Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 127? - Barbeque, Flash Mob, Souvenir Street

Last night after FHE, Olia invited me to the International School's Barbecue today. We met up at about 12:45 and made our way there. I was expecting kind of a smallish school picnic, but it was HUGE! The school is really nice and they had caterers there with food from sushi to pizza. I really didn't feel like I was in Ukraine while I was there. There were people speaking English and German and Chinese and any number of other languages. It was really neat to be able to communicate with anyone and everyone around! I talked with people in line, I talked with people at the tables we stood at, I talked with people at the booths we went to... all in English! I think that's one thing I'm excited about in coming back home, being able to communicate and talk with anybody I please :) Katya gave us a heads-up about a flash mob that the kids had been practicing for, so we stayed around until 3:30, when all the kids danced to this fun song as a sort of present to the teachers. It was all a ton of fun to watch, and I got some of it on video! Maybe (someday) I'll post it! 

After the picnic/ barbeque/ party, we decided to make our way to Souvenir Street. It was so fun walking and talking and looking at all the paintings and trinkets and toys and decorations and clothes and tablecloths and everything that we found on that Souvenir Street. We were going to stay around until 9:30 for a 3D lazer light show (or something like that) but we were pooped by then. So we made our way to our various destinations home and I spent basically the rest of the night packing and cleaning and getting ready to go for leaving on Wednesday. There's so much to do!! 

(PS I've got a LOT of days to fill you in on from these past couple of weeks, but I haven't time to do that now, I will try to have everything updated soonish though!)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 119 - Angry Lady on the Stairs

At the beginning of this semester, I took this big old suitcase of supplies to the school I work at, and today I decided I should probably roll the empty suitcase back home. Rolling it over the sidewalks was way easier this time (before I had to roll a full suitcase over ice and snow. Now all I had to avoid were potholes and the occasional puddle). Carrying it up the stairs out of the metro though, I must have accidentally bumped this old lady, because she got SO mad at me about something. I can laugh about it now, but at the moment I was just scared. I said, "Izvinitye", but she just kept yelling whatever it was that she was yelling (sometimes I'm glad I can't understand these people :P). All I could do was walk faster and hope that all would be well. It was, I just hope that lady finds something happier about her day than me possibly causing her to fall down the stairs to her death (which is about what I imagine she was telling me :P). Anyways, I'm glad I didn't make her die, and I'm glad I finally got that suitcase home :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 116 - Pipe-Cleaner Hats and a Long Walk Home


We had fun with pipe-cleaners at school today :) Then after school I decided to walk home (for reals this time). I went down towards the highway and found out that it's ACTually the start of this supposedly famous row of trees that goes right down the highway. I walked down the sidewalk that goes right between them all the way to the end, which is conveniently right in the right direction to the apartment! Here's some pictures, enjoy!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 115 - Not getting lost

I decided to try walking home from school last Saturday (School was fun! We had a party-day because it was our sixth day of school that week :P). I ended up getting quite lost, but I found some pretty cool sights! I don't know what the statue is below, but that was pretty cool, and right next to it was this big old park/ cemetary that I walked past. I forgot to take very many pictures, but here's a couple of the things I saw! In the end, I hopped on a city bus that took me right back to my home metro station :) That's one thing that I've realized; I'm never really lost in this city of Kyiv. All I've got to do is find my way to a Metro and vuala! I'm basically home already :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 112 - Monopolia with Julia

Last Thursday, Julia got a new game from her Mom; Monopolia! Ha we tried playing by the rules, but between me not knowing what anything meant (it was all in Russian) and playing with a seven year old, I'm pretty sure we didn't get it all right. Anyways it was fun though, I practiced a ton of Russian, and I think Julia learned some new words in English :). AND I found out that a rule we were playing by on Tuesday in Monopolia was the complete opposite. (On the Chance card, when the beginning of a word had the Russian letter "p", we decided it meant you had to PAY the amount given. It actually means you get that much!) So that's why I was going SO into debt! :P

