Somewhere along the way I have lost my inspiration to write. I am not sure why. Maybe it’s because I am living life, I’m lazy, or to busy. I don’t know, but in reading some of my friend’s blogs I realized anew that I need to keep up with my blogging and journal writing. Some of the experiences I have will be lost and forgotten if not jotted down somewhere. So, in another attempt at reviving this blog I have brewed some coffee, put on some music and am nestled next to my space heater ready to jot down some words about my Peace Corps experience!
Last time I posted anything of substance was when I still lived with my host family. Oh my, how long ago that seems. In actuality I realize it was not long ago at all. These days life seems to be a whirlwind of adventure and new experiences. To begin, I did finally move in to my own place. I live in a small Dacha less than a block away from my host family’s house. I call it my secret garden as the yard is completely unruly filled with grapes, pear trees, apple trees, walnut trees, a picnic table nestled under an overgrown canopy of grapes, chickens, and a number of other plants and weeds that I have no clue about. The house is the last one on the street. Next to my house are fields of wheat, greens, sunflowers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and a variety of other gardening plants. As you can imagine, the primary source of income in a community so small is farming. In fact, today there was an entire concert put on by the school to commemorate all the farmers and their work. Several people in the farming community received awards. I was put in charge of taking pictures and the concert was one filled with music and dancing about harvest time.
Sunflowers Near My House
My dacha is four rooms. The first room is a kitchen like room with a sink, a table, a hotplate, and Petchka. The next room has a refrigerator, the entrance to the creepy cellar, my water storage, and my clothes line. The next room is basically my living room. It has a couch, desk, and book case that I store my clothes and books in. The last room is my bedroom complete with you named it, a bed! Oh, the toilet is outside next to the shed. When I first moved in I didn’t have a refrigerator or running water. I have a sprocket outside that I would fill buckets with every day and use for my water supply. Apparently the city turns the water on during the winter so as of the last few weeks I now have running water in my one sink. Mind you, the water is only turned on during the day. The times change but usually it is turned on around 9:30 a.m. and shuts off somewhere between 5:00 and 6:00. I only purchased food that was non-perishable for the first few weeks but now I have a refrigerator and it is splendid!
My kitchen in all its glory!
School started on September 1st. The first couple of weeks were relatively mellow with me doing my clubs and observing classes. As of current I usually teach about 8 English classes a week, hold two clubs, tutor a variety of kids, and are currently in the process of writing a grant. My leadership club and I were able to successfully put a small Halloween party together. My friend Anne came to help which I am eternally grateful for! We had about 40 kids show up which is a significant amount considering there are only 80 students total that attend my school. In fact, I was recently having tea with another teacher and her family. Her daughter speaks English and attends the University in a nearby city. As we were speaking her daughter informed me that in reality only about 300 people live here. The “census” reports 554 people, however a great deal of that number is kids who leave for the University or work in the city. Anyway, my point being that the kids enjoyed the Halloween party. A few of my regular kids even glued (literally glued) jewels to their nose to look like they had nose piercings like me. I should feel like a bad influence but I don't. It was adorable!
A couple of my regulars in my English club for Halloween
My clubs seem to be going well although not exactly as planned. Things are hard to plan in advance here because things never turn out exactly as expected. Sometimes I have 4 kids show up to my clubs and sometimes I have 10. Sometimes teachers are really involved and sometimes they are not. Sometimes the school needs money so we spend the first two weeks of school harvesting onions in a nearby village. Sometimes the school schedule is rearranged because there are things being fixed. My point is that I never really know what is going on so I am often just shooting from my hip. Of course I try and prepare some stuff, but often times it falls through or I am asked to do something different 5 minutes before they expect me to do it. My big goal currently is to write a grant to build new sports facilities and purchase more sports equipment for the school. I would like my leadership club to be involved in the project management portion of this; however they are a bit young so we will see how that goes!
Kids visiting me at my house
In other news I recently took a trip to Moldova with some close friends. It was a quick trip full of adventure! I almost got detained on the border of Ukraine and Moldova and was bailed out by the only man I would ever compare to God, the Peace Corps security officer Sergei. We got to go on a wine tour and eat Mexican food which was amazing! On our way back in to Ukraine we got stranded in a random place called 7 kilometers from Odessa which we later learned is one of the largest bazaars in Ukraine. Anyway, it was 4 in the morning so it was just an empty parking lot when we were there. We found a kitten that looked more like a rat because she was so small and ill. I couldn’t turn her away so my friend Jess lent me her scarf and we wrapped her in it and carried her on the bus for an additional 5 hours to Kherson. We then took her to the vet, got her all patched up and then I trekked the remainder of the way home alone with her. She is a welcome addition to my house in Chervoni Promin. Soma is now somewhere in the vicinity of 5 months. Not really sure as we found her and she was malnourished We thought she was more like 2 weeks old however the Vet informed me she was more like 2 to 3 months old.
Some of the Moldova Crew (Anne, me, Val, and Jess)
Soma (Сьома) all wrapped up in a scarf ready for the journey home
Alright, now that I have written a novel my new goal is going to be to update this blog at least once a week as to not have to write a novel and hopefully get back some of my lost inspiration to write. Thanks for reading!