Happy Russia Day! Today was jam-packed with celebrations of the mother land. In the morning the camp counselors were dressed in traditional Russian costumes and the kids had to answer riddles and questions about Russia in order to gain entry to the cafeteria for breakfast. During the day the kids were busy practicing first for a formal camp gathering in honor of Russia Day and then for a concert in the evening. The concert celebrated Russia in song, skit, poetry, and dance, plus a few acts that actually had nothing to do with Russia day at all. Russian and Ukrainian kids have a knack for pulling off all kinds of little performances with little guidance, few resources, and next to no time to properly prepare. Every Russian/Ukrainian kid gets roped into singing, dancing, and acting for all sorts of events regardless of their expertise (or lack thereof) in any of these areas. And usually it all turns out pretty super! In the midst of this crazy day we still had to fit in 6 lessons of English. Dasha from my youngest group can work herself up to tears in an instant over the littlest thing and was about to have a meltdown when she saw that we were having one long lesson instead of two shorter ones. I calmed that right down with the promise of a surprise at the end of class if they worked hard for the majority of the lesson. They quickly cheered up and set about guessing what the surprise might be. Throughout the lesson they kept asking me if they were working well enough to get the surprise and they really were giving their best the whole time. It wasn’t much, but giving them candy and letting them play their favorite alphabet memory game ended the class on a high note. Because of the Russia Day festivities in the late morning, most of my lessons were after lunch today. Because of that, I had two lessons after breakfast and then almost 2 hours of free time until lunch. I took advantage of that little break to quickly go into town to get a few things from the store. I made it there and back in just under an hour and a half. It’s definitely nothing like having the giant Караван grocery store right across the street from our apartment in Ukraine, but it’s good to experience another kind of lifestyle- the kind of lifestyle where getting things from the store means walking couple of miles into town and only buying what you can easily carry back. Yes, of course, if I am honest that’s not the kind of lifestyle I would want forever, but for this summer of living simply it’s spot on.
Yesterday and today have been rainy off and on. I took advantage of that yesterday to teach my youngest kiddos “Rain, Rain Go Away” and to let them do a color by number of a rainy day. They are crazy about coloring! According to the program they must have 30 academic hours of English over 15 days and since today marked day number 8, my second group played a review board game that I made for them out of the topics we have covered so far. I think they had fun and it was a bit of a relaxing lesson for me as well.
Last night while I was sitting in the chill-out area of the first floor of the administration building. two boys were brought in to talk to the director about their bad behavior. What was their bad behavior might you ask? Well, they were in trouble because apparently they thought it would be funny to take off their pants and then jump out of their beds into the middle of the room pants less. ay yai yai , you strange strange little Russian kiddos… So, the camp counselor brought them to talk to the administration who gave them a stern talking to about how to properly behave oneself. “Is there something wrong with your heads?!” He dramatically asked them at one point. Honestly, I was just trying not to laugh as I sat nearby and heard the whole silliness transpire.
In other news, I bought my bus tickets to and from Riga and booked a place in a hostel earlier this week! I’m so excited for this little adventure between camp sessions one and two! If any of you lovely readers have been to Riga and want to give me some advice - I’m all ears! J