I hope this blog post finds you all happy and healthy along with enjoying some genuine summer sunshine! I know that I have been dubbed a "terrible blogger" but with the more time I am finding on my hands, I am finding less excuses to not to blog so I will try to make more of an effort. I promise.
Summer began on May 27th, when all of my 11th form students graduated and entered the "real world". I attended their "school leaving" party which consisted of an all night party gathering together all of their teachers, families and friends. We celebrated at a restaurant in Kivertsi with plenty of food, dancing and photos. The party did not subside until early in the morning when three teachers, including myself and all of my students walked to a near-by lake to watch the sunrise. It was truly a touching moment because we do not have such traditions in the United States. I felt honored to be invited and able to participate in such a long standing tradition. To say the least, I enjoyed myself considerably.
The summer pressed on when I was asked to participate in a summer camp called "Camp Rainbow". Everyday, for the next three weeks, I went to school to play games and interact with the kids on a more personal and fun level. I did not conduct lessons but instead attended lessons of my own. I learned many new games that are played often by Ukrainian students. I was also able to interact more with the younger students that I do not get to see in class a.k.a. the 1st-3rd form pupils. I found many friends among the younger folk, making me very excited to see them in the next coming school year. I appreciated this time because I got to expose the inner child in me through endless card games and soccer games.
I had a week off from all the craziness which allowed me just to relax and become a bit productive in preparing for the school year to come. I was also able to brush up on my Ukrainian with tutorials and gatherings with some Ukrainian friends that also live in Kivertsi.
I just got back from a week long venture around Western Ukraine. My friends Laurent, Grace and I went hiking and camping in the Carpathians with some of Laurent's teachers. We hiked to the highest peak, Parashka, in the range nearest to the city of Lviv. We were very fortunate to enjoy a sunny day of hiking before the rain rolled in that night. We hiked for about 7 hours but enjoyed some quality time at the summit, eating glorious food and engaging in some quality conversation. I got a great deal of practice concerning my Ukrainian which, as you all should know, I needed. On the journey back home, we stopped at a few Holy springs and visited an old castle that use to reside in the Carpathians. We sang songs and I was able to hear many stories about their lives and their journeys as individuals. It was a trip I won't forget when I look back on my time spent here.
Tomorrow is the 4th of July and, to be honest, I am feeling a bit nostalgic since I won't be able to spend this notorious holiday with my family on the lake. But I will be spending it with some amazing friends I have made here and there will be new memories to be had. I will also be attending a language refresher camp next week, to brush up on my Ukrainian language skills.
I am counting down the days until I have some wonderful visitors here from the United States. Two of my very best friends, Bradleigh and Hayley will be coming to the beautiful land of Ukraine in August.
I hope you all enjoy your 4th of July with your beloved family and friends!
Much love and happiness to you all!