Sunday, September 30, 2012

Update!

Wow has it been a long time since I last updated my blog! Sorry everyone! I'll try to give a quick run-down of everything I've been up to the past two weeks and add some pictures within the next couple of days as well.
The week after we got back from Kiev was filled with classes and choir and life in general and went by pretty quickly.  Nothing too terribly out of the ordinary happened during that week, but several nights we went walking and enjoyed the nice weather.  On Friday the girls from my program and I went with our program director to a private school near our apartment and talked with the director and teachers about helping out with English classes there.  The teachers were all really excited and the students were both eager to talk to us and incredibly shy.
     The weekend was not without adventure.  On Saturday I had choir practice at noon and then Mario and I set off for a festival of traditional Ukrainian music, art, food, and culture a little bit outside of Kharkov called Печенізьке поле (Pecheniz'ke field).  We didn't stay at the festival a super long time, but spent a couple of hours taking in the atmosphere of the festival.  It was really quite crowded, so we had to wind our way through the crowds to get anywhere. There was delicious Ukrainian festival food everywhere and I bought some fresh bread from one of the vendors.
When we got back to Kharkov we went a soccer game. We live less than a ten minute walk from the stadium and for 15 UAH (less than $2) for a professional football game ticket who can pass that up? Mario and I arrived only for the last 20 minutes, but it turned out to be the most exciting 20 minutes of the game! When we arrived, Metalist (Kharkov's team) was tied 0-0 with Poltava (a city a couple of hours west of Kharkov).  By the time the game ended the score was 4-0 with a Metalist victory! We were sitting in the fan section, so the atmosphere was incredible! There was one thing during the game that upset me though, and since this blog is supposed to tell about everything from my time here, I might as well share it. We were in the stands enjoying the game when out of nowhere come a couple guys wearing masks that looked like this:

And holding a flag that looked like this:


The next thing I know one of them pulls out a lighter.  "It won't catch," Mario reassures me, seeing the worried look on my face. It probably wouldn't have caught, if not for the fact that the flag was doused in lighter fluid.  So with my jaw touching the ground I watched as a flag-fire burned right behind me.  Mario pulled me out into the aisle so we wouldn't be in danger of getting burned.  After they had made sure the whole thing had burned they sneaked out the back and were on their way. Not a single security guard seemed to notice and no one in the crowd seemed as stunned and disgusted by it as I was.  It really shook me up and made me feel upset the rest of the game. Definitely something I will never forget, for better or for worse.
But on to more cheerful things! On Sunday Mario and I rode on the gondola again (well, again for me and first time for him) and then walked around a while.  On Monday we road in the ferris wheel at Gorky Park and on Thursday took a spontaneous trip to the thriving metropolis  itty bitty town of 24,000 people - Ljubotin! It was nice to just get out of Kharkiv for a little bit though and see something new. On Friday I went with the kids and teachers from the private school for a day in nature.  The kids and teachers were so welcoming and the little girls, when they found out that I could speak Russian, picked my brain with rapid fire questions. I think one of the girls thought I was an alien from another planet as she just stared and stared an stared some more haha Late Friday night I said a sad, teary goodbye to my Mario and then spent Friday night and Saturday feeling a bit sad and lonely :*(
By Monday I was back to my crazy busy life and another week flew by.  Friday night I hung out with my American friends and some Ukrainians we met at English-speaking group and enjoyed a nice evening hanging out and walking around in the center of Kharkiv (remember - walking and talking is the favorite hobby of Slavs!).  By the time we got home Friday night I was one tired girl and slept long and hard into Saturday morning.  Not long after I woke up Saturday I headed over to Kayla and Masha's apartment for some hair dying fun! Kayla made her hair a bit darker and I, being the rebel I am (hehe), added a purple streak to my hair! I really like how it turned out.  It's not super noticeable in most light, but when the light hits it I think it looks pretty cool! Saturday afternoon I met up with some people via an invitation from a girl Liza who leads a German-speaking group.  We sat around for a bit talking and then went walking, stopped in a cafe, and walked some more.  I spoke a little German, heard  A LOT of German, and had a fun time.  It feels good meeting people and making friends, "fitting in" more and more in this new city.
Today I went to church (side note - I have starting playing piano for church because they didn't have anyone to play for them) and then spent the afternoon mostly relaxing, doing homework, and preparing for teaching tomorrow.
I'm doing well here in Kharkov, still having the time of my life, and eating lots of delicious Ukrainian food! :) I hope that you're also doing well, wherever in the world you are reading this post.  I'll post some pictures soon!

2 comments:

  1. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog on Google. You're in Kharkov too, how exciting!! :) It sounds like you're studying here... or are you teaching? I went back thru some of your past entries and see that you've spend a while in Ukraine. Hope you enjoy life in Kharkov!
    Katherine

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  2. Hello! So you are also a foreigner in Kharkiv? Cool! I am studying here for the year at Karazina and also volunteering as an English teacher at a school. What are you up to in this amazing country, if I might ask?
    Chelsea

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