Sunday, April 17, 2011

3 Weeks Down, 105 Left To Go!

biker gang of Kozelets
While I apologize with my lack of conversing with friends and family on the other side of the world, it's really hard to put into words all the experiences and differences life here in Ukraine is. But for starters, here's a list of things I've accomplished so far...
  1. helped save a cat from an attic of a babusya neighbor
  2. set a few outside fires as a means of agriculture
  3. seen horse drawn carriages on the regular
  4. taught my first healthy lifestyles class to 10 - 11 yr olds on conflicts
  5. seen the inside of the cathedral in town
  6. was finally able to buy sausage from the market without the use of presumably awkward hand gestures
  7. resisted the urge to dance on local buses with cluster mates as pop / techno music blares from the bus stereo
  8. yet to be pick pocketed or lose anything
  9. eaten probably a good 30 different types of candy / cookies (including cell phone cookies)
  10. learned how to make borsch
  11. found a store that sells Ukrainian Harry Potter (pic at bottom of  post)
  12. finished the first season of Fringe
  13. ran a mile / 1.5 miles consistently 4 to 5 times a week
  14. I've found yet another more awesome magazine (produce store)
my room
tank near Mary's house
Life in Kozelets is slowly becoming a routine. And by routine, I mean long school days where I probably only understand 60% of what's truly going on - but I'm ok with it. With spring just around the corner, it's interesting to see the changes in the city. I've deduced that during winter, people basically give up on city and home external upkeep - which I guess makes sense when it's -17 F with light out for only 5 hours. Every day, something different seems to be getting a fresh set of paint. I'm probably most excited for all the new produce spring time has to offer. While potatoes will always have a special place in my heart, it's cool to see slowly new fruits and vegetables makes it way into stores. I've also heard day light can last until 11PM!

Language lessons is of course still going on in the background of everything. I've come to grips that learning Ukrainian will prove to be more challenging then I anticipated - not to mention that my town mostly speaks Russian / Sourgic (a Russian/Ukrainian mix). Past volunteers have said that people who study Ukrainian usually pick up conversational Russian as well due to the wide population of Russian speakers whereas volunteers that learn Russian usually don't pick up much Ukrainian.  But it's slowly coming along, with each day learning a few new words while simultaneously saying some bad ones on accident (which I admit is the most fun part). My TCF described to us today that Ukrainian only has three main tenses whereas English apparently has 16 - which made me feel a lot better. 

As of April 16 (today), we are allowed to travel to other towns without a Peace Corps staff member present. In honor we've decided to bus it to Chernihiv for a day trip tomorrow. Both my cluster and link are planing to attend. Chernihiv is the biggest city in the Chernihiv Oblast (duh) so there should hopefully be lots to see - and more importantly photo! I've also been informed that beer / wifi cafes are abundant so I'm excited to take part in such a heavenly hybrid. Four Community Development clusters are stationed there for PST so we'll hopefully get to hang out with them as well. 

Along the same lines as travel, we get to go to Kyiv next Friday! I plan to do reconnoissance on where the Apple Store is and apparently we have to complete this scavenger hunt. While next week will be crazy busy, Having this trip to look forward to is a great "light at the end of the tunnel". 

I've also come up with a new plan to remedy the communication / free time that I don't want to spend studying issue. While I'm not the biggest fan of Mail App for Mac's, it'll allow me to save my gmail emails on my computer. Therefore, I should be able to reply and have them queued up to send the next time I get internet. Hopefully this'll make my four hyriv (50 cent) hour spent at the internet cafe much more productive. This method has yet to be tested so I'll be sure to let you know the outcome.
important find

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