So it was another eventful day. We trooped over to the school, which is terrifically close to my host family's house. We got a tour of the school in English from some students, one of which is Curly's hostsister. We also got to poke our heads in some classes, and I got a wave from the twins. One of my clustermates, Harmony, caused a bit of a stir. She's a true blue Brooklyn-Eric, and is African American. Sine there is about zero pro cent racial diversity in terms of skin tone here, she soon attracted a gaggle of children. I have already been told I look Ukrainian ( which is sure to come with its own set of problems) but in a culture where individuality has long been considered a dangerous and undesirable trait, I would not want to trade her places and have much respect for her.
We also heard from some teachers - including Leanne's friend I met at dinner. We got a better idea of the functionality of the Ukrainian school system in practice .... And we thought we had budget issues! At least we Have a budget back home...here it is beg from parents! We also found out that soon it is (just reread this...clearly my syntax is already off!) a special holiday to celebrate teachers. A whole day of pampering! They come to school and get their hair cut, students do their nails, parents bring chocolate and nummy food for lunch. Meanwhile the top two forms take over teaching, which is probably to Really guarantee they get an understanding of how thankful they should be!!! We, alas, will probably not get to see this in practice, but it is a pretty cool concept!
Washing my Rainboots
So, I had heard about how fastidious Ukrainians are about keeping their shoes nice (they use portable baby wipes to clean them off as they enter buildings, for example) and this had given me pause in my contemplation of whether or not rainboots are exempt. I reasoned that since they are constantly getting dirty and stay in the mudroom, surely they don't require the same constant vigilance. I was wrong. Last night, as I went out to meet Curly on her way to my house to study, Leanne drew my attention to a demonstration of how to properly clean ones boots (/maybe all shoes???). They keep a basin the tub, and you place your shoes in it and use a sponge kept specially by the sink for this purpose. (I don't know what the other two larger sponges in the tub are for yet, and undoubtedly my language teacher, Sparta, would say "ask ask ask!" - but one day at a time!) thus, armed with the knowledge, I told her I would do it after I walked Curly home and she was satisfied. I did indeed wash my boots, and it was a mostly unremarkable experience.
Now, that's not a particularly exciting story, so I'm glad to say there is more. I discovered that there is also a second, equally important step in this process as I headed out the door today. It hinges on the fact that Rainboots are just as watertight on the inside as out...and splooshed my right foot as I made this observation. Had a good little puddle going on! Clearly I am not as competent as I'd like to think, and I am quite glad there were no witnesses!!
My Amazing Host Family
I will admit I was initially a little concerned that I was the only one not getting a tried-and-true host family, but I feel I have really lucked out. Tonight I spent HOURS studying with Leanne...she doublechecked my homework, and corrected some pronunciation: which was particularly helpful as I found out I was saying the verb "to sleep" as "prostitute" (also impressive as it does not have a verb action ending...). Which makes me think Sparta must be one hell of a poker player!! Additionally, between sleep and prostitute, I managed to also hit upon "to spit", so this could prove problematic.
She is also working on her English, so we joked that in 3 months we will just have our own hybrid language, instead of surjek (Russian/Ukrainian). And, of course, the children are already so dear that I'd throw myself at a bus for them. Slippery things, children...they slip so easily into your heart!
Anyhow, going to try to FaceTime with , my mom.
Hope all is well,