there have been many a times when ukraine puts me in my place. my attempts at canning, that one time i drank un-boiled tap water, leaving the house in winter without gloves. but never would i have guessed it would be over halloween…a holiday they don’t even celebrate in ukraine*.
*(okay so they do sort of have trick-or-treating. the weekend after easter is spent in the graveyard leaving candy for the deceased. then kids go around and take them from the graves. pretty halloween-ish if you ask me).
today was ‘halloween’ since school fall break falls on the 31st. and while most of my students will probably still be around, i thankfully will not be. so an early halloween it is!
i went into the city today and went to the (closest thing to america) SUPERMARKET. i probably spent a little too much time there in my american oasis and had to rush home and get stuff ready for the party and finish my cookies. and also get my costume together.
as i said yesterday, i’d probably just resort to being a cat for my costume. which is rather boring. and ironic because the day prior some men outside of school cat called me. but not ‘heeeey hottie’ cat call….i mean they literally called me as they would call a cat with the infamous hissy ‘ksss kssss kssss’ noise all ukrainians make to call a cat. first time cat calling ever took on a new meaning for me. maybe they somehow new i’d dress as a cat the next day.
i got to school (thankfully not passing any cat calling men) an hour early to set up which is good because almost all my kids came a half hour early. they were pretty excited. they all came dressed as adorable little zombies and vampires. one boy’s awesome plastic black garbage bag cape made my cat costume feel pretty lame. especially since one of my ears kept sliding off.
not only did they show me up on my costume but my pumpkin too. oh the shame!! that pumpkin certainly wasn’t the finest craftsmanship i’ve done but with only a giant knife i thought ‘hey not too bad!’. i wasn’t sure what their pumpkins would turn out like if that’s what mine looked like and i have 25 years of halloweens behind me.
but pumpkins on display — mine was the worst. ha! so much for experience! it reminded me of the christmas party my architect father built a house with a collapsing roof rather than the edible masterpiece people expected. i felt schooled. but of course none of that matters. i was so happy that they schooled me at my own holiday and had SO much fun at it. so even if my american powers are glowing dimmer as my time continues here and my halloween skills are feeling the effects, seeing my students enjoy celebrating a holiday they don’t get to made up for it.
when i had finished cleaning up i began my bike back home. on my way i passed two of my vampires and zombies walking. as i approached i could hear them talking about the party and laughing, garbage bag cape waving in the wind, little american flag i gave as a prize in hand. i said ‘happy halloween!’ as i passed and they did too. i thought of how i wished they could celebrate like this every year. how i’m sure they wish it was a national celebration. but maybe they can start their own halloween underground movement. they’ve certainly got a few things down better than me ; )