Monday, September 19, 2011

Wow! What a week.

This past week was extremely busy, fun, and very interesting.
On Monday I was moved to a new host family because sadly, my allergies were too bad living with my first family here.

My new host family lives in a different part of town but they are much closer to where I work. They have three kids which is unusual here. The culture of Ukraine is one kid and two if you happen to get twins. It doesn’t matter to me though, I love kids!! My host family has Bogdana—6, Sasha—4, and cute little Yegor—2. I currently teach the oldest, Bogdana at the school here. The kids are so much fun and it is nice to be able to have them around. My host mom is named Nadia and she is a blast! She is just like a little kid and she wants so bad to learn English—it is great. She and I spend hours translating words together. She is helping me learn the language so much better!

On Wednesday after work, a group of us went into central Kiev to experience the night life :)It was crazy! People here are so much different at night than during the day and I love it! We walked by a big crowd at one point so we decided to check it out. In the middle of the circle were 5 crazy break dancers and they were amazing! After the show we took our picture with them and they loved the fact that we were Americans. Most of them spoke English too. 

Then, Thursday night the whole group went to a soccer game here. Now, Kiev is one proud city. They love their soccer and are mighty proud of their team. The stadium is huge and crazy and filled with tons of people, vendors, and at least 300 armed militia men. Anyways, I had bought a team jersey and scarf so I was ready to cheer on Kiev.
The stands and the fans are insane and I just loved the atmosphere more than anything. When some people leading our cheering section saw that we weren’t really cheering (because we couldn’t understand them) someone shouted: “they’re Americans!” and then the leaders of the chant taught just our little section of Americans what the chant meant in English and how to say it in Russian. It was a lot of fun but after that people kept coming up to us and saying “can we make picture with you?” or in some cases, just walk up to you and pull you into their picture. I can most definitely say that I am going back to another soccer game before I leave!

Most of our ILP group at the soccer game!
Then over the weekend, my host mom took me around the little areas around her house and showed me where all the good shops are with the good prices. We went grocery shopping together and I’ve learned how to say all the foods I like :) I also know how to discipline the children in Russian thanks to Nadia. It sure is a ton of fun here. I love Ukraine so much. I cannot wait to learn as much Russian I can.

I also told my host mother that I will try anything once. That included a specialty of fermented tomatoes, grapes, and the spiciest pickle ever. The fermented tomatoes and grapes were absolutely disgusting, but hey, I tried them and that’s what counts! Anyways, I also asked my host mom if she would continue to cook like she normally does for her family because I would like to taste all the national Ukrainian dishes and learn how to make them so I can share them with others when I get back home to good ol’ Idaho. This morning she taught me how to make sernike which is a big breakfast dish here. It’s basically a little pancake with cream cheese in the middle and is delicious with honey. Don’t worry momma, I’ve learned how to make it and I will make it for you when I come home—promise!

This fish was alive when we bought it.... and basically still alive when we ate it. I guess cooked to me = raw to Ukrainians.

On Sunday, my host family took me to one of their favorite museums in Kiev. It is an outdoor museum and is amazing! It has all the old house from villages in and around Kiev from as far back as the 1700s. Being here was definitely the right decision for me. I’ve made some great lifelong friendships and there nothing can replace the experience I am having now with the Ukrainian culture.

This is little Dana and my friend, Jenessa
Oh, I guess I should add this cute little moment. Bogdana, the oldest, adores me. Earlier this week she came into my room, danced with me to Lady Gaga, picked out my outfit for school, and then helped me put on my make up and do my hair. I then did her hair and you should have seen the biggest smile ever on this tiny, cute face. It was a perfect moment.

Also, at the end of the month a group of about 12 of us are going to Poland for our first vacation! SO excited!

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