Sunday, January 31, 2010

Uneventful week with the Exception of UpChuck


Backstreet Boys Ukrainian style. I think in the hour I was watching a developed a crush on the third one. I'm a ho for tall guys (sorry, mom).


Ukrainian jelly doughnut, ponchix.


The Ukrainian woman who sang "Hit the Road Jack." Don't think I've smiled that big since getting to my site.


Monday: No School, found out after walking 30mins in -32 C.

Tuesday: No School, -34 C. Pizza with one of my top students and her college friend who wanted to practice her English. Package from Jessie with a great little book (see previous blog).

Wednesday: Normal day at school.

Thursday: Great day of classes even though most of it was on the fly. 4pm-ish hit with some type of stomach bug. 7pm-ish first Ukrainian puke. Not fun to be sick and have people not understand your language.

Friday: Still sick, no school for this PCV. Denied many offers of random food from my host mother. I don’t like hard boiled eggs when I’m feeling on top of the world; let alone when I feel like I got hit by a bus.

Saturday: PACKAGES!! Never realized I could be so excited about Crest toothpaste, good call Pops. Mini Grey’s Anatomy Marathon before I realized I need to ration them, thanks Uncle Patty Pooper. Call from my Grandma Schmidt. Nice to hear a familiar voice.

Sunday: Catching up on letters and random music on my laptop. 4pm concert with my host mom. Again, I am so American. All Ukrainian women look fabulous when they go out. I’m getting shown up by 70 year olds in heels while I’m still rocking my north face boots and my nappy nappy hair. Maybe God made me come to Ukraine so I can get some style…I don’t know if I’ll be able to resist for two years.

So yeah this was my week. Earlier part of the week very cold, today Kivertsi probably got 3 inches of snow. Lord knows when I’ll be able to work out again. This week I’m suppose to hang out with one of the Ukrainian girls who I met a couple of weeks ago. Dinner and wine with her crew of girls. Ever so slowly I am integrating into to my new life.

I wasn’t down in the dumps this week, but I missed home. I’ll be listening to my iTunes hear a certain song and think of some random memory. I know it isn’t a competition but from all the letters, emails, and packages that I have received since being in Ukraine compared to other volunteers I’m absolutely positive that I have the best family and friends. Hope everyone is well.

Keep Looking Up,
Kate

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Inspiring Snail Mail



Well I’ve been sitting here at my computer for awhile trying to think of a way to share some inspiration & hope. Today, I got a small book “BE INSPI(RED): Words of Hope & Courage” in the mail from Jessie. I loved many of the words and entries. Instead of trying to say them in my own words figure I’ll just plagiarize them into my blog (please don’t turn me into the copyright police). Here is some of what I read:

(The Intro)
{If you ever doubt the power of language,
listen more closely. Witness the magic
the first time someone whispers “I love you.”

Watch a woman put on headphones,
close her eyes, and have her life changed by a lyric.

See a bad moment flipped upside down
by a well-timed joke.

Words propel us, empower us, make us human…
and more than human.

We constantly struggled to say what we mean
and mean what we say.

To “wrestle with words and meanings.”
That’s what T.S. Eliot calls it.

But as we whisper and shout, stutter and spin,
we create order out of the chaos around us.
We are built of words, and we live by them, too.}

(Favorite 5)

{Prepared:

Write your detailed lists. Make your impeccable plans.
But someday you will find yourself short of something.
Wanting. Desperate, even. And the only thing that will
get your through is humility. The ability to ask for help.
For directions. For a second chance. Chances are,
a fellow traveler will have just what you need.

Shared:

A touch. A glance. A smile.
Little moments that bind us to each other
in an instant of common experience.
They change us. They fill us with memories.
Embrace them.
It’s the things we share that remind us we’re not alone.

Aspired:

Sunflowers get their name
because they turn their face to the sun.
After a long time of doing that,
they start looking like the sun itself.
So KEEP LOOKING UP.
You are already becoming the person
you wish you could be.

Redeem:

Here’s the real secret: There is nothing-
absolutely nothing—that can’t be stitched up,
cleaned up, bound up, or brought back together.
With enough faith, strength, and love,
there is nothing—
and no one—beyond saving.

