Sorry I haven't written until now, but life has been really busy. I flew from O'hare International Airport to Frankfurt, Germany on August 30, 2010 making friends in the terminals and on flights. I arrived in Kiev on September 1, 2010. Pastor Vladimir picked me and Emily (fellow missionary) at the Borispol Airport and drove us to Bucha, Ukraine where we would be staying for the next few days. None of the missionaries new exactly where they would be staying or working so we just chilled and saw the city with Elena, our manager. Emily, Mark, April and I, had fun being completely lost as to what was being said and I tried to memorize every detail of my new life. I rode the Kiev Metro (my first metro ride), saw main street (Kryeshatik), and stared blankly at Ukrainian signs.
After a few days of adjustments to food and time zones we had orientation, meeting our colleagues at English Language and learning how to teach. My first Sabbath, I met Wayne, an Ukrainian enthused by all things American. We made our way to the 20th Church (SDA Church in Kiev) where I met the McCoy family. Virgil, Kim and their 13 year old son, Garret are from Collegedale, TN and have the accents to prove it. This cute little family is starting their third year as missionaries in Kiev. It is really nice to have people to share "Are you kidding me?" stories with.
Soon we found out who would be going to which city (Mark to Kharkov, Emily to Dnepropetrovsk, April to Lviv, and I would stay in Kiev, YES!). A few days later Charlie (another missionary who recently graduated from Walla Walla Univeristy) came from Idaho. He surprised everyone with his fiery facial hair and height but quickly showed what a cool cat he really is. While he was acclimating, Kim and I had our first Friday night at Academistecho (the branch of ELC I work in). Our Friday night meetings aim to build friendships with non-Christians and talk about life and the Bible. I really enjoyed drawing the thoughts out of my new friends. Charlie and I continue to sing, play guitar, and teach each Friday night with attendance leveling out at about 25 er so people. We had to split the group because we don't all fit in one classroom.
On the following Monday I had my first class. Honestly, I was a bit terrified. The idea of me, a student, teaching complete strangers (most of which are older and more educated than me) another language sounded as exciting as having an hour and half long presentation 3 times everyday. But quickly, it proved to be fun and natural to speak with my new students. It was very interesting to hear each person's reasons for joining our classes. Each reason was unique and fell into one of three categories: work, school, or and just a genuine desire to learn a new language. I have 7 er so classes, 3a, 3A-2, 3B, 2B, a private 5B class on Sundays, and my Children's class at Academ, and a recently added Children's class in Livoberjzna ( I had 2 other business classes but switched with another teacher). I usually have 3 classes oer day and one extra class per day where we talk about whatever I want (mwahaha). My students love me (some a little too much). Work has been fun and I am enjoying it. :)
So far, life has been really new here. Each day I do something that I have never done. We work all days but Saturday but it is my busiest day. I live with my manager Elena and one of our grammar teacher named Marina. They are both lovely and crazy girls that I love coming home to and seeing crazy shenanigans. It takes about thirty minutes by marchurkta (small yellow bus) to get to Academ where I take the metro forty minutes to the second to last stop on the red line and go to church. We do A LOT of walking here. Since I came my pants are looser ( a combination of vegetables, soup, walking, and no clothes dryer). I bought a fall coat, shoes, and a few other necessities.. like 40 den stockings (thickly woven for winter). If you are a girl, you can't sit on anything remotely cold. You will catch a cold, become infertile and die. People address each other as Man (mashina), woman (jenshina), girl (dyevochka), and boy (malchik). However, if you call a woman a woman, she will be mad at you for pointing out that she is no longer a spring chicken, but in fact, a grown up. The only safe thing to do is to call all females 'dyevochka'. This is one of the few words that I know (It usually starts all conversations between Ukrainians and I, conversations that I usually finish with " Yes; No; I don't know; or I don't understand.")
Today I found the time to write because I stayed home with Bronchitis. On Friday I had my first doctor's visit outside of the United States. Elena and I went to the public clinic where we waited in a beige room with a heavily beaten carpet. It was a little bit of a shock how simple the whole clinic was, but it felt good to get a prescription (seven prescriptions really) to get this junk out of my lungs and on to a happier healthier day. One X-ray, one blood test (they used a razor, A RAZOR! it came from a pack though so its clean) to prick my finger, and 2 or three more moves from one doctor's office to the next. After I went to work. My students gave me Kleenex and kept a safe distance from me (rightly so) during the class.
So. How has life been back in the US, or wherever you are reading this from? I haven't seen the news much or skyped often with many of you, but if you have had something interesting happen: starting school, jobs, life in general etc, tell me about it. I am about as far out of the loop as you can get geographically and socially so give me a condensed version of what important things have been happening in your life. Thanks for reading and I will do my very best to write at least once every week or two. You can send me emails at firstname.lastname@example.org, but please, don't spam me, try and sell something, harass, send chain emails, or tell me to go to your page cause your a lonely teen girl and that you want me to look at your pictures. I won't do it and you will promptly take up residence in my junk email folder. Alright, have a good rest of the day and God Bless! :)
P.S- If you would like to send me a package or letter, here is the ELC Main Office address:
4A Kutuzova Ln Office# 0106
Kiev, 01011 Ukraine
Some of the things that we don't have in Ukraine are:
Peanut butter, chocolate chips, brown sugar, marshmallows, barbecue sauce, flea collars, orbit gum in the traditional pack (i love sweetmint.. hint hint), oreos, ban deoderant, nyquil, my family, hot coco packets, leather-bound Russian/English parallel Bibles, and american candy like Hershey's or Reese's. Yes I am aware that these are mostly food items, but that is missed most. If I think of anything else I'll let you know. :)