Graduation Speech

11th form ladies show off their amazing graduation dresses.

Emma and I attended our second graduation ceremony here last week, and I gave my second graduation speech. I wrote the thing in English (as simple English as possible), translated it myself, and then got help from my Russian tutor to correct the mistakes. Then I practiced it for a week. My Russian’s improved over the year, but it still took a lot of repetitions to get to the point where I wouldn’t stumble over the tough words.

Here’s the text side-by-side. You can also watch the video below!

There’s an ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times!” Well, with the economic crisis, quarantines, “real” winter, and presidential elections – it seems right now that Ukraine is going through some interesting times. Ukraine is a very young democracy ¬– about as young as our graduates. Things are changing, and this can cause many new problems. But changes also bring new ideas, challenges, and opportunities. I am an optimist, and I believe that Ukraine is setting out to becoming a strong and prosperous country. As the first generation to have seen only the new independent Ukraine, you were certainly born into “interesting” times and you have a great opportunity to affect your country’s future. Far from being a curse, I think this is a great time to be a Ukrainian.

Graduates, your parents, teachers, and administrators have done their best to prepare you for life in the new Ukraine. Now, some of you will go to work, some to higher education, some will maybe go straight to the cafe – I don’t know. Whatever you choose to do next, the knowledge, skills, and experiences you received in school will give you confidence in the years ahead. Don’t forget to thank the people who worked so hard to get you this far.

So, graduating class of 2010, in all your endevours I wish for you to be happy, healthy, and successful. May you indeed be living in interesting times – the good kind. Congratulations and all the best in these times.

Существует древнее китайское поверье, что жить в интересное время – время перемен – это проклятие. Экономическим крисисом, карантином, настоящей зимой, выборами президента – кажется Украина доказывает, что переживает интересные времена. Украина – страна с очень молодой демократией – примерно вашего возраста, выпускники. Идут перемены, и они могут быть причиной многих новых проблем. Но, перемены несут и новые идеи, и испытания, и возможности. Я оптимист, так что верю, что Украина станет сильной, преуспевающей страной. Как у поколения, которое родилось в новой независимой Украине, у вас есть прекрасный шанс повлиять на будушее вашей страны. Отнюдь не проклятие, я думаю жить во времена перемен. Сейчас замечательное время проявить себя украинцем.

Выпускники, ваше родители, учителя, и администрация, попытались в меру своих возможностьей подготовить вас к жизни в новой Украине. Теперь, некоторые из вас пойдут на работу, некоторые – на учёбу в высшие учебные заведения, некоторые – сразу в кафе – я не знаю. Куда бы вы ни пошли, знания, навыки, и опыт, которые вы получили в школе, вам дадут уверенность в будушем. Не забудьте поблагодарить этих людей которые работали много и усердно, чтобы привести вас к сегодняшнему дню.

Выпускники 2010-ого года, во всех начинаниях стремлениях желаю вам счастья, здоровья, и успехов. Да, на самом деле жить во времена перемен – это здорово! Поздравляю, и всего хорошего!

Winter Wrap-Up: Our Snowy Town

Everyone here says this winter has been exceptionally snowy.  For that, I’m actually glad.  Without snow, winter here seems to be very brown, gray, and somewhat gloomy.  A good snowfall, however, gives our town an austere charm and turns my daily walk to school into an arctic trek.

This February especially, snowfalls came one after the other, leaving us a good foot or two for weeks on end.  Narrow trails all over town were quickly stamped flat by lots of us walkers taking the path of least resistance.  The roads were pressed into glaciers.  Occasional days above freezing followed by more fresh powder crusted and stratified the undisturbed snow, so that at times you could walk on top of the “fresh” snow as though you were wearing snowshoes.  Getting around wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t really treacherous except for a few times when the trails melted on a warm day and then froze overnight.

We’re all ready for spring now, even though it means suffering through a few weeks of slush and mud.  The sky is sometimes blue, now, and the sun makes regular appearances again.  The bare brown earth is visible again, but I think some of these glaciers may stick around for a couple more months.

Setting Off
Emma's heading off to work.
Our Park
Our picturesque park.
Wide Path
We had a nice wide trail through the park after the first light snow.
Narrow Trail
The trail through the park got narrower when the snow got higher.
Central Heating
The central heating pipe that cuts through town is covered in icicles.
Roof Snowman
The lyceum students built a giant snowman on the cafeteria roof.
Our Door
The trail to our door.
Our neighbors clear a path to get the car out of the garage.
Fearless Marshrutka
Marshrutkas don't let a little snow and ice stop them. We're flagging one down to go the city for a day.
Dead Snowman
Our snowman on the soccer field was sadly knocked over before we could get a pic.