Unpredictable:

Okay, fine, history repeats itself.
Doesn’t mean you have to.
Why not give all who think they know you
a little surprise party now and then?
Dance when you should be walking.
Speak when you should be quiet.
Do whatever it’s gonna take for you to say,
“Did I really do that?”
Commit a few random acts of you-ness.}

I dare you to commit some random acts of you-ness. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile... start a dance party in the elevator... drop by a friend’s house you haven’t seen in awhile... sincerely ask a co-worker how they are doing today... smile at a stranger... break out your old stationary and write someone you care about a small note... leave a large tip on the table... give someone a big hug... bring in your neighbor’s trash cans. What’s the point of carrying around joy, love, happiness, or even a joke if you aren’t going to share it with others? I dare you to do one small thing today with great love as Momma T would say.
Love you and miss you all. KEEP LOOKING UP!!!!

Kate

Monday, January 25, 2010

I was NAKED and FELL into SNOW!!




Ok, that didn’t really happen but that is what I felt like this morning. Let me explain…

Today, I woke up at my normal 6:45am. Fumbled my way into the bathroom, went to turn on the bath and nothing. Looks like the water pipes for the bathroom had frozen over night. We have had some pretty cold days here in Kivertsi but none that had threatened our use of water.

I came back to my room was like well shit. I made my bed, pulled out my clothes for the day, and packed up my school bag. I heard my host sister go to the kitchen to boil water for her morning tea. I could hear the water running in the kitchen. Thought to myself at least I get to go to school with food in my stomach (I love my morning oatmeal) despite being a little smelly and nappy headed.

Eventually it was time to brave the cold. My armor was the following: a tank top under cold weather long sleeve t-shirt, sweater, under armor spandex to the knee, pair of long under wear, pants, pair of sox under my heavy wool north face sox, north face boots, Marmot cold weather coat, scarf, hat and earmuffs.

I didn’t get more than two houses away and I felt like I had frost bite. I kept looking down at my legs to make sure I hadn’t forgotten to put pants on this morning. My walk is a 30-35min walk depending on how slick the snow/ice is. I would guess that I probably have a mile walk to school. My house is on the opposite side of the tracks; the school and my house are about equal distance from the center where the train station is.

Walking to school for my second period class means that I won’t normally cross paths with a lot of students because they are already at school. Just be-bopping along, I notice that under other peoples noses it is frosted over because of the moisture and figure I probably look the same. Get to the pedestrian bridge that goes over the train tracks and take my time because I don’t need to record fall number 4. I get pass the bread store, computer club, pass one of the bus stops and headed down the street toward the church. Get to the church hang a left (now I can physically see the school). A group of students are headed toward me. This is when I’m guessing that classes are canceled, but since students sometimes skip class to go to the nearby neighborhood store I think maybe not. Sure enough, classes were canceled.

I figure at this point going into the school to say hi to whoever is there and grab my books for tomorrows lessons wouldn’t be a bad idea. Plus, the thought of regaining feeling in my extremities didn’t sound bad either. I walk into school and make my way toward the teacher’s room. I opened the door. There is probably 15-20 teachers and soon as they see me they start laughing. Not until this point did I realize that the fuzzy scarf I was wearing had frozen. I had it so tightly up around my face and neck that the moisture from my breathing had frozen the front part of scarf. I looked into the mirror and understand why they burst into laughter. I looked like a frozen version of the little brother from the “Christmas Story” I was that bundled with bright red cheeks.

After everyone got a good laugh, I learned that the temperature was -30 below Celsius and when it is or surpasses -20 that is when school is canceled. One of the ENG teachers told me tomorrow that she will call me to let me know about classes. The weather is forecasted to be quite freezing the next few days.

I stayed in the teacher’s room long enough to get warm then headed back home. I made
pit stops at the bread store and post office more for the sake of getting warm. Don’t get me wrong I love fresh bread and checking for mail, but warming up felt so good.

After getting to Ukraine, I’ve heard from other volunteers that Ukraine PCVs often take heat from volunteers from other countries. There is the joke that PC Ukraine is Peace Corps Lite making the comparison to Coke Lite. I would argue with great passion that we may have internet (yet so does all most every PC Africa country) and are more developed country than others, but today I would state Peace Corps Freezing would be a more appropriate name for PC Ukraine.

Random Thoughts of Mine with Celine in the Background


My life, like my thoughts, is all over the place. Right now it is 7:57pm on a Saturday night in Kivertsi (most northwestern corner of Ukraine) where currently it is in the negatives for Celsius and with the wind chill added in could possibly be in the negatives for Fahrenheit. I’m listening to Celine Dion “A Decade of Song” album (insert joke or funny remark here). I’ve been staring at my pc thinking of a witty way to relay the happenings of my life this week. While not coming up with anything to great, I’m staring at the side gadget bar of my pc.

