Late night blogging, and an early Saturday morning tomorrow...you'd think I'd learn from college. Definitely excited for the weekend, not that it's a break, just a change of pace. Tomorrow, we're catching the 9 a.m. bus to Тараша (Tarasha) so we can have some time in the city before our Technical and Cross Cultural sessions at 10:30. Really hoping I get my hair cut...but many of you may know the disastrous situation that happened last time I got my hair cut in a foreign country. But what was the lesson I learned from that cross-cultural misunderstanding? Hair grows back! Sunday my cluster is going to Бiла Церква (Bila Tserkva), also known as "Little Kiev". Excited to see an even BIGGER city, and explore. And after our adventures tomorrow, Lecia is hosting Evan, Asia, and Laura over for a dinner. Dima will be in town for the weekend, so he is really looking forward to hosting as well. I helped bake a cake this evening. It was a flat cake, and we spread fresh plum jam on top, then rolled it and cut it into slices...and of course ate some. I'll probably get it for breakfast, too!
This week was great, and teaching on Wednesday went really well. The class was impressed with my photos of friends and family. They are great learners, and really want to know as much vocabulary as possible. So after they got over the live museum exhibit (me) teaching in front of the classroom, they quickly picked up on the lesson. But like I mentioned before, there was no grammar to teach, it was mostly critical thinking. As strange as it may sound, it was really interesting to watch a group of children think; not only to figure out what this American was trying to explain, but also the questions presented by him. "How many people are in your family", "Would you like to have a bigger or smaller family", "What traditions do you have in your family". Something these students had never been presented with before.
Next week, Evan and I will be team teaching the 10th Form (15/16 year olds) and we're pretty excited. He will continue with the class independently, but we have to have team teaching experience and thought it would be fun with older students. I will be continuing with the 6th Form, as well as the 4th and add 1 or 2 more classes as the weeks progress. I wanted the challenge and experience of working with new English learners, so I'm diving right in with the 8-11 year old's. Fun vocab, more activities and games, and a chance for me to really work on classroom management in Ukrainian.
Language is going well, but still difficult. 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. After 4-5 hours a day of language lesson, my mind is mush. The 30 minute walk home is a good time for me to relax and enjoy some silence, as well as repeat all of the new words and phrases swirling around in my head. Lecia is impressed with how well I'm doing, but it is quite the struggle. I also have some new friends my walk home, 3 Бабуся (Babucia's - Ukrainian Grandmother's) that love to tell me I need to be wearing my hat or sometimes give me food. (It's not quite cold enough for a hat, but of course I take it and have it in my pocket in case I walk at night) They kids from school told one my name, so now they all know to wave at me as I walk by. It's actually really great to have a Бабуся on your side; many Ukrainians say she's the only one that can scare off mad dogs and drunk men. Haven't had any encounters yet, but when I do, you know where I'll go.
Hope you're all enjoying Fall in the states. Eat some Candy Corn for me please, and I'll have the rice and meat stuffed pumpkin with mini-pancakes on the side!