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 110 - Rainy Day Games in Ukraine

I walked out of the temple today to this HUGE downpour of rain accompanied by some awesome lightning and thunder :) I only had on a t-shirt and a skirt/ shorts, and I did not feel like walking all the way home in the cold and wet :P So me and Larissa decided to wait it out over at the patron housing place just right next to the temple. We found this sort of game-room and looked at some games they had... Scrabble! We talked about how horrible we are at that game, but then we realized it was actually RUSSIAN scrabble :D We decided to take on the challenge, and it was a blast! Soon we were making rules like the "P" could be either be read "Rrr" (like in Russian) OR "Puh" (like in English) and it had to sound like a real word in any language. We forgot the second rule after a while and just made up our own words to go on the board. After a while, some of the people from Romania came upstairs into the game room too. One knew English pretty well, and we all decided to play Russian Monopoly :D It was SO much fun! None of us knew what anything really said but we made our own rules about it all. It ended up being a ton of fun and I ended up not doing so bad! (After going deeply into mortgage and then FINALLY landing on the win-all-the-money-in-the-middle-of-the-board space :) ). Anyways soon we had to go, but it was all a ton of fun! When we walked out of the patron housing, the sun was setting and all the rain had stopped, so the clouds were all pink and purple and grey, right next to the temple; it was a gorgeous sight!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 109 - Haircut!

Just kidding, it was only a trim to get all those dead ends off, but it was still exciting to go into a Ukrainian salon all by myself and just hope for the best! The lady cutting my hair knew enough English to ask some simple questions in English, but I'm not sure she understood everything of my answers. "Where are you from?"... "How long have you been in Ukraine?" "What are you here for?" The typical ask-a-foreigner sort of questions :) I enjoyed telling her a five minute run-down of my life's story while she clipped my hair up to focus on the first layer of hair. I made sure to tell her in a few different ways, "I only want a trim... OCHEN choot choot (Very little)" Heh I was so concerned that she might misinterpret and cut like five inches off or something. But she didn't, the lady seemed really nice and even related to me of a few of her friends that live in Chicago (or somewhere like that). Anyways, I came out of the salon looking basically the same as when I walked in (just with cleaner ends to my hair), so I was pretty happy about that. It cost me 40 grivna (maybe 5 dollars) for the hair trim, and then another 35 grivna (like 3 dollars) for something else.. maybe layers? Anyways I thought it was a decent price.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 107 - Flea with Gold-Shod Shoes

We went to the Lavra again today! I got to see some cool things again, and some stuff that I totally missed out on before. (A different set of caves for the Saintly Priests, the Micro-miniature museum, the plants and flowers that're all in bloom, and an Orthodox Service (first one I've been to!) Here's a few pictures:


 These are just SOME of the things that were on display at the micro-miniature museum. If you look close, you can see the little gold shoes on that flea... weird.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 106 - May the fourth... be with you! :D

In honor of May the Fourth, me and Maddy educated the kids today on the importance of Star Wars in the American culture :) We made light-sabers and watched a short clip from the original Star Wars movies. It was great :) Here's some pictures of us with us with our light sabers!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 102 - Old Town Village Museum


I got my first sunburn of the year on Monday!! :D My Summer can now officially start! :) We (about 20 of us) ILPs were out in the sun for about three to four hours. We saw this whole series of houses that they took from all over Kyiv and preserved there in this huge outside museum! We had to travel quite a ways to get there, but we DID finally make it! There were a lot of really nice and helpful people that we met on the way, and on our way out too! Like these two girls and a guy with a baseball cap that I met on the way in, it was fun to hear their stories and how they came to learn their English :) Anyways here's some pictures of the place, I definitely recommend it as a fabulous experience to have in Kyiv, just make sure to go on a nice day and BRING SUNSCREEN!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 100 - Mexican Night!

