What a great past two weeks!! We haven’t had a moment to breathe, but every day has been wonderful. Pre-service training is more than half way over and it is just starting to hit me that I will be on my own soon.
Halloween weekend passed without hesitation. None of our students or school counterparts wanted to celebrate so my cluster got a bunch of candy from the shop and watched ‘A Nightmare before Christmas.’ I missed carving a pumpkin the most.
I’ve taught nine English lessons so far and completed seven weeks of Russian language class. I love studying Russian, but I feel like I’ve hit the mid-training plateau. This might be a result of the new language teacher we’ve had for the past three weeks or our busy schedule, or simple laziness. I don’t know, but I am sure even during my least productive days I am still retaining more than I ever did when studying Spanish or Arabic in the US.
My host family is still awesome. I am pretty sure I got the best one in the village! – although I am sure my cluster mates would claim they got the best too. There has been only two instances when I felt uncomfortable. The first time was when I couldn’t eat their fish head soup for breakfast… The second time was after my host father came home with a bunch of new clothes and they started to ask me questions about how much clothes cost in the US. I told them I spend about $100 on a pair of jeans which converts to 800 Hirivnas (the equivalent of my monthly peace corps pay check). They were amazed and didn’t believe me – He bought his jeans for 100 Hirivnas.
Last Sunday, Lauren and I splurged and visited the capital city of Kiev. It was beautiful! We spent most of our day wandering around the Pechersk Lavra, also know as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves. The Lavra is considered the heart of Eastern Orthodoxy in Ukraine and pilgrims come from all over Eastern Europe to pray amidst its many icons and relics. Beneath the monastery there is an elaborate system of caves where the early monks used to pray and live. Now there are over 100 monks buried within its walls, many laid in glass sarcophaguses along the narrow walkways of the caves.
I also had my first tast of Black Caviar!! Mmmmmmm! A small jar only cost $30 but 250 Hirivnas is about a quarter of my monthly paycheck and way to much to spend on something I’d devour in 10 minutes.