I keep trying to make this post and it keeps disappearing. Ah well....tomorrow I will try a wifi place with my laptop.
I am doing well, am happy to be here, enjoying every minute of this experience. Well, almost every minute. (Sorry about my typing--their keyboard is very sticky). My days so far have consisted of breakfast with the family at 7, leave at 7:30 and walk to the apartment of my language teacher Tamila where I and my "cluster" --4 other PCVT's (PC Volunteer Trainees) have language class from 8-11:30. I am so0000 glad I took that Russian class. Feel like I am doing pretty well, though on the street and at home it is, of course, pretty impossible to understand and be understood! But a few words get in there now and then. And it is only week 1 we have to keep reminding ourselves.
The rest of the day is spent in working in a larger group with training on community development and meeting with organizations and government groups. I usually walk home around 5 or 6, hang out with the family practicing my language and helping Lena cook, sometimes doing the dishes--Max and I take turns--and studying.
Today (saturday) I went with some of the other PCVT's to visit an old church and monastery and underground caves where the monks used to live. Very very interesting. Chernihiv is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine--900 years old.
Tomorrow I am going to the central library where an English club (Ukrainians practicing their English) is run by a 80 year old PCV here. I wondered into the library at some point this week, and they were very excited to see me--the first Volunteer that had come in they said--and they were looking for volunteers to help with the club. This Sunday they are discussing why there are so many single mothers in Ukraine. Should be really interesting.
Next week is the Ukrainian Orthodox Easter holiday--very big deal here, of course. So should be interesting. My family doesn't seem to be religious, but maybe this is when we will go to church (and I will wear a skirt!)
There are mostly older PCVT's here--some of them can be a bit whiny about conditions--but mostly they are a good group. Though I actually like best just hanging out at home with my host family. They are such a loving family, it is nice to be around them.
The food is quite good, though heavy of course on some things I don't normally eat. But what is really wonderful to see, is that Lena makes everything from scratch--and I mean everything. Sour cream, fruit juice, all the vegetables and fruits she uses are mostly preserves she made. If she uses walnuts,she cracks them and picks out the nuts. Stuff like that. It's wonderful to see
Trying to do some yoga in the mornings, walk as much as possible. Did have a bad cold a couple of days this week, but feel okay today. Despite missing you all, I am so happy to get to do this.
They did have a display in the library and there was a picture of Itasca. Made me homesick at bit...
One funny incident. On my way home one day, a babushka stopped and asked ME!! for directions. I had to tell her sorry, I'm from america and don't speak russian. All of which I was able to say in Russian so not bad I guess. Though now Tamila says we should say we speak russian a little... very, very little, I would say.
Much love, Barb