cinderella carriages and cellphone confiscations

it’s friday. thank god. i just got back from teaching my last class of the week and feelin pretty good that my first full week of teaching all by myself (and without any books even) is now a notch in my belt. today’s lessons went alright, i was resourceful and used the same lesson for 4 different grades today, just adapting it slightly…i mean since they don’t know any english, it’s all new to them!this morning began with the 6th formers, then 5th form, and 7a and 7b. the 6th formers aren’t necessarily my best class are far far from being my worst. they love to chitchat..buuuuut they give me gifts (three apples today!) so how can i not like them! so they already know how to play the game…and i know how to play it too hehe. i filled a plate with the cookies my regional manager didn’t take and left them in the teachers’ office with a note and an arrow pointing to ‘traditional american cookies from kristen : )’. that idea went over so well that teachers stopped me in the hall to thank me for the delicious cookies and i went home with only crumbs on the plate. i’m glad they enjoyed them and even more glad that i have people to bake for. now if only my students would behave they’d get free treats too. but that won’t be happening for a while.

the entirety of the day resulted in the total confiscated items:

6 cellphones
2 pairs of headphones
1 roll of tape
1 flashlight
2 rulers

and 1 drawing of a smiling-shoe-wearing penis and vagina

….pretty successful day i might say.

my confiscated drawing (hehe) and student copy books (which all ukrainian students use)

anyways so yesterday was a magical event of a day. i don’t usually have much in the way of ‘exciting’ things to look forward to living in a village, so the news of my regional manager from peace corps coming was a big deal. i was preeeeeetty excited. i finished my lessons in the morning, and having been told i only had two I was surprised when the 10th form entered waiting for the english lesson…so i had to make their lesson up on the spot lol. but just as i finished my rm (regional manager) called and said he was here. after a hug and a ukrainian cheek kiss, we went to my apartment to talk about things at my site. when he sat down in my spotless room (i cleaned like the queen of england was coming), he said he had gifts for me…though these gifts just turned out to be yet ANOTHER form/test to fill out for peace corps (government organizations always leave a big paper trail) and my pink card (to prove that i’m allowed to work/be here and i don’t get put in jail…i actually really appreciated this gift).

we talked for a little while and he wanted me to give him the low down of what’s bein going on at my site. he filled out some sort of ‘site assessment form’ and made notes to present to my school director. it was soooo so nice to talk to him and clarify on everything. and his english is amazing. so that makes things a billion times easier. after we talked we walked the 3 minute walk over to my school and met with my director. thankfully my rm is on my director’s good side and to my benefit seems to be able to sweet talk and get what he wants from people with ease. it sort of felt like a little mini UN meeting. he proposed what i wanted: my own set of text books so i don’t have to borrow from the students, a classroom to work in after school, and a new lock for my door. and she accepted, agreed to the terms, and promised i could have all of it. it went wooooonderfully. though…knowing ukraine…it could be a while before i see any of those things.

either way i was glad i had oleg to help me and be my (much more precise than i am) translator. we left my director’s office, got in the peace corps car (all the workers have personal drivers, lucky them), and headed off to the next city to go for lunch since there isn’t anywhere in my village to eat/drink. my rm joked around that i was a princess for the day…and honestly that’s what it felt like. this magical white landrover came to my far away village to whisk me away for the day (i even go to ride shotgun). people in my village were certainly curious and one old lady at the bazaar thought for sure he was a secret agent.

it was all seriously so nice. oleg is absolutely hilarious and honestly there for the volunteers he works with. i feel so lucky to work with him. he paid for my lunch (which was just potatoes cause the restaurant didn’t have anything that wasn’t meat lol), told me about all the cool places to travel (and how to make the most of our limited vacation days), tried to help me figure out internet for my apartment (which is too expensive and won’t happen), and carried my big bag of newly purchased produce from the bazaar (all of which cost like $5!!). i did feel like a princess. but sadly my carriage had to continue on to other sites in the region and meet with other volunteers and this cinderella had to get back to her life in the village. so i was dropped off at the dormitories with my bag of food, waved goodbye and told he’d see me again in march.

by the time i got back it was already pretty late and i had yet to grade all my papers or plan four lessons. i went to school where i leave all the students’ workbooks, found a janitor to unlock a room for me and started working. though my peace and quiet didn’t last long of course. i think i was in the room a total of two minutes before students came in to ask for help with homework. which, i’m more than happy to help…but that homework help turned into three hours of tutoring which just further delayed the beginning of lesson planning…hence why i taught the kids all the same lesson today. and also why i’m very glad it’s the weekend.

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