So, my first week back was actually terribly miserable. I got the flu with all the trappings and then gave it to my host mom for which if I could have felt more miserable I would have because she didn't need anything else to add to her stress. But teaching actually went well, mostly because everytime anyone ticked me off I just gave them a big wet willy kiss and then they haven't been back since...hahaha (not really). We did have an awesome April Fool's Day. We arranged the room mirror image backwards with the chairs on the opposite side and then calendar going backwards. The kids got really confused. The best was when I asked what yesterday was an pointed to the sign on the left and it said Thursday. Sasha gave me this look that just said oodles. And then we all did the actions to the songs backwards. Head sholders knees and toes was a riot. Then I told my maintenance class that all games had been outlawed and we were just going to read. They freaked. Then I made them read my dad's finance text book that he'd sent me. They really freaked. They kept asking, "You say you this rule?" And I would just just sign and say, "Tanya. You know she's really mean." They were so mad when I told them it was a joke. Then I taught them magic tricks so they forgave me.
Thursday, I went to Russian class and learned to pray in Russian which was way exciting. On the way home there was this lady that was laughing at us on the metro she thought it was so funny that we spoke English. After we got off the metro she disappeared until I got to my building then all of a sudden she was back. Turned out she lives in our building. She invited me out for a coffee or a beer. I politely declined and spent a sober night drinking pretend cok with Styopa.
Friday, I went to Petrivka and looked at books. I bought a poster map of Ukraine with historically important people on it from this really cute old man who helped me get change for a 200 grivna note. And I got Crime and Punishment in Russian. It's amazing...the names make sense when they are written in Cyrillic. That night we went to game night at the Branch Presidents. I played Cranium and had to act out gravity and tofu and decided I should stick to the Creative Cats. Then on the way home I tripped over a cinder block. It went rolling and this guy in a cab by us yelled, "You break Ukraine!!!" (in English) It was hilarious though I now have a giant scratch on my leg that sends Styopa running for the air pump every time he sees it. (He uses the air pump to pretend to be a doctor).
Apparently, though that was a bit too much for me. I was up all night with a fever so the next morning I was exhausted. I also hadn't eaten anything in a few days so I could barely stand. But it didn't stop me from going to the Museum of the Great Patriotic War (WWII). It was fascinating. WWII was really really awful for Ukraine. Not only were they part of the USSR which suffered the most losses of any country (20 million people out of the 60 million lost in the war), but Ukraine was actually occupied which meant they also experienced the holocaust with the added terror that Hitler hated Slavic people and communists. The museum was really well set up and powerful even though we couldn't understand most of it. I could read a couple of the journals and it was just really sad. It was really interesting to see the war from another angle. Because I don't think we really remember that the Soviets were really on our side during WWII because the cold war started before WWII was even over and because they were fighting on the Eastern front while we were more on the Western Front with France and England. I'm really excited for May 9th now (and not just because I will finally get fireworks on my birthday like Erin) but because apparently there are big WWII commemoration celebrations.
Then we went to the school to learn how to make borshch and vareniki. They were really fun and delicious. I can't wait to make you all Ukrainian food. Though I'm going to really miss the cheese and the smetana and with out them it won't quite be the same.
That night, Megan and I went to her house for the день рождения дедушки (our Grandpa's birthday). He had a fun time teasing me and telling me that the rest of the food was for me. I got a great opportunity to whine in Russian which really cracked him and the Grandma up. They tried to make us drink martinis which was exciting. The food was beautiful and all really interesting. The mushrooms were probably my favorite and Yoova told me with pride that they had gathered them themselves in the forest...good think none of them were poisonous. Then I got to help Styopa down 9 flights of stairs which was fun. Then we went home and Vanya and I finished watching Robots.
Monday, I learned that what my Russian book said about loosing hot water in the summer is true and apparently it's our turn. For the next two weeks, we get to use the electric kettle for any warm water. Vanya and I had a fun time trying to get water the right temp to wash our faces. The cold water is really really cold.
Tuesday, I played with Styopa all morning and I got to eat Styopa kasha. Dang that kid eats well! I could totally live on that stuff. It's like grains in kefir with sugar, kind of like rice pudding. then I went to school in a jacket and capris!!!!!! Это весна!!!!!!! I'm so excited.
So this morning I was working on my scholarship essays and it really struck me how much has happened to me in the last year that I would never have expected. I can remember on my birthday last year going to breakfast with Daddy and picking out my computer and talking about how great BYU is and stuff that would happen. I didn't know any of the people that I was going to me at Zion Ponderosa, I didn't know any Russian, I didn't know how freaking amazing my roommates were really going to be, and I didn't know I was headed to Ukraine. I was really sad not to be 18 any more because I thought 18 had been the perfect age for me. But 19 has been the most AMAZING year or my life. I have met so many amazing people, done so many fun things, learned to read another alphabet, and learned another language well enough to talk to babooshki on the metro. It's so crazy! Those are my thoughts...that and that I LOVE UKRAINE!!!!!!! And Styopa... and Vanya... and all the the Zhdanovs... and my fellow teachers... and Aimee... and Emily... and Erin... and of course Stuart... if Mommy and Daddy don't know I love them they are crazy... and all my other friends back at home... I LOVE LIFE!