Faith, Hope, and Love Remain

Alei's adventures in Ukraine

All My Children March 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — aleicook @ 7:16 pm

Some of my fifth formers: (clockwise) Nastia, Nastia, Myroslava, Mykola, Ihor, Kostya, Anton, Vladik, Pasha, & Serhiy

I know teachers don't have favorites, but if they did she'd definitely be a contender. Also, bunny ears are real funny here, thank you Ihor.

All smiles even while taking a test. Too cute.

Signing autographs, a.k.a. assignment notebooks. Note the blur of motion that's standard in almost every picture with these guys.

My 9th formers posing naturally & illustrating the evolution of the bunny ear gesture. Yulia, Maryna, Lena, Vika, Dasha, & Bogdan.

OK, so technically not all of my children but some of them at least. Darling, huh?  I really do get a huge kick out of them & am so glad to be teaching 3 groups of 5th graders who haven’t yet decided that they’re too cool to unabashedly give each other high fives when I write their grades at the end of the lesson.  Apparently that’s another universal as they say a literal translation (дайте п’ят = give five).  And how could I fail to mention the ever popular pretending-to-shoot-yourself-in-the-head move little Serhiy tends to favor.  It’s hard to have too bad of a day as they manage to provide something new & hysterical regularly.  I haven’t been forced to send notes home to parents yet either as any disruptions are squashed by their regular teacher who sits in the back grading papers or by the other students.  For instance, earlier this week one of the boys was spastically flailing his hand around while chanting mojnha (“pick me” equivalent) & before I had time to remind him in my best teacher voice that I only call on people who raise their hands quietly, shy little Nastia marched over & straight-armed him square in the forehead with the palm of her hand.  I wasn’t quite sure what the appropriate response was, but the Ukrainian teacher didn’t say anything so I stifled a laugh (unsuccessfully) & marched on.  And guess what, he raised his hand quietly the rest of the lesson.

I tried to explain St. Patrick’s Day in all of my lessons but it was surprisingly difficult.  Without all of the context & years of hearing about pots of gold & four leaf clovers the traditions themselves seem a little disjointed: wearing green clothes, dying entire rivers & various beverages an unnatural color, pinching  people & eating Irish food.  I could almost see the “But I thought you were from America?” thought bubbles over their heads.  Oh well.  I’ve witnessed my fair share of confusing holiday traditions here too so it might be a situation where ‘Those who live in glass houses…’ applies.   Or more accurately in this case ‘Those who throw rice into other people’s houses…’ 🙂  At any rate, Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day.

Nothing else too newsworthy this week.  They say that Peace Corps is a perfect opportunity for introspection & life changing self-discovery.  My main realization thus far is that I am a materialistic person whose happiness is largely affected by the availability or absence of warm showers.  Not too flattering of a find, but at least I have hot water.  I am now weirdly joyful every time I realize that my workout has made me sweat  & catch myself lovingly checking on the boiler every time I walk by it like a new mom. So basically, life is good.

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2 Responses to “All My Children”

  1. tricia klein Says:

    Hi Alei,
    The pictures are great, you look great too!! How are you surviving without being able to watch endless hours of March Maddness??:)
    Ohio State and Purdue are still in the tournament thank goodness. This makes for a happy Mr. Klein, Mike and your dad.Matt still has not decided on a school. We hope soon. Not much new in Cary. Have a great week.
    Love,
    Mrs Klein

  2. Colleen Says:

    Alei! Your pictures are so cute, you look so good! I’m so happy you’re having a good time there, and I 100% understand your happiness because of the hot showers 🙂
    I can just hear you saying “I only call on good boys who raise their hands quietly” in your nice Ukrainian speak. I miss you mucho we’ll have to skype soon!!


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