Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Break

Alrighty, folks. I promise that this time, I actually have a good excuse for not updating -- I'm on spring break. So far it has been wonderful... my friend J came to visit me at my home, and we got to enjoy a four course meal for only 97 hriven at my favorite restaurant! We walked a lot, and went to the bazaar... it was all over absolutely wonderful.

On Sunday, we ventured two hours north (by train) to the city of Rivne. We went a little crazy... they have a mall there, sushi, a real Italian restaurant, and everything is very accessible which was wonderful. We got there around 11 or 12 and just began wandering around... it was very nice!

Monday included the two of us teaching on of my English clubs, which was charming but a little unrefined considering that we hadn't done the most preparation. In the afternoon we traveled to my friend's village. How did we get there? Well naturally the man who was selling us oranges had a car and when we asked how to get there, he offered. This is why villages are the best!

Today is Tuesday and we we spent the day wandering around the village and meeting my friend's charming students as well as finding an abundance of... large animal jaw bones? I'm not sure where they've come from, but they seem to be everywhere! Additionally, I fell down a muddy hill on my ass. It was quite amusing for my friend, I assure you.

Hopefully that is satisfying for now! I will update as soon as I can! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Because I'm Obsessed...

Updates on The Pit of Despair

As I've mentioned, strange things are turning up in the 'twilight zone' of The Pit of Despair. Today, on my glorious walk to school I passed a committee of babyshkas doing a very 'official' excavation of part of The Pit of Despair. Most interesting find so far? A baby stroller.

Oh the Joys!

Reasons why I love teaching in Ukraine:

Today I was supposed to have four classes. I arrived to school promptly at 10:30am, and was told that the class I was there for, had already been taught. So instead of teaching, I went to the cafeteria and had some chicken, tea and mashed potatoes. Then, I went to teach my next lesson. However, another colleague decided that she wanted to teach the class. So I returned to the cafeteria for another tea and some cake (I live a very classy life). Afterwards, the bell rang and I made my way to go to the sixth period, however, on the way, I bumped in to the 'class mistress' of the tenth form (who I was supposed to teach) and she said that she sent them all home. Instead of teaching then, I went to the teachers' room and practiced some Ukrainian grammar to try and be productive. Alas, the bell rang for the seventh lesson, upon where I was to teach eighth form German. However... the seventh lesson was promptly cancelled due to the teachers not wanting to be there anymore. Overall, I'd say I had a  very successful working day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I met the devil in my dream last night.

He was such an ass. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Pit of Despair

If you've seen or read The Princess Bride, then you know of 'The Pit of Despair'. It is a terrible, secret place that people go to get tortured. I have now dubbed the 'pave-over-ice' road, the Pit of Despair.

Things I found in The Pit of Despair today:Two shoes (not a pair) a bath for babies, and a bird. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

To the Travelers

There is a new website for people to make travel trip plans together... so for all my PCV's out there who want to travel and what not, check it out:


Supah cool!

To My Dad

What A Day

I went to school today to find out all my classes have been cancelled. At first I was ecstatic and then I realized... I have nothing else to do. At all. So how have I occupied my Thursday? I have dusted my entire flat, I've scrubbed my toilet, washed my duvet, shoveled my balcony, cleaned my refrigerator, learned some new Russian words and practiced some of my Ukrainian grammar. I have two more hours until German club... which lasts forty five minutes. So... I think I will teach myself French. I'll keep you posted on how that's going... but on the bright side, a surprise visit from my landlady today included many compliments of how Ukrainian I'm becoming, although I fear that might just mean I shower less and have gained weight...

Oh and, spring not coming fast enough for you? This should help:


Sorry for the lack of posting, I've been busy with everything. But here is an adorable video of Kiev to placate you :P

Monday, March 12, 2012

Some Advice

Wondering what to do once all your work is done for the day?

Here's the best advice you'll ever get:

Get a bar of chocolate, turn on christmas music, make a cup of tea and snuggle up on the couch... I promise it will be amazing!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Desperate Times...

The problem: A deep and dangerous desire for pizza. My language skills are limited to professional situations and classroom situations.

The solution: My tenth formers homework on Monday will be to translate my pizza oder and write it down.

My job: Take the paper to the pizzaria and be happy.

See, this is why I got the job I have... I have great problem solving skills!

The Man...

This is Taras Shevchenko. He's kind of a  big deal. He was a painter, a poet and an advocate for the penniless. He took part in The Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius which promoted the traditional beliefs of brotherhood and loyalty which was against the Russian Empire's point of view... so he was exiled. 

Taras Shevchenko was just about everything... he was involved politically, he painted, he was a play-write, poet, engraver... but these were not necessarily the reasons that he became ingrained in the lively-hood and the national identity of an entire nation. Taras Shevchenko presented and represented Ukraine with all the love in his heart. His art instilled courage, his words created strength and he gave a downtrodden group of people a chance to be proud of their land. 

So, to express this a little better, here is a poem by Shevchenko...

A Reflection
The river empties to the sea,
But out it never flows;
The Cossack lad his fortune seeks,
But never fortune knows.
The Cossack lad has left his home,
He's left his kith and kind;
The blue sea's waters splash and foam,
Sad thoughts disturb his mind:
"Why, heedless, did you go away?
For what did you forsake
Your father old, your mother grey,
Your sweetheart, to their fate?
In foreign lands live foreign folks,
Their ways are not your way:
There will be none to share your woes
Or pass the time of day."
Across the sea, the Cossack rests --
The choppy sea's distraught.
He thought with fortune to be blessed --
Misfortune is his lot.
In vee-formation, 'cross the waves
The cranes are off for home.
The Cossack weeps -- his beaten paths
With weeds are overgrown...
Taras Shevchenko
St. Petersburg, 1838.
Translated by John Weir Toronto

Cossacks were basically 'freedom fighters' of Ukraine and represent the strength of the Ukrainian people.

Moral of the story: Taras Shevchenko was awesome, and still affects people today. 

Friday, March 9, 2012


Today, many many years ago, Taras Shevchenko was born.

Tomorrow, many many years ago, Taras Shevchenko died.

Who was this prolific man?

You'll find out on... the next episode of The Perfection of Potato Soup! Which will be broadcasted... sometime tomorrow after I wake up and shower and maybe have some breakfast.

In the mean time, enjoy your evening and tell someone you love that... you love them. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Food For Thought

Best quote I've ever heard:

"Being mad that someone's marriage is against your religion is like getting upset that someone else is eating a donut and you're on a diet."

Women's Day!

Happy Women's Day, everyone!

International Women's Day isn't something that I've ever celebrated before... but here in Ukraine... it's a big freaking deal. Considering that I am not a mother and I am not a wife... I did not expect a lot from today.

However, my students amazed me. Seventeen roses, bouquets, boxes and boxes of chocolates, paper flowers, cards... I had to buy a bag from someone to carry it all home.

Strangely, however, this was not the most moving part of my day.

Yes, it was wonderful that my typically reluctant tenth formers had the nerve to interrupt my class to present me with flowers and a card... but... honestly? The best part of my day was when I met the mother of one of my students. She told me that her son has described me as 'the most tender of people,' and that as a mother, it meant the world to her that I had put the effort in to be kind to her son.

Moral of the story: Even if someone is loud, occasionally rude and a little obnoxious (as the student in question is), be kind. They appreciate it even if they don't tell you!

I hope you are all having a great day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to be Awesome

Take eight apples.




Boil a medium sized pot of water.

Add apples.

Let boil for 7 minutes.

Add two spoons of sugar.

Let cool.

Drink apple flavored water.

Save apple slices in same pot.

Mash up with some of the water.

Add cinnamon.

Congrats! You just made apple kompot AND apple sauce!

A few notes: The apple-water (kompot) is best served chilled. Make a lot, put it in a pitcher and store it in the fridge. Also, if you have a lot of apples about to get rotten, this is a great way to use them. I think it's better to use a sweeter variety of apple and less sugar. 

Dear mom: This summer when you go blueberry picking... GO CRAZY. We are making kompot together this Christmas when I visit! 


Monday, March 5, 2012

Things I Learned Today

It is always important to remember that no matter what your profession is, no matter how old you are, no matter how smart you think you are... you are always, always, always a student.

In light of that, here are some things I learned today:

1)If you have high blood pressure... pour yourself a glass of whiskey and add chestnut blossoms - miracle cure?
2)Wine is like... arm floaties... it's fine when you're five, but at a certain point, people are going to stop taking you seriously.
3)When you ask a Ukrainian student to write what his/her school will look like in the year 2500, don't expect space ships and the moon... you will still read 'teacher gives no hometask' and 'there will be no uniforms'. The future is irrelevant, they will still want the same things!

and finally,

4)Don't expect too much of yourself... if you are always on time, always prepared and always happy... people will start to expect that... and expectations are never good!

That's all the wisdom I have to offer you today! Have a great evening!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Perfect Sunday Evening

Although I haven't gotten a chance to Skype with my family today (I think my sister forgot me??), it is still turning out to be a great evening.

What could be better than listening to The Carpenters with an absurdly large mug of strawberry green tea and lesson planning about art history? Not much :)

I hope everyone else is enjoying their Sunday just as much!


Friday, March 2, 2012

The Bandwagon

I'm usually late to catch on to trends... and to an extent I usually avoid them. That being said, my parents' most recent package to me included The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

All of my coworkers laughed at me this week as I read the pages in between classes, and even brought it with me to the cafe to eagerly devour the pages.

I am not a fan of mystery novels usually, with the obvious exception of A.C Doyle, but I have to admit... I enjoyed the book.

Three major problems I had though:

1) Did anyone else notice that every time Larsson introduced a female, he explained her sexually? Literally up until page 386 every single time Larsson wrote about a woman, he explained how she was in bed, or how sexually active she was, or how sexually attractive she looked. I don't know if he did this in hopes of people noticing considering that most of the book is dedicated to speaking out against female violence.

2) It was interesting to see, (and this isn't just Larsson), that every time a girl is in a scene, the audience must be told what she is wearing... if a man is in a scene, his outfit is never described unless it is to make him sound ridiculous.

3) I'm curious if I'll encounter an answer to in the next book - Blomkvist is repeatedly displayed as the definition of a moral man, and yet he will have sex with anyone. My question: Is this supposed to be Blomkvist's only shortcoming, or is this Larsson's way of encouraging polygamous relationships?