I’m officially done with training! My Language Proficiency Interview on Wednesday went pretty well, it was over before I knew it. It felt kind of anticlimactic, actually, because all of our language classes were in preparation for this interview in Ukrainian, and then it was over in twenty minutes. I think I did alright, but we don’t find out the results until Monday. It seems that all of the mysteries of the Peace Corps universe will be revealed Monday—I found out what my language level is, but more importantly, where my permanent site is! The bus comes to pick us up and take us to Kiev Monday morning, and then the first thing on our schedule after lunch is the Site Placement Announcement. I can hardly wait : ) Then on Tuesday I get to meet my counterpart, who is a Ukrainian person from the site where I’ll be working who speaks English and will be my liason/contact person at my new home. Thursday morning we swear in as official Peace Corps volunteers, and after the ceremony, we depart to our sites with our counterparts and the real journey starts!
So now for a recap of my final days of training: After the LPI (Language Proficiency Interview) we were finished with Ukrainian language lessons, so we had a lot more free time! On Wednesday I went to the city with my host mom, who offered to help me get my favorite pair of boots repaired. There was a chip in one of the heels, and my host mom was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get them fixed on my own. So we went into the city and found the repairman’s shop. And I handed him my boots, and watched as he ripped the heel off my boot in front of my eyes. I felt a little piece of my heart break with those boots… lol. And then, to add insult to injury, he put BLACK heels on to replace the BROWN heels he just ripped off, so now my boots look retarded. My host mom tried to explain that black heels on brown boots don’t look bad, but to me, it clashes. I hope I’m not being too melodramatic here, but those boots were really special to me! Just ask my sister—she stole them and wore them to school one of my last days at home, and I almost killed her : ) Plus, the black heels he put on my boots are a lot taller than the ones he took off, so I’m not sure how comfortable they will be anymore. These boots have been all over the world with me, and I think I’m going to hold a grudge against the repairman who desecrated my once perfect boots.
Onto less tragic highlights of the week… on Thursday morning me and cluster-mates presented our SDLs (I keep forgetting the acronym, but it’s a secondary learning project that we do on our own during training and then show everyone else at the end of training). My SDL was a song set to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and renamed “The 12 Weeks of PST.” I wrote the lyrics in Ukrainian (that was the point of SDL—to learn more Ukrainian on your own, doing something you found fun), and learned how to type in Cyrillic on my laptop. That part was kind of hard, because while I learned how to set my computer onto typing in Cyrillic, I didn’t know where any of the keys were because my keyboard was still labeled in the Latin alphabet. But I really did have fun making this presentation, and I’m posting it here so you can see it too. And since its in Ukrainian, here is quick translation into English for your viewing convenience : )
So first, download this PST Powerpoint and open this Youtube video. (The first one is the powerpoint presentation, and the second one is the music [instrumental version of the twelve days of Christmas] that you should have playing in the background while you go through the slideshow!)
Title Slide: 12 Weeks of PST, by Katya Baus
- On the first week of PST, Andy and Janira got stuck in Washington (they had problems with their visas, so it was just Tammela, Andrew, and I for week 1)
- On the second week of PST, Natalia taught us Ukrainian language (and that is a picture of Natalia—doesn’t she look a lot like Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls?)
- On the third week of PST, we counted brides in Chernihiv (that’s the closest city, where we go on the weekends for Internet. Autumn was a really popular time for weddings, and there were brides everywhere so we made a point of counting them. One day we saw 14!)
- On the fourth week of PST, we wanted to be builders. (This is kind of an inside joke for my cluster… but we really like the Ukrainian word for “builder”—its pronounced “booty-vel-nick.” Try to say that with a straight face—its impossible!)
- On the fifth week of PST, Andrew got his ears wiggled. (This is a Ukrainian tradition, where the person who has a birthday gets his ears wiggled/tugged the number of years he is… don’t worry, Katerina didn’t tug his ears 23 times!)
- On the sixth week of PST, we found a dog and named him Rufus. (I mentioned him before in my blog—he’s the stray dog we love!)
- On the seventh week of PST, the second Natalia said “nastoopa zavdannya” (Our second language trainer, also named Natalia, always said “nastoopa zavdannya,” which means “next exercise,” in class.)
- On the eighth week of PST, we sang “911” (A Ukrainian song that we learned in class that is hilarious!)
- On the ninth week of PST, we organized a Fall Festival. (Pretty self-explanatory.
- On the tenth week of PST, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Natalia (its not a Ukrainian holiday, but Natalia let us cook at her place and celebrated with us anyways : )
- On the eleventh week of PST, Katerina asked “Where are your socks Katya?” (Katerina was always very concerned if I didn’t have socks on, and voiced her concern… often.)
- On the twelfth week of PST, we officially joined the Peace CorpS! (Its an inside joke, because someone pronounced it wrong once, saying “corpS” instead of “corp” [how its really pronounced] so now we make jokes about it all the time : )
The last slide says: Thanks a lot my friends for 12 wonderful weeks!
So that was my SDL project, and I’m glad its finished. My friends had really cool SDL projects too—Tammela taught herself how to write in cursive Cyrillic, and her handwriting is beautiful. Janira learned a Ukrainian song that was really pretty, and Andy translated a Ukrainian fairy tale and read it to us. And Andrew is interested in photography, so he showed us some of his best pictures from training and narrated his presentation in Ukrainian. It was really cool to see how talented all of my friends are : ) I can’t believe I won’t be living with them anymore after this week! Its kind of depressing, so I’m moving onto something else to talk about.
SNOW. We got about a foot this past week, and at first it was pretty. But then the temperature continued to drop, until it was -19 Celsius, which is about -2 Fahrenheit. It was so cold I could feel the boogers freezing to the inside of my nose as I walked to school! (Gross, but true.) The worst part was when the power went out, so one morning I woke up freezing because there was no heat inside. Thankfully, the power came back on later the same day, so we didn’t freeze for long : ) I hope it warms up just a little bit before we move out! On Monday, the bus is picking us up at the post office on the main road of Kolychivka, which is about a 10 minute walk from my house. Normally its an easy walk, but I can’t imagine trying to drag two 50+ pound suitcases through the snow to get there! Plus, my road isn’t paved, so there’s pot holes everywhere which are currently invisible thanks to the snow. And my host dad has a car, but its been broken the last month and is currently in the shop being worked on, so I can’t count on that to help with my luggage. I’m starting to regret bringing so much luggage! Plus, the Peace Corps has given me at least 10 books/manuals for training, and I really have no room for them in my suitcases. So I bought an extra bag at the bazaar, but I have no clue how I’m going to carry that too!
The best part about the end of the training is all the parties! Yesterday we went to Chernihiv to celebrate with our link mates (the other cluster we have class with once a week), and we had a mini-talent show and played games and Michelle from the other cluster cooked for us. It was awesome : ) And this morning in Kolychivka, after I finish this blog post, we’re having a tea party with our host families to thank them for hosting us during training. We’re having tea and eating cookies, and we’ll probably show them pictures we took here in Kolychivka. The Peace Corps also made them certificates with our pictures so they have something to remember us by, so we will present these certificates to them this morning. And I got Anya a picture frame and put a picture of us in it, so I want to give her that today too. I hope she likes it!
The rest of the weekend I’ll be packing, and Monday morning I’ll be in Kiev. I probably won’t get internet access there, so the next blog post I write will be from my new site!!! Please pray that the next week goes well!
All my love,
P.S: Click on the pictures to make them larger!