Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Excerpt from my New Book

" Lenin realized that individual actions of this kind, however heroic they might be did not give good results. And he said to his mother: 'We shall find a better way'.

Perhaps the greatest lesson Lenin taught me was that the solution of every social and political question depended on whether it advanced the interests of the working class or the exploiters. He taught me, too, that no revolutionary could stand apart from social and political life."

-Excerpt from Радянський Союз Очима Друзів, page 4 The Greatest Lesson Lenin Taught Me - Recollections of an English Communist

What I Need Right Now

Taken from Failblog.org

Ukraine's Cold Spell

Death toll from European cold spell hits 54
 Today at 14:30 | Associated Press

Thirty people, most of them homeless, have died of hypothermia in recent days in Ukraine, part of a surge of deaths across eastern Europe as the region grapples with an unusually severe cold spell.

In all, at least 54 people have died from the cold in Europe over the last week.

Of the victims in Ukraine, 21 were found frozen on the streets, five died in hospitals and four died in their own homes, said Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Yershova.

Temperatures plunged to minus 23 C (minus 10 F) in the capital of Kiev and elsewhere in Ukraine, as schools and nurseries closed down and authorities set up hundreds of heated tents with hot tea and sandwiches for the homeless.

Kiev city administration head Oleksandr Popov ordered city schools and colleges closed beginning Wednesday through the end of the week, as temperatures are expected to drop to minus 28 C (minus 18 F).

"They will be on a break at least until Monday," Popov said on his website.

In Poland, five people died of hypothermia in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll from the cold to 15 in the last four days, the national police said.

Temperatures sunk Tuesday to minus 27 C (minus 17 F) in the southeastern Polish city of Ustrzyki Gorne — and forecasts predicted minus 29 C (minus 20 F) in the region overnight.

In Romania, two people died in the past 24 hours due to the frigid weather, the health ministry said Tuesday, bringing the total to eight cold-related deaths in the country since cold spell began. Temperatures plunged to minus 20 C ( minus 4 F) overnight in Bucharest.

In Russia, one person died late Monday of the cold in Moscow, where temperatures fell to minus 21 C, the city's health department said.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry is not reporting deaths across the country yet.

Original Kyiv Post Article

What Happens in Ukraine when it gets Cold?

If it is below -20*C in Ukraine, school gets canceled... Monday it was below -20, so only the teachers went to school. Today was also below -20... what about Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, you may ask? All will be below -20. Who has a week off from work? THAAAAT'S ME!


Monday, January 30, 2012

What I Feel Like Doing Today

Another Day, Another Dollar

But not really, because I don't get paid! I will now give you a brief synopsis of the main 'unwritten rules' of Ukraine"

1) Do not mix food and business.
Yes this business meeting is scheduled from 8am till 5pm, but that's because from 8:30 until 4:45 we are having tea time and we cannot talk about money while eating, it's rude.

2) If it is ninety degrees out in December you still must wear 50 layers.
It's still winter, regardless of the temperature!

3) If you think you're a nice teacher, you're doing it wrong.
Parents are happier when they see their children have more homework, it means that the teacher is making them work. It goes with the theory that the more work you give a person, the less time/energy they have for social problems like bullying and low-self esteem...

4) Never say something bluntly.
Your job is to beat around the bush as much as possible. So if your friend says "I was drinking tea..." and then changes to "I want to go to the store..." and then on to "what do you think about..." it obviously means that the two of you will meet for lunch tomorrow, at noon, by the library and don't forget to wear your red shoes.

5) Talking about interests is very important to forming a good relationship.
As long as your interests are salo, politics, potatoes and Soviet poets. (Which may sound limited, but I assure conversations on these topics go on for hours at a time!)

I hope this helps anyone who is curious about life here! I will upload more 'rules' as I discover them :) Also, it is currently 4*F, which means... I think my eyeballs froze a little bit on my walk to work today.

Sophia Church in not Shepetivka!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

This is Shepetivka, Folks!

The train station...

Our main museum...

We have a ferris wheel!

In the park...

I'll make another post this week with some more photos!

10°F, feels like 2°

That's -12°C that feels like -16.5°C for all you smart metric-system-users out there. For those of you who don't know either... it means that it's COLD.

Today's wardrobe:

So naturally I feel like this:

Because on top of all those layers I also have on my snuggie. I think a little kitten would warm me up more, but unfortunately all the black cats who surround my apartment aren't so interested in befriending me. 

Today I also was social and productive and walked around town with my friend... we ate pizza! It has been at least 4 months since I last had a greasy slice of pizza and today it was magical! If you're Ukrainian and you know it put corn on your pizza!

Poka for now!


If you're wondering what this amazing country looks like, here's a glimpse:





These are the big places that I'm using to entice you... next time I will show the tiny little celos that Ukraine is famous for.

See you soon!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Bucket List (Because Everyone Needs One)

1) See Aurora Borealis 
2) Live in London
3) Publish a novel

4) Be in the Arctic Circle
4) See Yosemite National Park

5) Serve in the Peace Corps
6) See Nova Scotia the way Anne Shirley did (As someplace magical)!

This is part one of my bucket list... I have a lot of things to do before I die, but I have got time... what's on your bucket list?

A Teacher on the Tundra

I don't know if you've been to Ukraine, and I don't know if you've been here in the winter, but it's cold. It is the kind of cold that makes your eyeballs freeze. I am currently huddled in my little, dilapidated bed in my faux-snuggie and hugging my computer for warmth. On my stove I have a fresh pot of potato-leek soup and a candle burning next to me. Don't worry, I have electricity and I have heat... but not quite enough heat to keep me warm.

So my belly is full of potatoes, and my brain is full of irregular German verb conjugations. I work as a teacher in a Ukrainian secondary school teaching English and German. I teach the fourth through tenth grade, and I have the best students in the world. I've lived here for two months now, but Ukraine is more of a home than I've ever had before.