It has a clock, calendar, two digital post-it notes and photo display. The green post-it has the page number of Monday’s lesson for the 11th form along with how much money I have on my phone. Above that is a photo of Danielle, Polelock, and me. On top of that is the yellow post-it that reminds me of things I want to accomplish daily/weekly. One: 30minsbible, yeah that hasn’t been happening but with the devotional my Gma sent me should help. Two: No Cussing, I think I’m going to have to postpone that one for when the ice melts. Three: WalkX3, go for a walk 3 times a week is also probably not going to happen until the layer of ice disappears and the temperature comes back above zero.

This week was a little crazy and still lacked structure and routine. My counterpart is participating in a recertification course in Lutsk, the nearby city. This means I’m left to teach her normal load with a substitute teacher from a nearby school. While it is nice to have another Ukrainian teacher in the classroom to control students it is also a little frustrating to have someone randomly interjecting. Like telling students to write a sentence for each of the vocabulary words when I’m ready to move on to the next planned activity, but then thought to myself just roll with it. Not too much later from the back of the classroom, the sub asks me to transcribe (how you would find it written in a dictionary). I don’t know how to do that. I say normally that is what my counterpart does on the board. He still insists that I just write them all out on the board. He keeps going with it until I’m pretty much forced to announce in front of the whole class that I don’t know how. Some kids snickered; this was definitely a humbling moment.


In Lutsk for H1N1 shot and found guide book for Turkmenistan, say what?

The whole week I experience very out of control classes. I’m starting to reach my boiling point. Some classes the students are so unruly and their level of English is not high enough for me to be able to teach them if they aren’t going to pay attention to me. On Thursday, I had a 5th grade class. One of the boys did everything but copy down the simple vocabulary words from the board. I asked him why he wasn’t writing. He pretended that he didn’t understand what I was saying when I was simply saying copy while point to the words on the board. He kept up with his act. I then thought ok if you want to play it like that. Then in my very crappy Ukrainian I said, “you and me going to stroll to the director’s (principle) room” only then did he finally pick up his pen. I was talking to my cluster mate Allison on the phone telling her of my horrid day in the classroom and eventually made the statement “they have no idea what I’m saying, but they know exactly what I mean” when I’m on the point of losing it. I’m going to have to get creative on ways to deal with these little boogers. Easiest would be to always have a Ukrainian ENG teacher to sit in on my classes but I don’t like the idea of always being observed. But it might come to that if I can’t figure anything else it out.

Something exciting that happened this week was that I met a 24 year old medical student who is a neighbor to one of my co-teachers. She studies in Lutsk and wants to practice her English so we will be meeting a couple of times for informal tutoring. On Thursday, we met up at a café to have tea and get to know each other. I showed her my “Best of America” album (my family and friends). We talked about our favorite music and television shows. Looks like she and I are going to have some Grey’s Anatomy marathons when my Uncle Pat’s mail reaches me. Today, I went over to her house for a late lunch. We sat around chit chatted about what we like to read, the weather, differences in our cultures and cute or not so cute Ukrainian guys over a delicious bowl of chairvonne (red) borscht. I’m excited for the promise of a Ukrainian friend close to my age. I also bumped into an acquaintance of mine at the grocery store. This girl was friends with the volunteer who survived her two years ago. Hopefully and I’m going to hang out with her and the other two girls that I met last week. Look ma I made friends!

This week also marks fall #3. Again, walking down the pedestrian bridge with not too many more steps left, I lost my footing. I attempted to catch myself by grabbing the rail with one hand and put the other down to break the fall. Somehow in that process, I jammed my middle finger. It nothing too severe but it is purple on the underside of my finger as well as really stiff. Walking around in the bitter weather doesn’t help it much. Oh, did I mention that this was in front of a ton of people standing at the bus stop. Moments like these are where the no cussing thing ends, but I would argue that God understands.

This week brought a lot of mail especially on Friday. I got a large envelope from Peace Corps with letters that had been sent to their office after I headed to my new site. I got a letter postmarked as far back as November 25th. It would have been nice to get Christmas cards before the 2nd Ukrainian New Year but none the less I enjoyed getting them. Thank Yous for mail this week go out to Bre, Mandy, Jennie, Dan, Robin, KS, Michele & Ty, Dad, Mom, Meg, Grandma Schmidt and RA. Only hope they keep coming. Know that I doing my best to get ones headed out to you all.


