Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I want a бандероль and I want it now Daddy!

In the brilliantly crafted / now altered words of Veruca Salt - I'm ready to receive some lovin. 

So I have a new address! And yes it's a tad bit complicated and may contain some cyrillic letters. However, please don't fear.

Due to Regional Manager's request, my address can be provided via email - mtbradySD@gmail.com

So you do need to provide both the English and Ukrainian versions on the package however feel free to copy, paste, and print or try writing it if you've simply taken interest in learning a new alphabet. 

If you do plan on sending me something, please let me know so I'll actively look for the slip in the mail. 

The contraints of what you can send international still exists to maybe check out HERE for info. So long as you claim that the package contents are less then $200 you should be fine with customs. And I also recommend not itemizing everything in it - just simple things like clothes and school supplies or something.

I'm in no particular need of anything specific however I'm open to any and all things. Kym, my cluster mate, has already received three 20lbs boxes from home during Pre-Service Training so y'all have a bit to catch up to.

Anyways, if you have any more questions, let me know and I'll help ya out. 

*cough* Kit Kats, N-64 (with Smash Bros), Trader Joes things, Target tee's / merchandise, moleskines, etc...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mhar Monestary

Everywhere I turn in Ukraine is another crazy church - while the innards of them all (to me) seems rather similar, I can't get enough of the exteriors.

The Mhar Monastery is about thirty minutes outside of Myrhorod.
these monks are pretty bad ass - they keep eagles

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Officially a PCV!

With The Dead Weather & The Black Keys playing in the background, I finally got in the mood of updating my blog (odd I know, usually it's Luda Keys that gets me going - or is that Andrea?). So as of 10 days ago, I'm officially a Peace Corps Volunteer in the eyes of both the Ukrainian and US governments! 

And just when I'm in the writing mood I'm being summoned to the yard - I guess I'll come back to this...

Ok, I'm back. However five hours may have elapsed - helped make bbq, blah blah blah, sauna, blah blah blah, ok Kyiv ceremony. 

So I managed to pack all my stuff back into my two big bags, duffel, and backpack except for the some 25 lbs of books that PC decided would fun to give us (not to mention a space heater, fire extinguisher, and fire alarm we received later). I was forced to purchase the infamous "Baba Bag" for the remaining items - I even sprung for the more expensive nice material one at Natasha's advice because it would last longer (which ended up being $2.50). I think it may be my favorite purchase so far. 

The day before my departure we exchanged goodbye gifts.
  • Natasha - micro SD card I had for her new phone
  • Zhenya - duck tape for his car that I believe you can't buy in Ukraine 
  • Sasha - vase for her flowers she planted 
Natasha expressed how they (as in the volunteers she'd had) always have to leave right when they begin to understand the language. 

The final morning of the 13th with the Chornenka's + Sasha was a sad one. Zhenya tried to make me late so the bus would leave without me and I probably broke my back with all the bags. We met up with all the other families and cluster mates which ended up being a hot mess and a giant wet blanket - which we all know how much I love. We took a few final family photos, a large group shot (that I'm still in need of someone to email me), and of course some farewell hugs. We then road off into the sunset... or the pouring rain at 8:30AM.

We were greeted in Kyiv to a welcome lunch which included KIT-KATS (no joke - I flipped)!! Following Lunch was logistical meetings, blah blah blah, and then SITE PLACEMENT ANNOUNCEMENT! I found out I'll be moving to the small village (1,200 people - be jealous) of Harkushyntsi, 10 minutes outside of the rayon center of Myrhorod (43,000 people) in the north eastern part of Poltava Oblast. From what my counterpart is saying, it's a well known vacation spot in Central Ukraine with beaches and resorts - sounds good to me. 
as my host brother Zhenya describes my current village 
found pic of my town on google images - now I just need to find it
It's funny how everyone, including myself, was so hyped up on finding out where they were going that when we finally found out where, it was like oh cool, well I know absolutely nothing about this place and I can't even pronounce it. People fled to maps to find out where geographically they'd be located and others they'd be near to. It was comforting to find out I'd be quite close to three other volunteers in my group. 

The 14th was when we met our counterpart who'd we'd be potentially working with for two years. I actually ended up talking to the wrong Yulia for a good 10 minutes before I realized it - comical after the fact I guess. However my counterpart Yulia is a friendly biology / english teacher who lives in the Myrhorod but works in my town - after our initial  meeting, I think we'll get along well.

The 15th was AIDs prevention day - which only made me think of Team America.

