"At the center of the universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service." ~Mr. Fred Rogers

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eine neue Reihe von Augen - A New Set of Eyes

Not sure what has taken me so long to blog, but in any case I am doing well and was apparently left behind in the Rapture. Luckily, that crazy talk didn’t quite make it to Kolky, and I didn’t have to explain yet another American that not only amazes and baffles Ukrainians, but makes my roll my eyes when mentioned. (Cough, cough, Sarah Palin).

I would have to say the primary reason for the lack of blogging is due to the simple fact that I have been enjoying being outside lately. 80 degree days don’t quite feel like Spring, but the cool nights and occasional spurts of rain do. I have been enjoying a lot of reading outside, and cannot wait to buy materials next month to set up my hammock. I’ll be sure to take a picture of my new swinging contraption, as soon as it’s set up.

This is my final week of classes, and boy does it feel good. Grades were due today so classes the rest of the week are fun grammar games, teamwork and leadership activities outside, and lots of children that know we can’t do anything to stop them from being crazy. The ceremony of last bell is on Friday, and I here it is one of the most special things Volunteers do during their service. The last day dance is on Friday night at school, and I signed up to man the door at the last shift. The fun continues Saturday with the Teacher’s Party, and then another party to celebrate graduates in the evening. I have no idea what to expect at either, but I’m excited to have the opportunity to take part.

Last week, 3 Germans teachers came from one of our six partner schools and I helped in the run-around that our school puts on when guests come. I was apart of the welcoming party in L'viv on Wednesday, along with my Director and our German teacher. They spoke English fluently, so I was happy to share with them my experience and delight with my school, Kolky, and Ukraine in general. Their trip consisted of a day excursion in L'viv, meeting with the Mayor over some shots, watching many "open lessons"- one even conducted my Mr. Benjamin himself, a school concert (of course), and a lot of Ukrainian meals, smiles, Vodka, and new friendships. Their trip was the beginning stage of what may lead to an exchange of students for a few weeks at a time, ours going over for 2 weeks and then theirs coming back with our students to stay in Kolky for a few weeks. Most of the details were ironed out, so it will be interesting to see how things fall into place. I might even have a free trip to Germany next year with my school...here's to hoping. Either way, I have friends to stay with if I ever add Germany to my places to see list.

While I was making new friendships, and learning about yet another culture, the best experience for me was to be able to show off my home and see Ukraine through a new set of eyes. What was once jaw dropping for me is now old hat, and I was reminded of that when I saw their jaws drop. I felt so proud that I was able to translate for them, and give them some insider impressions. They looked to me for help, and picked my brain about a country I had only stepped into for the first time 8 months ago. A huge sense of accomplishment and pride ran through me while our German friends were here. I still have a lot to learn, and am in no way an expert by any means, but for a few days, I was ablet o give what so many have given to me and that was pretty cool.
Plov BBQ in the Forest

Quite the spot!

Forest Sunset

Some of the BBQ Group

My kids from Kolky at the W.E.L.L. English Seminar

My Team: "The Glamorous Hot Latinas!"

A beautiful sign of spring and the horse that eats outside of my front door!

Some of the amazing traditional Ukrainian art by some of my students

Hard at work

What talented pupils Kolky has!

About a third of my English Club Regulars. Last Day Party!

8 months ago my jaw dropped...

Now it's just called first course!

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