My 5 year old friend who isn't too bad when we are playing rock,paper,scissors.

Let’s see what else is exciting. I get threaten or actually hit by a 5 year old weekly. The lady I’m staying with sometime watches her grandson who is five. I’ve been around my fair share of kids, but I wouldn’t think it would be appropriate to hit and harass a paying foreign house guest. In Ukraine, kids are for the lack of a better word spoiled. Families currently don’t have many children so each grand child is especially treasured. I get that kids can be rambunctious but there needs to be some lines. Or maybe I just come from a family (especially a father) who doesn’t put up with these types antics. After long days at school, I don’t look forward to coming home to hearing a 5 year old scream at the top of his lungs. Lord, please let that flat come sooner than later. At least, I find peace in knowing that I’m not alone. Because as soon as I hear that high pitched little voice, I notice Timka (poor, defenseless kitten) run to my room seeking refuge. (As I’m finishing this the child stands on my bed looking over me while I type.)

So yeah this is my life. Miss you all. Hope prayers keep coming my way while I send my own back toward you and the Big Man.

Kate

FYI: Pal-men-tee (Ukrainian dish like ravioli) makes one very gassy. Don’t have social plans after a plate of that. Otherwise, it will lead to embarrassment. Trust me on this one. Also there exists a Ukrainian candy that tastes exactly like a PB&J sandwich.


Oh, this is Mr.Fish who I enjoyed the company while having breakfast on Saturday.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Last Week in My Snow Boots


My new host mother Louba and her daugther Lana getting ready to enjoy Holy Water Day Dinner.

Never met a Ukrainian Canadian?

One of new best friends, Jack the dog along with Timka the cat.



Monday: Lessons went horrible. Having some difficulty with classroom management. I’m either going to have to start abusing the children or bribing. I’ll try bribing first. After my four morning failures (classes), I went to the school cafeteria for my daily lunch. It was the head lunch lady’s birthday so they invited me to the back the kitchen. Enjoyed some delicious food with a decent amount of alcohol at 11:45 but as the saying goes its noon or five somewhere.

Tuesday: Had a normal day at school. For dinner, I met up with some Ukrainian friends of the volunteer who survived here two years ago. So it looks like I might have some non-volunteer friends who live in my town. I’m pretty excited. They seem like good people.

Wednesday: 2nd New Year’s Celebration. I went with my host mother and sister to the other daughter’s house for dinner. There was too much food and you guessed it more vodka. There were the 7 family members and myself. Around 10pm, a group of people came to sing and wish us a happy new year. They were in traditional dress. Well the ladies were; the man was in a St. Nicholas (Santa) costume. While they sang they also threw wheat seed to bring us good luck. On the walk home, I took a hard fall while walking with my host family. A tad embarrassing I found the humor of the situation and while still sitting on the ground I proclaimed in Ukrainian “I love Ukraine.” They got a pretty good laugh so that is all that matters.

Thursday: Another busy day at school because my counterpart was attending an Olympiad (academic competition in Lutsk with our top students). Classes…ehhhh. Students need to take some chill pills as well as learn to raise their hand before shouting. After school, I stopped at the post office on my walk home. Jennie Baron thanks for the snail mail. My counterpart then called me and said that I should meet her back at the school at 3pm so we could go to another teacher’s house for tea. It turned out that it was the teacher of Ukrainian’s birthday which meant it wasn’t just simply tea. I helped her daughter, who was competing in the English Olympiad; practiced with her for 2 hours by having random conversation. Then we all feasted for around two hours on a lot of delicious food along with rounds of you guessed it again vodka.

Friday: First three classes were rough but my last class with the 5th graders was a success. We read a small passage, divided them into 4 groups and gave them agree or disagree cards. Then I simply ask them questions about the story and as a group they decide which answer is correct. They get ridiculously into it. The Lion team beat the Bears, Dogs, and Cats. Original names right? Then came home to relax after a very long week and was in bed by 9:30pm. Crazy life I lead.

Saturday: Walked to the post office but didn’t feel like much of a walk around town because it was absolutely freezing. Since it was Pre-God’s day I had to get my laundry done (my host mother does believe in work on Sundays). Two loads, no dryer because they don’t really have those here in Ukraine which means I just hanging all my clothes in my room (see next post for embarrassing moment). While waiting on the laundry, I was reading news online, sent some emails and chatted with a few people on facebook. My host mother got back late from help setting up for the presidential election and started to cook for me at 9pm. I tried to turn down food but you listen to you Ukrainian women. They are serious when it comes to eating their home cooking.