The actual ceremony on the 16th reminded me a lot of my college graduation - lots of standing, speeches, and a little Ukrainian boy playing the accordion (he was bomb). 
Also, Natasha and the other families from Kozelets came to the ceremony which was really awesome. Lots of news crews caught the action.
A sum up of the event can be found here. However because of my train departure time, I literally had to leave 15 minutes after the ceremony ended so I really was only able to say a quick hi / goodbye to Natasha, some of my cluster, and the refreshment stand. As frustrating as it was, I realized I only live three to four hours away - unlike some of my cluster that live 14 hours away, hahaha. 

Monday, June 06, 2011

Шашлик'ing Farewell

I first request that you go to
and have this playing in the background to 
get in the mood of me writing this post

So the with only a few days left here in Kozelets we as a cluster decided we had to do some sort of farewell fiesta. We decided to combine some of our great new loves -  шашлик'ing + річка'ing + and пікнік'ing (all conveniently turned into verbs thanks to the English language). It turned out to be one of my favorite days spent in Koz town.

We'll start with the families 
Left overs 
Mary-Kathryn's excellent drawing & coloring inside the lines gift
Brickfaces somehow got switched
can't be a most excellent picnic without stunts

Злиднi - Zludni

Fun Ukrainian short film - enjoy.

LVL 85 Mage

How could this not have magical powers?
most likely fire spec'd or shoots lightness like a Sith Lord

Maracas & Capture the Flag

Honestly, what could be better? 

So the Summer Camp & Community Project we've been planning for quite some time now is now finished (at least at my school), and I have to say I'm happy with how it turned out. 

Day 1 (5/30)
Sports Day

Anne began the day with a lesson on sportsmanship regarding the qualities of a good athlete / teammate. The class really seemed to enjoy applying what they've learned on a simple maze teams had to maneuver. Certain members of each team were blind, couldn't use their feet, speak, touch. Kym took a pretty funny video that hopefully I'll get to put up eventually. 

The second part of the lesson Anne and myself taught. We taught the kids how to play Human Knot and Capture the Flag. It was fun to get the class outside to do some activities on such a nice day. 

Human Knot went over fine and making it a competition between genders fueled their desire to win. 
Capture the Flag was apparently a new game to them - which was a fun surprise. While we thought we explained the rules well enough, we found out they weren't in depth enough... ha. The students began to throw the flag from teammate to teammate. While i thought it was rather clever - It took a few rounds to find out what else we needed to explain.
some played with backpacks on... I don't know why
Day 2 (5/31)
Health Day

The second day of camp was dedicated to a topic we had to cover - health. As well as having a photo-shoot apparently as well. 
oh Lyuda... so mysterious
we were very prepared
I go to solo teach for the first time on Nutrition (Claire I know you're so proud). It actually ended up probably being my favorite lesson. I explained the effects of healthy and unhealthy eating had the kids create diets and posters regarding situations and why it's important to eat healthy. 
The second part of the day was on Positive decision making that Anne and Maria taught. The lesson was set up well in it's ability to push the students English ability. Some of the answers were rather sophisticated - which was funny / surprising from a class that chose to avoid speaking English for the most part during the 8 Weeks we taught there. 
final photo with the 8th formers
Day 3 (6/2)
Volunteerism Seminar

The final day of camp was the implementation of our community project - which was on volunteerism and civil duty. 

While the room we had to teach in that day was like being inside a microwave - the powerpoint Kym made was spot on. 

We had the kids make maracas out of recycled bottles that we painted white. We had the kids fill them with rice and paint on them. These will later be donated to the toddlers at the social service center to play with along with school supplies and resources we fundraised. 
and their painting...
and still painting...
Couple of the favorites
Final Day (6/8)
Community Project Implementation

The final part of our project was to drop off the maracas and 300 dollars worth of school supplies we fundraised for to the kids at the Social Services Center. I think they liked them. 

Apologies for the old school soviet black and white - I had the wrong setting on my camera.
WIth only a week left in Kozelets, I can't believe it's almost over - it's this mixed feeling of sadness and excitement for what is next to come. 

But I will say our garden is growing - which is really what is important!!
Stay tuned for my permanent site placement and Swearing in Ceremony in Kyiv - 4 Day Вечірка! 

You've been Invited...

and when I say you I mean myself... be jealous.
Swearing in is literally one week away!! Craziness

Pass Go, Collect 200 Grivna

Figured I'd show you what some of the monopoly money looks like here - I think it's pretty interesting. 

Saturday, June 04, 2011

PinchukArtCentre - Olafur Eliasson

So in Kyiv there is this free art exhibit that rotates every two weeks and the one currently on display when we went was freaking awesome. Let's just say I now know what being in a rainbow is like.

For more info on the exhibit and the museum: