"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

Friday, March 9, 2012

Frying Bigger Fish

You probably didn't know this, but yesterday was a pretty big holiday. The 8th of March, for the majority of the international community, was a huge celebration. Ukraine gave me a 4-day weekend to celebrate. Banks and schools closed. Businesses shut down. Buses were even on an altered schedule. Flowers, chocolate, candy, gifts everywhere! Any idea what it was?

March 8th: International Women's Day - How did you celebrate, America?

Poorly if you ask me.

One thing that I will always celebrate when I return back to America: March 8th.

Last year I would have packed up Wednesday morning and bolted after my last lesson to catch the next bus to visit a friend in a town I haven't yet explored. This time around, I worked in Kolky and tried to stay out of the white power and bitter cold these people call early Spring (I certainly was a little premature on the 'puddles and slush' post). These days I've got bigger fish to fry.

The speech is coming along and as of today, I have asked for people to stop changing it. I understand that the Peace Corps office needs to see it, and then people at the Ministry do to, but 5 days before the big show I figure enough people have chimed in. My apartment has turned into Sedona when Sarah Palin took over for her Vice Presidential Debate Boot Camp. Back and forth I pace, often with a Ukrainian watchful eye attentive ear listening, chiming in with a little giggle, sigh, the occasional "Nice!"and the all too often correction.

When taking a break from my speech, I worked on my lesson plans for Camp ACT, a summer camp that I'll be working at with other Volunteers in my oblast (read: state). Camp ACT - Action Creativity and Teamwork will be early July but there's a lot of planning that goes into putting on a camp for the first time. I just recently finished my lesson plans for Project Development Parts 1 & 2 and will continusously brainstorm ideas for "Team Time" activities. I have an ACT meeting on Sunday in Lutsk, then it's back to my dining room table for Parliament Prep.

Next week happens to be a very special week as well -- English Week at Kolky Lyceum. I will, of course, miss Wednesday, because Parliament has requested my presence. Our theme? "Growing Up in Democracy". Saturday concludes English Week with the Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) and Teaching Our Boys Excellence (TOBE) Day Camps at my school; about 40 girls, 20 boys, and six very frightened Peace Corps Volunteers. Posts about all the fun-tivities will come later rather than sooner.

I think next Sunday I will finally feel like I have my head above water. Not that I'm drowning by any means at this point, but I'm just metaphorically swimming the mile and my counter is only on lap 8. To start my Saturday I might for a run - did I mention I'm training for a half marathon in May? Then I will go to my friend Val's house to just relax and unwind before diving into next week. She's got two cats (sadly no longer kittens) and they certainly are two Ukrainians who don't care how I pronounce "справжніми сподвижниками змін"

For now I'm just going to fry those fish one at a time.

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