Sunday: Slept in until 8am. Got up had my delicious oatmeal that I make in the microwave with an apple as a side. Read my bible and listened to worship music for awhile. Eventually got dressed and walked to the super market to buy some random food. It was super, super cold today and the wind didn’t help. I felt like I was on a 2am round to PPH in the middle of winter. But I survived and made it home to have my first ice cream since getting to my site. Not the same as a frosty. I folded and put away clothes that were finally dry. Read a little in “The Road from Coorain: In the tradition of My Brilliant Career- a women’s exquisitely clear-sighted memoir of growing up Australian.” Hey…dad can’t wait for you to send me new books. Gave up on the book after a few pages and watched The Good Sheppard on my laptop. Other than that nothing too exciting.

So that was my life this week. Exhilarating right? My mood and outlook on life has gotten better this week. Really keep telling myself to go with the flow, control what I can and leave the rest to be. Worrying and stressing will get you nothing. Hope all is well with everyone at home. Miss you a lot. Expect your weather is a little less snowy and cold when compared to mine. Later YOs.

Kate

Oh, here is something interesting: the website for my town www.Kivertsi.in.ua. It is in Ukrainian but there are photos and a map for your enjoyment.

My Life: Numbers and Facts

30: % of a cat’s life they spend grooming themselves

29: times I’ve played Happiness by Fray in my iTunes

8: pieces of mail I have received here in Kivertsi

5: seasons of the office I have watched and number of months until I’m a TITKA (aunt)!!!!

4.54: % of my service I have complete thus far

3: potential men folk suitors that my counterpart wants to set me up with

2.5: weeks’ worth of underwear that my host mother placed on every radiator in the house to dry (more embarrassing than teaching with a grease stain near my crotch that I didn’t know about)

2: falls on the ice (now I know how the Jamaicans in Cooling Runnings felt)

0: times I have worked on in Ukraine

countless: occasions that I have drank alcohol for not very good or American reasons

What I hope my sister names the baby: Elyse or Dwight, Michael, Jim or Creed (might have been watching the office; doesn’t really matter I’m hoping for a girl anyway)

What I learned about Ukrainian men: “Doesn’t matter if they are tall enough because they will be so drunk they can’t stand, you’ll just choose which one you want and carry them away.”- co-teacher

Food I miss the most from home in this very moment: rubbery chocolate doughnuts
Things that never should go together: Jell-O and turkey

Delicious dish that both Ukrainians and Americans eat: French toast (but no syrup here)

What type of music do Ukrainians hate: Country… bastards.

If I could be dinning anywhere for dinner tonight: Kman with my old RA crew plus Perrone

What I’m getting use to: washing my hair 3 times a week

Bitter sweet moment: the high of talking to friends & family on the phone/face book and then the 5 minutes after where I really wish I was home

If I could have two people observe the halls at my school to see the craziness: my sister and k.sluis bc they would open a can of whoop ass.

Biggest frustration: feeling useless in some of my classes b/c of out of control students

Biggest challenge: still dealing with the lost of my own language

Overall High: the fact I’m here with this great opportunity to help people and learn about myself at the same time

Overall Low: warm weather is still so far off and I haven’t worked out in 3 months…

Bible verse that helps me daily: Matthew 6:33-34 (thanks Casey)

Prayer Requests: Haiti for relief and aid to reach the people who need it. Strength for myself to keep pushing on and to live in the present while seeking the Big Man.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love??

I’ve experienced the tough, waiting on the love part. Monday through Wednesday were half days filled with last tests and relaxed lessons for the students because Thursday marked Christmas for Ukrainians. Since Wednesday, I have just been lounging around the host family’s house. They feed me which is nice of them but it is a little forced. Definitely feeling the lost of independence while coming on 3 months of being in Ukraine. Most decisions that are about me aren’t made by me.

I’m looking forward to eventually getting my own flat. I will be able to establish a normalcy that is much needed in my life. As of now my vice principle is still looking for a flat. It is hard to find something that meets PC’s standards as well as price range. So I’m practicing patience for the moment being.

I taught a few classes this week at school. I have realized that God and the teacher’s who I frustrated throughout my own schooling are giggling a bit at me. Ukrainian students are overall good kids but I have a number of mischievous ones in my classes, but I’m taking it all in stride because for the longest time I was the class clown at the back of the class.

