The first bit of my trip has been quite an experience that has mostly been positive even though I am a bit exhausted. I have always been tired but it is nice to always be busy. I decided to stop with my project of collecting stories for the meantime because I realized that it is difficult to approach random Ukrainians and ask them to open up. You have to build that trust before asking someone to share their life story with you. I will continue to write and share my stories when I get the chance to share my favorite stories.
To start off, I want to tell you about my life in the village here in Kolychivka. There are about 3 stores but I only go to one of them. The ladies there are very lovely and they are used to the loud Americans coming in daily to get their non-carbonated water (Ukrainians love bubbly water). They even raised the price by a couple of cents to get the best profit from the Americans. There are three geese that we walk by everyday on our way to language lessons and one always charges us but never attacks. Now there are two geese and we have a good guess of where the third one went. Unfortunately the evil one is still there and charges at us daily.
Living with the babusya has been really great. She is very kind and always makes sure that I have a full stomach. During the second week of training, I bought The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe in Ukrainian and I read it out loud to her at least 2 times a week. She helps with pronunciation and explains some of the words that I don’t know. It has been one of my greatest joys, being able to read her this story and hearing her reaction to some of the humor in the book. It will definitely be hard leaving her at the end of May.
Everyday life here in the village is quite busy. We are always in language class, doing technical training, or at the village school participating in different clubs. Learning Ukrainian has been quite amazing and I am so happy to be able to speak the language that my grandparents spoke. I tried speaking Russian today just to see if I still could hold a conversation and it was very difficult not to use Ukrainian words. I really love speaking Ukrainian.
Recently I found out that for the next two years I will be living not far from the Moldovan border. I will be in a village of about 1,300 people working at a school where about 130 kids attend grades 1-11. I will move there in June and start working at summer English camps. I am not exactly sure what I will be doing there besides a few clubs and helping with English. I got to go down there for a 3-day visit to meet the family and become acquainted with the village. It is a very comfy village in a very remote area of Ukraine. The closest city is an hour and a half away from me. The family (Two parents and their adult children who live in other cities) with whom I will be living is fantastic and I am really looking forward to getting to know them more. The school has a great staff and I see a lot of potential to start up projects and clubs. Of course I have a lot of worries and fears about the next two years (what life is really like in a village) but I am confident to say that I am going to give it my all and work 100% for the next two years at this site. It is going to be a very challenging time but I think it will be a very rewarding time for me.
Sorry but I haven’t been taking photos. I will start taking photos to post them on here. But you can enjoy this one pic of me performing a Slavic Squat.