first bell and floral boquetes

so today is the first day of school. which is so utterly different from the first day of school in america it’s kind of hard to explain. there’s really no comparison. the first and last days of school are called ‘first bell’ and ‘last bell’, respectively. all the kids show up at school, boys in suits, girls in black and white jumpers with the biggest white bows in their hair. the ceremony was actually pretty much the same as all the other ceremonies i’ve seen here. some dancing, singing, overly dramatic music, some repetition and drama skit. pretty much the same. though this time the 5th form took a lit torch from the last class and held it, like it was the olympics. so climactic. at multiple points throughout the ceremony i realized they really do the same thing every single year. it must get so boring. (also random side note: ukrainians have SO many songs relating to school and teachers. so so many. the only english songs i could think of was ‘school’s out for summer’ and ‘smoking in the girls room’)

first bell celebration

i expected it to be just as boring and in thinking thus figured i’d stay hidden in the back by the kids. but towards the beginning of the ceremony my director called out my name recognizing me as the new volunteer teacher. i couldn’t believe it, i was surprised. i walked through the crowd to the front and received three beautiful roses from my student tanya. i felt like i just one a beauty pageant.

girls lined up and waiting to give their flowers

people talked, a girl sang, some weird characterization was presented to the little kids (instructing them on how to be good students, little red riding hood style), and then came a time when the students were told to present their flowers to their teachers. i honestly didn’t expect to get anything, i was so happy with the roses already nesting in my arm when a pack of students came towards me. two boys at first who giggled as they gave them to me, then two little girls (one of whom i taught that summer), and a few others. my arms were full to the brim. i couldn’t believe it. and i haven’t even actually done much of anything!a lol so now all these pretty flowers are sitting in a bucket of water, in the middle of my floor caaause i have no where else to put them.

my flowers and my little neighbor ira : )

in other news i think i’m winning over those annoying young boys. i was outside my door giving chucha her dinner and they came over to talk. after many minutes of ‘how do you say this? how do you say that’  i told them i wasn’t a translator. but they wanted to know what the bad words sean taught them (the previous volunteer who taught them on his last days here). thanks for that. after the kids went to play soccer in the front lawn and megan called so i went for a walk. It was right then that i felt like i was still in summer camp. though hopefully living here will be cool like camp and not like living in a zoo.

anyways on my walk, lena stopped me and handed me a bag of dried beans. that makes today’s total of free-food handouts: tomatoes, squash and beans. i love my neighbors.

students wearing traditional ‘vishyvankas’ (embroidered shirts) posing for their first bell photo

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