This week was a week of firsts. I received my first mail here at my site. Letters from my pops, Sandra (swimmer) and Kimberly. Let’s just say getting mail as a PCV is up there with winning lotto ticket and finding a good parking space on North Central’s campus. Thank you guys for sending me the mail definitely saved my sanity on those days.

Oh, but probably the less enjoyable of the firsts was me biting it. I’ve had many close calls on the ice and snow here in Ukraine. But yesterday my luck ran out. Coming down the pedestrian bridge that goes over the train tracks here in Kivertsi , next thing I know I’m going down. I attempted to grab the railing but considering it was as icy as where I stepped, it didn’t help me much. I slid down until coming to a stop at the bottom. Oh, with only roughly 20 people watching I stood up said loudly, “well that was awesome” and kept trucking to the supermarket.

So this week through and through was probably the one I have struggled with the most. My bible has come in handy looking for strength to keep a good attitude and to live in the present as well as the faith to see the positive of what the Lord has to teach me here in Ukraine. But at times this isn’t the easiest task. Please send lots of prayers in the direction of Ukraine. It is greatly appreciated.
Miss you all.
Kate

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Survived a New Year’s Celebrated with Ukrainian Vodka

Last week at school was filled with Christmas programs for the younger grades. Because of the programs, it meant pretty much the school was celebrating even though they weren’t on official break. Each grade level up to 6th (if I’m recalling right) had a performance of some sort. Most classes put on play including every student of the class. There were also individual performances by students such as singing, dancing and one student that looked small than the guitar he was playing had a solo jam session. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday all had performances. Parents, teachers as well as other students would watch the different grades. I taught a few classes but nothing stellar because I wasn’t informed ahead of time but I managed.

Wednesday after the last performance of the afternoon, the staff of 30 teachers gathered in the school cafeteria to enjoy some sandwiches, fruit and drinks to bring in the New Year. There were many toasts that went around. But the director got the most love for announcement that teachers didn’t have to come in on New Year’s Eve. I headed home around 4pm to enjoy the start of my long weekend.

The morning of the New Year’s Eve, I hoped a marsuka to Lutsk and met up with Jon, Cindy, and Laura (cluster mates) to head to Allison’s place in Volodymyr-Volynsky. Well we started early and finished late but overall had a pretty good time with one another. Most of those stories are inappropriate (because my mother reads this) so just asking me in person and I’ll share the craziness. We hung out Friday went to grab Pizza that was delicious as well as cheap. Pretty much just bummed around before heading home Saturday. I chilled out the rest of the weekend.

Dealing with the complexities of the Ukrainian bus system made me want to do nothing but sit around the house on Sunday. The bus ride was only an hour and half but the ordeal of getting on the bus makes it seem like 8.

First, you have to if you want to buy a ticket. One would think it would be a safe bet to for assuring a seat to your destination. On the way to Allison’s it actually slowed us up. Because some how the bus we bought for was canceled and we had to go back to the cashier to exchange. Where as if we would have just attempted to pay the bus driver after getting on we would have caught an earlier bus. But if you go with the cash route there are these women who work for the bus station who harass you for the ticket even though half of people don’t buy them. Let’s just say getting yelled at by a big Ukrainian woman is not how I like to start of my New Year.

Ok, say you settle how you are purchasing the ticket. The next challenge is where the bus will pull up. There are slots that are clearly numbered yet no number is on our ticket. On the signs, there are also the names of the cities that the bus is suppose to be going to but if the wrong bus pulls in you might just be headed for the wrong city. And in the end, we got on a bus that wasn’t in the correct spot nor did it have the correct city even posted on the bus itself. We were fortunate because Allison’s landlord husband was catching the same bus and helped us figure it all out. Let’s just say I made it.

So New Year’s is celebrated on the eve of the 1st and this day kicks off what I would call a country wide 2 week bash. This Thursday is Ukrainian Christmas which is then followed by old New Year’s. The vodka will flow until the 12th. I’m bracing myself and looking forward to after when my schedule will have more of a routine. Also hoping, praying and sending good vibes out into the universe so I can get an apartment. Right now it has been a little hard dealing with all the transition because I don’t feel like I’m settling into home; I’m just balancing in limbo until move to my permanent housing. So everyone please pray that my vice principle can find a suitable and cost friendly apartment.

Hope everyone had a great holiday and is dreading getting back to school or work. Miss you all.
Kat-Trine, Kat-Tren, Katya, Kate
(all the names I go by here)