home again, home again, jiggety-jig!
Okay...home and back in the swing of life, so it's time to blog!
The program at DCU finished up with a talent show/graduation ceremony on Friday afternoon. Everyone who'd scored a 70% or higher in the morning classes (which were graded) received a certificate of completion. For the talent show end of it, we had lots of singing in English, Russian, and Ukrainian, plus a Greek dance. I was part of a choir of some of the Americans singing "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" in four-part harmony acapella. I also sang two songs in Ukrainian by myself--"Ти ж мене підманула," which is a folk song that goes through the days of the week and the reasons why a girl stood her boyfriend up each day (it's probably the most popular folk song in Ukraine, and half the audience was singing along with me), and a Ukrainian translation of "You Are My All in All." I was applauded vigorously--I think after two weeks of putting in a lot of work to learn English, the Ukrainian students were happy to see someone trying to do something in their language.
Earlier that morning, Stephanie, Lana, and I had gone into the center of Donetsk to do some shopping. We were amused by how many people asked us for directions. On our way back home, as we were walking down the street from the trolley stop to the university, a guy a little younger than us asked us a question in English. Assuming that he was a Ukrainian wanting to practice English, I answered in Russian. After a minute or two of confusion, it was determined that we had, in fact, met an American looking for DCU. His name is Brian, and he was a Christian visiting a Russian friend of his who works in Donetsk, and having some free time, had decided to look up what sort of Christian organizations/institutions there were in the area. So we showed him around a bit and he was our photographer during the talent show. In the evening, the four of us went into the center and walked around, swapping stories. We went out to dinner at a place called (in translation) "The Three Fat Guys", which had good food. I had a barbequed pork steak with grilled onions, french fries, and a coleslaw-esque salad. After dinner, we walked down to the river and met up with his friend Kostya and Kostya's girlfriend Nastia. It was a nice evening and a good way to end the program.
Saturday, I went back out to the Good Shepherd children's home, said goodbye to lots of people, made one last trip to the Very Nice Supermarket, and boarded a train home around 9:20. The train ride home was much more pleasant than the ride to Donetsk had been, since I was no longer sick with a fever.
I got home around 3:45 Sunday morning, slept until 8 am, and then got up and went to church. I'd really debated whether or not I wanted to go versus sleep in, but I had really missed being at church over the past month, and I was glad I went. Inna, our usual pianist, was on vacation with her parents, so I ended up playing piano. I guess this makes me the official assistant pianist! Yay, I have a responsibility at church! Yula and Serhii were up visiting her parents (they live in a different town now), so I was able to catch up on how they're doing (went to the Sea of Azov for their honeymoon, she's waiting to get her in-country passport [it's like an ID card] updated so she can get a job).
After church, I came home, napped for an hour, and then went with Robert, the new PCV in town, to a picnic with my friend Natalia and some of her neighbors. We drove to a little village a few kilometers away and spent all afternoon and evening there. We swam in the river (wow, I'm out of shape...my arms ached yesterday!) and ate shashlik. For those sad individuals who don't live in countries where shashlik is popular, let me explain: it's sort of like a shish kebob. Anya, Natalia's neighbor, had marinated chunks of pork in mayonnaise with salt, pepper, and onions sliced into rings. Then, she threaded the pork and onions on metal skewers and roasted them over a fire. It was incredibly good. Who's up for trying it in the US next summer?
The last two days have been quiet, just settling back into everyday life--lots of trips to the bazaar and stores, as I had almost no food in the house; researching grad schools on the Internet; wondering where all the tiny black fly-type critters came from while I was gone and how to get rid of them.
My most interesting experience happened yesterday when I went downstairs to return a couple plates to Oleg and Lesia. Oksana, a former classmate of theirs, was over and they were recording a song that Oleg had written in Russian. However, Oksana also wanted to record an English version, so I ended up translating the song into English, rewording things so it flowed with the music, and helping Oksana with pronunciation. Lots of fun, and one of those experiences that makes me love my crazy, unexpectable life here.
This post is turning out to be horribly long, and I really do need to go over to Robert's to pick up his GRE book, but first, a quick recipe of what I had for dinner tonight, created by yours truly from various online recipes, my imagination, and the contents of my fridge/cupboard.
Simple Summer Pizza
Pour a small bit (2 T or so) of sunflower oil into a cup. Mix with 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Spread over pre-baked pizza crust (mine was probably about 8 inches in diameter). Add 1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes (I removed the seeds but kept the skins on) and a little bit of chopped-up hard salami. Sprinkle with oregano. Add a thin layer of grated cheese (I used a marbled cheese from the supermarket, but if you live in a country where mozerella doesn't cost an arm and a leg and is only available in large cities, I'd recommend that instead) and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese (also costs an arm and a leg but keeps longer). Bake 5-7 minutes in a hot oven until the crust has browned a bit on the bottom and the cheese is melted. Enjoy!