Sunday, January 22, 2012


This past week noted several milestones in my living career. I taught a full load of classes this week. My first week at Syhnayivka Educational Complex. Every day was filled with schedule changes, teacher meetings, meetings with parents, and even more meetings. I discovered, despite the 20 minute break, I have little time to do anything between each class. Oh well. That's life. My students are eager to learn and eager to listen to anything I say. Which is terrifying and thrilling. It's a responsibility I am still coming to terms with. My new host family lives on a street with several other teachers and most of my students. I always have someone offers to walk me to or from school since the distance is quite great. But I like the alone time. I can notice how the sun rises differently each day or how a new level of snow has masked my forged path from yesterday.

This weekend, my dear Caitlin, came to visit me! My first visitor. My host family welcomed her with a full table and dozens of questions. They have been eager to meet my friends since I first stepped inside their house. She and I met up in Smila for a PC meeting with other PCVs to visit an school for disabled children. Our plan was to conduct a day long English Club but nope. The administration decided to teach us how to paint eggs, a Ukrainian Easter traditon, and fed us an amazing meal. I was shocked and humbled by it. We are planning to return to actually conduct my English Club since we are now in their circle of trust.  Today, I took her over to Kati's house and introduced her to other Ukrainian family. We were a hit. We sat and ate more candy and Dana entertained us with an art lesson (see below). 

This week of insanity passed rapidly. No matter how fast time moves, I can't forget what memories this week holds. Both of my father's parents died this week. His mother died 24 years ago. His father died 13 years ago. She missed my birth by mere weeks so he spent my entire life hovering above me with spoiling gifts. I can't forgot what I've lost because the pain is still ripe. I still wake up sad. I still dream of conversation never spoken. Reading a short note from my oldest cousin, Ben, his pain is apparent as my own. At this point, I know of nothing other to continue waking up, continue walking to work, continue learning and exploring. My granddaddy was an educator and an avid traveler. I know of none greater way to honor him.

Alona, my host cousin in the pink coat, and a few other students invited me to go sledding with them.
I didn't have water resistant anything on nor do I remember to wear double socks so I just stayed long enough to shot a few frames. 

Their faces say everything. 

Dima kept crashing or falling down the slope with a sled far too much. He didn't seem to mind. 

Three kids with two sleds. Misha decided to take the slope on her bag of hay. 

Alona liked to crash land as often as she could. 

My pretty friend was my first visitor and got to test out my bedroom sofa. 

For those at home, this is short cut I take to school. Down the field and across the swamp. 

A closer look at the bridge.  Some sections are over land, most over water. 
At Kati's house today, Dana turned the educational tables on Caitlin and I. Instead of me quizzing her about colors and numbers, she gave us both sheets of paper with instructions to draw whatever Ukrainian word she said.
Apparently, Caitlin's rabbit just wasn't pretty enough.  

Leaving Kati's to drop Caitlin at the bus stop, the sky became my favorite color.

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