May Day

(Obviously written May 1.)

Today is the 1 month anniversary of our arrival in Ukraine!  So much has happened in the last 4 1/2 weeks – sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s only been a month!  Coincidentally, it’s also a national holiday – the Day of Solidarity of Workers – kind of like Labor Day.  Ukrainians celebrate this Worker’s Day by taking a four-day weekend.  Our host momwent to a picnic that is, apparently, still going strong at 11pm.  Our 25 year old host sister went to the zoo in Kiev, and other town youngsters have been dancing (?), listening (?), hanging out (?) to loud, thumping music most of the evening at the stadium next door.

We spent the day celebrating in language class and two technical sessions!  Then, we came home and celebrated by hand-washing a load of shirts and running 2.5 miles at the stadium.  We have had a nice evening, relaxing, writing postcards, showering, talking to my sissy, and finally feeling up to journal writing!

So, a month in, and how do I feel?  There are many times during a week when I feel frustrated by our schedule and exhausted by the amount of work we have.  I really want to do a good job learning Russian, but when all our technical training and teaching is added onto our already busy schedule of language classes and tutoring, there’s not time for more than the basic homework.

None-the-less, I do feel pretty good about the progress I’m making.  It helps that our host mom sits with us in the evenings over dinner or tea and talks with us.  She speaks slowly and patiently.  If I take plenty of time to think it through and remember the vocabulary and grammar rules, I can form somewhat complex sentences in past/present/future tenses, including prepositions and maybe an adverb or adjective thrown in here or there!  I struggle the most with vocab, and then with my reading and pronunciation.  The Cryllic alphabet takes some time to learn!

We met a few current volunteers from Group 35 (started last Sept.), and they gave me confidence that I will be able to function and get along well-enough when training is over and we’re on our own at site.  I know that will be a difficult time, but I’m definitely looking forward to our crazy training to be over!  At the same time, I really like our training situation in terms of all the folks we get to spend so much time with.  I know it’ll be really different, and hard, when we get to site and it’s just the two of us again!