As I wrap things up here in Ukraine, it’s inevitable that my mind is already aware of what I’m going to miss when I’m back in the States. So this post is in an attempt to keep the memories vivid. And I apologize in advance for the War and Peace length of this post – it’s a long one.
So let’s begin!
Easily what I’ll miss most are the excellent people that I’ve met here. Thank gawd for friends and the fun we have had together!
Photo of our last meeting together at my apartment. I’m going to miss them so much!! If you’ve been following my posts, these girls have become my close friends and been essential to the good times that I’ve had here in Ukraine. Smart, fun, beautiful, open-minded and the list goes on, these girls are incredible and I’ve been so lucky to know them. All I can say is thank gawd for the internet and the ability to keep in touch after I’m back in the States.
For the past two years, two girls in the older grades took the time to get to know me outside of classes and we met regularly, becoming friends. We always had coffee, something tasty to eat, good conversation, and usually ended up watching something on the computer (they got me hooked on The Vampire Diaries – I was Team Elijah myself ). These our a couple pictures we took with the self-timer when we last got together – fun! I’ve missed not having them at school as they started university this semester. I am so looking forward to seeing what these kind and amazing girls do in the world!
Of course, of course there’s the pupils!! There are many moments and classes that I have loved teaching. Teaching can be such a difficult and time consuming job, but oh such a rewarding one! When an activity works, when ideas are expressed and words remembered, well, it’s a great feeling for everyone.
This last week at school was my week to say goodbye to my classes and them to me. Structured it with having them write something/make something in English that I could take back with me as a souvenir. I have no doubt if I ever need a pick-me-up all I have to do is take these treasures out and remember. I’m sorry, but I had a very hard time narrowing these down so it’s long….so much love!
First up, let’s go to the Pedagogical College:
Course we brought some snacks, drank some tea, and let loose with the paper and markers! Even played some Mafia
From my awesome colleague and friend Masha <3
And my other awesome colleague and friend Yulia <3
Love the star theme that cropped up in this meeting
From Dima, the one boy at our meetings.
A couple of the girls made me some gifts, and as a whole they made this amazing video:
Easily some of the funnest lessons were the one’s we had together. Such a cool, creative bunch of students, and they are going to be great teachers!
So, I’ve read a lot of books since coming to Ukraine, and they have found a new home with my friend Masha and the students at the school. Nothing like some extracurricular materials on zombies and such to learn English
And moving on to my primary work site, School Number 18:
My counterpart Irina and I. The impetus behind me coming to my site, the person I turned to when I needed help, I’ll always remember her.
Irina’s 6A Class.
He worked so hard all period on this, frickin’ awesome!!
Love the face on this <3
Such cute faces.
Tropical beach of Ukraine?
Irina’s 8B Class.
I find I’m doing this and reversing my n’s now too…
…inside “Made in Ukraine”
Sponge Bob usually makes an appearance.
Like a ray of sunshine.
Irina’s 7B Class. The phrase ‘herding cats’ applies here – so enthusiastic and into themselves it’s sometimes difficult to get even simple things like a group photo taken.
But they’re sweeties
Lots ‘o Britain in the house.
Even Dima got into the swing of things by copying some randomness out of his book – good for him!
Bingo and the letter ball were always a big hit
I love the togetherness <3
Irina’s 7A Class. I got really close to this class as their homeroom teacher was my counterpart.
Sergei told me there’s 50 stars there! And inside…
By the end of our time together, this boy was perfectly saying hello to me and trying during our lessons. He loves to draw. My teacher’s heart swells thinking of how awesome my pupils are!
“Thanks for tenderness of your eyes and kind smiles” – we would always smile and talk to each other; I’m getting a little teary thinking of her own sweet smiling face and enthusiasm
I love this one stark heart out above the grass and under the sun.
Love my pupils using what they know themselves and just trying to communicate = it works perfectly for me <3
“I’m very prudence” – gotta love dictionaries
Irina’s 9A Class.
This class’ theme – boats!
These boys are a bit of a handful, but kind hearts and usually give it a go at our lessons which is great. And frickin’ cool as heck – some transliterated Victor Tsoi lyrics (of my favorite Кино which I’ll mention below). AWESOME!