We went to a Mexican food restaurant this night called the Taquila House. I had a budget of about 40 grivna (About $4.50), but found that most everything on the menu was about 120 ($15) and up. I wasn't too hungry, so I just mooched maybe 10 chips from Mallory's nacho plate (which cost her about 140 grivna) and paid her the 40 grivna that I had budgeted for myself. So I have to say, the place is pretty pricy, but if you've just GOT to go out for some Mexican, the food wasn't bad.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 99 - Hedgehogs: Just the cherry on top!

After FHE, a group of us decided to get some ice-cream. We walked over toward Maidan Square; It was ALL lit up and so beautiful! I took some pictures (which I'll have to post later!), but it's definitely better to see it all in person (plus night shots on my camera don't always work out so well :P). There was this big fountain show by Kreshyatik, which a ton of people were all standing around and watching. We just walked by with our ice-creams, but even from across the street it was pretty amazing! We headed toward the Rainbow Arch over by the Dnipro River, but then took the left route up to this big pavilion sort of thing that was overlooking the river. There was this guy throwing fire there, and we watched for a while. It was nice just looking over the city and lights and cars and their reflections in the water. We talked and enjoyed the atmosphere, but all too soon we decided it was probably time to start heading back (some of them had an hour plus of time to commute back home).

As we walked down the sidewalk back down the hill, we saw this little round creature skittering across our path. At first I thought it was an abnormally round rat, but after closer examination, I realized it was a hedgehog! I just had to get a picture of it, so I did. But right as the flash for my camera lit up the night, that little hedgehog just froze. The others came up and were super entertained by it's complete immobility. Poor little guy, I was sure he was going to just keel over and die of a heart attack. Did you know hedgehogs could growl? While we were watching it, this big boom came from behind us! A couple of us jumped (me included) and turned around to realize there were fireworks going off somewhere past the Rainbow Arch across the way. We finally left the little hedgehog alone though and moved on. We walked over to the cement railing to get a better view of the fireworks, and right there just walking on his way, was another hedgehog. He was walking right up against the railing at the edge of the sidewalk; so cute! We only took a couple pictures of this one, then let it be. But what a life for those hedgehogs, finding ways to live in a park in the middle of a city like Kyiv, I wander how they do it? Those are some tough little critters for sure :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 98 - Sidewalk Chalk!

We went to the park again today! This time we brought a frisbee and some sidewalk chalk. For the most part, we just sat at the fountain and enjoyed talking and basking in the sunlight. We got some icecream and people watched, and we sat and talked some more. It was a super chill atmosphere, and I really enjoyed it. Once the sun started setting in the sky, we were going to head out, but decided it would be fun to find a good chunk of sidewalk to decorate with our chalk. We walked a ways from the park over to this long sidewalk that runs right between the street and has a bunch of trees lining that. At first, we were pretty cautious about drawing on the sidewalk, we didn't know how people walking by would react. But then we got super into it, and I began to feel like a true artist. There were a few people that paused to appreciate it, and even kid and a babushka that came and traced their feet with the chalk. It was really fun just drawing and writing and expressing ourselves on the cement. We took pictures, but not on my camera, so once I get those I'll post them up so you can see :) My hands and hoodie and pants were covered with chalk by the end, but it was totally worth it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 94 - Frisbee Man with the Bunny Rabbit Teeth

We had church at a different place today because of Stake Conference, so we afterwards a small group of us decided to go to the park, because it was a pretty nice day outside. There were a lot of cool things happening in the park that day; a bunch of boys maybe around 12 to 13 years old all with yo-yo's just yo-yoing to some music on a stage, little kids on Shetland pony rides, those little electric cars driving by on the sidewalk, bubbles, scooters, roller-blades, weird looking bicycles, a ton of little dogs... it was just a really neat atmosphere. And the kids! I don't think I've seen so many Ukrainian children in one place in my whole entire time being here! You only rarely see a kid with his mom on the metro or the street or market, but here they were just everywhere! Riding the ponies, doing all of those things I mentioned earlier.

