Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ready to Go!

My crazy best friends. One of my last days in Boise!

Today is my last day in the states until Christmas and I am so excited I am about to jump out of my skin! Tomorrow needs to come quicker! I leave bright and early in the morning and I can guarantee I will be tired enough to sleep on the long flight due to my lack of sleep this week--a big thanks to my anxiety. But, my bags are all packed, pretty positive I haven't forgotten anything, and I just want to be there now! :)

Goodbye USA & привіт Україна!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Air Time!


I'm happy! The wait is almost over!
Holy Cow, I cannot believe it! Today, ILP sent me my flight plan and my tickets! I am so crazy excited that it is keeping me up at night. The only thing that is not so great is the fact that the total air time is 16.5 hours (and yes, I did factor in the time changes). Not the best part but hey, I do have a 3 hour layover in Frankfurt...maybe I'll take a taxi out for a little bit with Laria :)

Patty on the other hand, not too happy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

To pack or not to pack?

I hate packing. Especially now! I can only have a certain number of suitcases with a certain width and weight requirements.

Keep in mind I have to pack not only my stuff but all of the supplies I will need while teaching in Ukraine! Not to mention the fact that I have to pack for about 3 seasons. My plan of attack is to pack, forget about it, come back to it the night before I am going to leave, and then repack it. I can bet you I will take out half of the stuff I have packed anyways.

Goodness, this crap is more stressful than I imagined.

Friday, August 19, 2011


And so it begins! I am officially counting down the days until Laria and I set off for Ukraine...
12 DAYS!
I am so excited, nervous, scared, and happy all at the same time. I cannot wait to set off on this adventure, get lost in a city where I don't know much of the language, teach kids who don't understand me well, live with a new family, and all in all, learn to go with the flow and live life as it comes flying at me. This experience is one that will change my life and I am ready..

Well, almost. Mentally, yes I am very ready. Physically not so much. I have not started thinking about what I will pack for clothes and supplies for the kids I will be teaching. I am extremely unprepared for the 14+ hour flight that it will take to get there. I still have a massive to do list and a week left of work which doesn't give me much time to work out the last few kinks I have in my packing and gathering stuff to use there. But, I will always find a way to make it happen one way or another and I am ecstatic :)

But, I am trying to prepare myself for 4+ months without seeing my little girls! Good thing I am incredibly lucky and have some great parents to take care of them while I'm gone!
Patty, who is 8 years old now!

Sierra, 8 months!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many hours a week do you teach? Teachers teach three to four hours each day, 5 days a week.
  • How do you teach English when you don’t speak Ukrainian? ILP teachers teach English IN English through organized play. It is an effective method for children everywhere to acquire a second language.
  • What kind of things do you teach? In Kindergarten, there are six different teaching areas (ex. kitchen, arts/crafts, games, etc). \What you do is create an atmosphere where the children acquire English, through natural, organized play.
  • How does the method work?  The method works by creating an environment that children ACQUIRE the language without it being taught.  
  • Is it a traditional classroom setting? The setting is very much NON-traditional. Instead of desks or textbooks, there are games, gym, kitchen, and other fun activities. 
  • How do you communicate with your family? I know that in my school in Kiev, I have wireless internet which makes it easy to be able to skype.If you would like to skype me, my username is jill.rudd30
  •  Also, all of the teachers get cell phones while in Ukraine to communicate with each other and stay safe. These can also be used in emergencies if parents need to get quick contact.
  • Do you get paid? This is completely on a volunteer basis. I wanted to volunteer my time to this program and I paid my own tuition fee. However, if I would ever like to go back with the program in any of the countries, I can go back as a head teacher (in charge of the new teachers) and the program pays my way.

If you have any additional questions I would be happy to answer them :)

              Culture Class

              Just a bit of my doodles from the 8 hour training.
              During training this last week, we were able to go to a culture class for Ukraine taught by someone who had already been there through the program. It was interesting but as those of you who know me well, I sit still and listen best if my hands are occupied with an ink pen and some paper. ------>

              Now, to the real deal. Just as in any culture, there are taboos, superstitions, dress etiquette, and not to mention impolite gestures. Here's just a small list of the many things I have to watch out for.

              • The metros and buses are always SUPER crowded and it considered rude to cross your legs or leave your backpack on because it takes up too much space.
              • There are also certain seats reserved for the elderly, handicapped, and people with kids. You are supposed to give up your seat to these people. If you don't you should prepare for a Babushka (grandmothers) To come give your a hearty lecture that you do not understand. 
              SIDENOTE: Speaking of Babushkas.. they are like the strictest form of policing in Ukraine and I am dead serious. Babushkas are grandmothers who believe that it is their duty to keep the world safe. Apparently if you are not wearing a hat, if you jacket isn't zipped up, etc in the wintertime,  they will come over to you and start lecturing you and literally pull up your hood and zip up your jacket--all the while, still keeping up the long lecture. I am honestly so looking forward to this in every way.

              Anyways, back to more culture differences! Hooray! 
              • You are not allowed to shake hands over a doorway. It will bring bad luck upon the place.
              • You are not allowed to whistle in public or in your basically, don't whistle.
              • If you sit at the corner of a table, you will never get married (according to Russians). 
              • I have learned to keep an eye out for this gesture: if a person flicks his neck with his middle finger. It means that he is drunk.
              • Ukrainians dress to the tens everyday. Even in the heart of the winter in the frozen, barren tundra, you will see women still wearing their stilettos and skirts. I'm definitely going to stick out! But don't you fret, pictures will be applied to his concept quickly.
              • Do NOT laugh if a man is hitting on you in any way. They see this as consent and you will get a horde of drunk Ukrainian men around you. You have gotta be gruff and rude and ignore them altogether. 
              • If a woman sits on the ground without a chair or cushion, she will go barren. Apparently my ovaries are going to freeze.
              • Most people in Russia and Ukraine don't have the best manners in public. They push and shove. You have got to be on the defense at all times.
              • The best advice so far that I got was to be assertive and walk with a purpose.
              • As many of you know, I LOVE being colorful. I can't help it! Well, that's just something else that is going to make me stick out in Ukraine. They generally wear a lot of black and grey and not very many colors at all. Dang :)
              I am really looking forward to this experience! Don't get scared by anything on here! Trust me, I'm not--if anything, I am more excited! Ukraine, here I come! :) :)

              Mess and Marvel

              First off, I would like to thank all those who helped me get where I am now. I am so grateful for all of you who donated on my behalf and were able to help me raise enough money to enjoy this wonderful experience.

              Laria and I on our way to training in Provo, UT!
              Now, to the real adventure. The part where my mind is an absolute mess trying to get ready for Ukraine. This past weekend I went down to Provo for training with Laria Gainor, one of my good friends who is going with me. It was extremely helpful and stressful at the same time. I was able to meet some of the girls I am going to be teaching with and spending my next four months with and I was so relieved. It is such a wonderful bunch of girls--the kids whose lives we will be able to a part of are going to be blessed and in turn, I know I will become humbled.

              We had time to visit the Mount Timpanogos Temple 

               And then there's ol' stressful me. I have just 2 weeks to get everything together! I am trying my best to keep my stress levels down and try to get everything packed and hopefully...fingers crossed...not forget anything. Worst fear though at this point? My luggage getting lost. But, I figure I have to release some of my stress and just hope for the best! Optimism is my best friend.

              I  have also been racking my brain for a gift for my host family. Others who have gone before have told me that they really enjoy personal gifts and pictures of your family. So I have settled on giving them a piece of my photography framed. Took me a while but I finally decided on this picture I recently took off the coast of Alcatraz near San Francisco, CA.