out there, she had met a guy (I can sympathize), and after a few months there, decided to move back home. It looks like Yula and Serogia are probably going to get married...they'd been thinking this summer or early fall, but Nadia told me today that it might be as early as next month. On Saturday, apparently, his pastor and close family members are going to meet with the adults of Yula's family (which includes aunts, uncles, and grandparents...her grandfather is also our pastor) to discuss the feasibility of this. So Yula's side of the family was going to get together this evening to talk it all over. It's very different from the US, with such a high degree of family and church involvement.
From what I've read, traditionally at such meetings between both sides of the family, if the girl wasn't interested in marrying, they'd give the guy a pumpkin. Yula's definitely interested, but I want to know where they'd get a pumpkin this time of year if she wasn't.
Мітки: 10th form, apartment woes, funny student stuff, greg, internet, jason, marriage, neighbor kids, neighbors, shopping, ukrainian traditions, webcam, y family, yula