We went and sat on these two benches that were pulled up parallel to each other and sat staggered so our feet were on the bench across from us. This old babushka started yelling at us, "Dyevuchka!" (A name I'm very used to being called here in Kyiv) Igor translated later, he said the lady said something like "What are you doing? You're putting your disgusting feet on the place that people sit!" She did finally leave when all of us took our feet down. When the coast was clear, we put our feet back up on the benches (we're such rebels!) and just kept talking.

We met some other cool people too, then there was this guy selling frisbees on the bench across the sidewalk from us. I was wandering if they were any sort of special frisbee, because my dad loves frisbees, and it would be neat to bring him one back from Ukraine. Our Ukrainian friend went and asked, they were just normal frisbees made in China. Later while we were talking I noticed the frisbee-man throwing his frisbee up and catching it. I told the others, "That guy is a salesman who knows what he's doing!" Carly said, "Oh he just looks like an old guy playing with a frisbee!" But he saw us watching him, and once he started talking to us, I knew we were in for a shpeel (sp?). He found out we were American and connected something in his book to that fact, though it was hard to understand completely because everything had to be translated through our friend. He told us all about it, really enthusiastically, but I just enjoyed watching him talk. He had the worst teeth! It seemed all of them were rotted down except his two front teeth, which were really long. It gave him an almost rabbit-like appearance, which sort of added to his effect as a salesman. He said if one of us went really far he'd show us something neat. He just threw his frisbee really hard, but explained that it was really good exercise. He connected that to his book too. Anyways, after his shpeel he asked me if I wanted to buy a book, I said "Maybe tomorrow, I have no money today". He walked away after that :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 93 - Catacombs and Candles

Saturday, April 21, 2012

After the service project in the morning, I decided to go hang out with some ILP's who were going to the Lavra. I think this is my second time going now, but I still haven't seen half of all of it. I DID get to see the catacombs this time though, and that was... an experience :). We waited in this big long line where people filed in and through the catacombs. We didn't have to wait long, but when we got to the front desk, this lady tiredly yelled at us about something (it seemed like she was having a loong day). We were all confused, but someone translated enough for us to know that us girls needed to cover our heads. I think it is really important to the people for some reason that the girls do cover their heads, though I haven't really learned why (except a little from Tevia from Fiddler on the roof). This place we went to is a pretty sacred place for some people, and to them, it's respectful that the girls wear something over their heads when they're in those sorts of sacred places. Some of us didn't have anything to cover our heads though, so we had to get creative. Carly wore the wool-scarf I had stashed in my purse, and Hannah wore her extra cardigan over her head. Anyways we went down this really narrow hallway that we could only fit through single-file. Most everyone in front and behind us had candles that were basically our only light source for most of it. There were a lot of candles in the rooms though, so it was pretty well lit. Honestly, I didn't like being down there, it was too claustrophobic for me, and I didn't like the idea of these corpses just sitting right in front of me; even if they were holy people that once lived in those bodies. I think people really do find some sort of peace and comfort from the whole experience, but I was so worried about air-ventilation and the fear of getting stuck down there in those cramped rooms that I didn't really get that. I think if I had more knowledge, understanding and respect for the place it would have been a little bit different of a story. Mostly I can say it was pretty neat, and definitely and experience to be had. But for me, it's probably not somewhere I'll be returning again and again just for fun :P.

