I finally have some good news to share : )
First of all, in the midst of changing my blog layout to a holiday theme, and uploading all the blog posts I’d written but hadn’t posted yet, my blog received its 5000th view! That’s pretty impressive for a year of blogging, thanks to all of you who read my posts regularly, despite my weeks of tardiness and my days of massive blog updates : ) Knowing people read my blog gives me the motivation to keep writing posts, so thanks for the incentive!
Also, I can finally say that it’s official. I WILL be home for Christmas, because I finally found a flight and bought a ticket! A huge thanks goes out to my Mom for helping me stay on top of price changes, and for helping me make up my mind as to which flight I wanted and which days I would be home. I was so stressed about not finding a decently priced flight, so thanks for bearing with me Mama! : ) I know it stressed you out too, and I’m so thankful for your patience and help.
In addition to being home for Christmas, I will also be home for New Years (and a New Years Eve wedding with my dear friend Emily!), a road trip to South Carolina, and for my brother’s graduation from boot camp! Its shaping up to be a quite a busy two weeks, but the good news is I should have time to see everyone on this trip. When I was in Chicago in August, I was only there for a long weekend and didn’t get to see everyone I would’ve liked to. This time I’m really looking forward to being HOME and seeing everyone from Ohio! I’ll be there from December 23rd to January 2nd, so let me know when you want to hang out. I won’t have an American cell phone, so either email me or call my Mom or sister. I’m sure they’ll help you get ahold of me : )
In other positive news, my grant is fully underway. After a few successful meetings with the director of my school and our English teachers, we’ve determined that we will write a grant for an English Resource and Technology Center. The money we raise will go towards buying a computer, speakers, a projector, and a white board (the technology), as well as resources such as English textbooks and teachers’ guides in order to create a modern, up to date classroom where our students can use technology and better English language resources to improve their study of English. The teachers are getting really excited about it, and the director has promised her full support of the endeavor.
Our 10th and 11th grades don’t even have textbooks (we teach our lessons with copies made of one book, and at a normal lesson only 50% of the students have a copy of the material we’re teaching), so this grant will do wonders for these students. Our other grades have textbooks, but of such poor quality that you can hardly be surprised at our students’ low level of English. When I first came to Sokyriany, my counterpart asked me to correct the errors in one of the poorer textbooks. It took me three weeks of intensive reading and correcting, and when I finally finished, it turned out that not one page of the book was error-free. So I’m really looking forward to buying decent textbooks, and seeing how much they improve our English curriculum.
This is where you come in—if reading about my school and my students here in Ukraine has touched you in any way, or if the holiday season has put you in a generous Christmas spirit, please consider donating money to our grant. We’re trying to raise $3000, 25% of which comes directly from Sokyriany and from our fundraising efforts. The other 75% will come from American supporters, and every dollar counts! As soon as the grant is approved by Peace Corps, it will be posted online on the Peace Corps website and you can donate money there. As soon as this happens, I will share the link with you. For now, just consider helping us out and I will keep you posted! : )
That’s all I have for now… let the countdown officially commence! 20 days till I’m HOME!