“USA Free America” and the British flag.
Vitaly’s 11A Class. They surprised me with the most delicious cake *mouth waters* Nothing like a crazy amount of cake for breakfast
Beautiful shawl made by the mother of one of my pupils and gifted to me <3
Pupils are def into origami here.
“Live in the rythm of hip hop” – heck yes! Moments like this, so good to be a teacher <3
Simpsons still going strong.
Irina’s 9B Class.
The skull – Halloween forever!
Love the eighties vibe I get from this.
Tatiana’s 8B Class.
Saddest cat eyes EVER.
I’ll always be a Darling <3
When in doubt mention New Year’s and the ideas are flowing – everyone’s favorite holiday here
Tatiana’s 5 Class.
“You beautiful woman!” These kids are gonna give me a complex!
Tatiana’s 6 Class.
These two from Julia are quite amazing! I only had a few months with this class, but I’m so glad to have had the opportunity as they were so much fun!
“We you love” – It’d be a good shirt <3
Check out the awesome portrait of me, side-braid and everything! Though I swear I don’t have a smiley shirt…
Yes! I was hoping to get a couple of Halloween cards.
I love seeing kids who struggle put their all into something – it makes it all the more special <3
Love these bats.
Bet you don’t have any ninja turtles giving you heart balloons!
Helloweenn! This vamp and skeleton are the ultimate in radsauce!
As a final farewell, I laid out a spread of cookies, candies, and tea for my school’s teachers, gave a little speech in Russian thanking everyone, and presented the three English teachers I worked with and my director with certificates of appreciation. A nice way to end our time together.
Foodwise, it’s rather difficult to say what I’ll miss most. The first thing I made myself while here was taught to me by my host mom during training – Яблочная шарлотка or Apple Charlotte – super easy, super quick, and super tasty.
I loved eating lunch during my ‘window’ between lessons at the school cafeteria – such wonderful, kind ladies work there and the food was always so tasty. It was there that I first came across my favorite Russian ‘Korean’ Carrot Salad (Корейская Морковь). One woman even got me the correct grater to get the long slivers of carrot. Borscht, plov, akroshka, and other dishes I’ve learned and made here I look forward to continue eating back in the States as the ingredients aren’t difficult to find.
Not everything will be so easy to recreate though. Where will I get my salty delicious копченый сыр косичка or smoked cheese braid – so perfect with beer. My favorite here being Chernihivske White (Чернігівське Біле) – a “triumph of primeval taste!” And the many, many varieties of candies! I especially like those produced by АВК with Королевский шарм (Royal Charm) being my favorite, a kind of chocolate cover wafer with a creamy nut middle, mmmm. Their truffles are quite good too
Music discoveries I can pretty much take with my – lucky! What I’ll miss though is that mood that happens when something comes on that I like and know – like the first time I heard someone blasting Кино on the train, awesome! I’ll be forever grateful to my language teacher during training who introduced me to him. There’s even a Kino tag here in my town – Victor Tsoi forever!
Other random musicality that I’ll remember: the alternating sound of oldschool Soviet movies or songs coming from my neighbor’s apartment, with the songs primarily being sung with gusto as he left to and fro to go outside to smoke. I couldn’t ever pick out specific ones, but they’re usually in the vein of this:
This is a song about the mining region Donetsk I live in called Спят курганы темные (Sleeping Dark Mounds) from an old 1939 film Большая жизнь (Big Life). Check out another version with the lyrics here.
A lot of the music I listened to was on the radio, where I alternated between the mostly English-language rock station and the oldies station, Радио Мелодия, while preparing my food in the kitchen. This earworm from the year of my birth seemed to be a go-to selection:
Юрий Антонов – Не забывай/Мечта (Yuri Antonov – Don’t forget/Dream). I could watch this video forever. It’s also well-played on local route marshrutkas/buses. That and lotsa pop/dance/techno music.
I’ll miss my apartment, the way the westerly light shone through the kitchen in the afternoons. Such a glorious feeling to make some tea after lessons and finally sit down and soak up a bit of calm with a lovely view to look on.
And there’s lots of other people, places, and things that I will miss that I haven’t mentioned. But this post becomes ghastly long and my time remaining is short. Time to live and contemplate later.