Day 93 - Helping Hands in a Kyiv Orphanage

My FHE group got to go to an orphanage this morning to volunteer! We were all divided up into different projects; some of us moved wood and branches off of the property, some cleaned up trash outside or planted flowers, some cleaned floors and held the babies. I was assigned to painting the windowsills and doorways in and going to the laundry room. We all got to wear these nifty "Helping Hands" jerseys to; on the back is written "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" (except in Russian or maybe Ukrainian?). We all looked so shnazy in our little jerseys! I felt SO cool being able to represent the Church in that way!  I'll post some pictures later (most likely stolen off facebook, because I only got one or two pictures of the whole event :P). Anyways, it was really a good experience for me for painting too. I didn't think it would be so hard, but I learned real quickly that painting is not something that comes easily or naturally to me. By the end I had paint on my pants, my shirt, my elbow, my hands, the bottom of my shoes, and some in my hair too! I got most of the easy-to-get-out spots cleaned up (like my shoes and shirt), but I have yet to fully scratch the paint off of my jeans and elbow :P. It was fun getting to know some of the others that I hadn't met before too, there are a LOT more people that speak English in my FHE than I thought! We all had a really great experience there, and I'm so glad I was given that opportunity, definitely a recommended experience if you're ever in Kyiv :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 92 - Dress Up!

We originally started to dress up as "what we want to be when we grow up", but we got a little crazy :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 89 - I love the Rain!

SUCH a beautiful day! Maybe not sunshiny, but it was warm enough to rain! School was normal, home was normal, the Metro rides were normal, but my day slowly progressed somehow to become something great! I had been debating (strongly) about not going to the temple today. Earlier I just didn't feel like it, and I tried to excuse myself by saying I'd be going this Saturday with my Branch. But I am so glad I went! There were all these older Ukrainian people, so they didn't speak more than pretty basic English. It was alright though, because it gave me opportunity to really meditate and think about the things I want to do better in my life. By the time I had to go, I didn't want to! I walked outside to the now-running fountains and brand-new bright yellow flowers. It was just too beautiful, I didn't want it to end! I sat there for a while, but finally decided I should probably be heading to institute soon (I've missed it just about every other week that I've been here :P). I sang out loud the whole entire way to the bus stop. I waited for my bus to come and could help but half-way dancing to the music in my head. I just felt so happy! I saw some Elder missionaries and THEN I ran into Anetta and Julia (the family I go see on the weeks I skip out on institute), they were headed to the church building! I wished them a good day, and they wished me the same. I told them that now it would be, now that I had run into them :) It really did make my day to see them. Anyways, bus ride, metro ride, walking a ways, I ran into Igor too! I finally made it to institute. We talked about Jeremiah, about how God knows him, how He knows each of us. He knows me better than I know me! Those aren't just empty words either, I really believe it! And logically, if He knows me best, who better to receive help from than Him? Anyways, a group of us stayed around to play and sing on the piano until the guy came and said he had to lock up the building (Ana, my new Ukrainian friend from last week was one of us :) ). I walked home in a downpour of rain. I couldn't help but smiling the whole way. This random other girl walking the opposite way was smiling too, and we both laughed as we crossed paths. It was really a fabulous day :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 85-86 - Walking it off

Lena and Sasha's friend, Vicki, came over for dinner last night, which meant we ate a lot of food and a LOT of little desserts. When I went to the head-teachers' apartment for a girl's night, we ate chips, wafers, cookies, brownie bites, kiwis, chocolate, popcorn, and probably a few other things that I can't remember now. Needless to say none of us got to sleep until after about 2 in the morning. I slept pretty well (especially in comparison to the last time I slept there!), but woke up this morning feeling pretty gross. So on my way home, at first I decided to just take a longer route so I'd walk a little bit more. But it was such a nice day out, and I  felt like I needed the exercise, so I ended up walking for just over an hour (about 3 miles) before I finally made it home. Absolutely beautiful day though! Oh and I made my way back by following the trolly-line that leads the trolly I should have taken back home, that's how I didn't get lost! It wasn't super efficient, since the trolly sort of loops around and doesn't take me directly back. But the point was the enjoyment of my morning and to make it back home eventually, not efficiency, so I really didn't mind.