20 April 2006

a more robust update


In Kyiv. In the sun. Gotta say, Kyiv is a much different city in the
sun than it is in the snow. Don't get me wrong. The snow is beautiful.
But as all y'all who spent some good portion of your lives in the
midwest/northern plains/east/anywhere besides bila okeana, the snow is
beautiful til you gotta do something in it. Til you live in it for a
few days. Then it gets to be "that g-d snow" instead of just "snow."

We're hopefully headed to our old host family in P-town for Easter.
Got some meetings and stuff to handle in Kyiv with PC. Site
reassignment. For those of you who havent been in semi-constant
contact with us, I'll break it down real quick. Our sites, while
consiting of a number of wonderful people and unbelievable students,
was unable to procure us an apartment to live in for two years.
Despite some pleasant nudging, later turning into threats to take us
out of site, our sites could not find us a place to live. No
apartment, no teachers. Really, really sad for the kids because our
coordinators and directors didn't think we'd seriously leave. Even as
we were closing down our bank accounts, getting the notary to make up
some new rules so we could get our packages at the post office that
are still coming, people were still saying, "Oh, you'll be back in a
few weeks when we find something." Well, my sites were. Karen's
director couldn't be bothered to find an apartment, yet he quickly
found us a taxi back to Kyiv. My sites will probably be getting
volunteers again. We helped pave the way for a stronger relationship
between S-town and PC. Karen's site...I don't know.

So, there wasn't ever a safety concern for us there. Nothing more
serious than a lack of commitment to us. So now we will talk about a
new site tomorrow. As we speak Ukrainian--pretty well, I'd say, for
only studying six months--they're leaning towards the West, if they
can. We'll be coming in at the end of the semester, so we might not be
teaching til next semester, which is rough. We love teaching. I really
come alive in the classroom--in front of a class or with a pen in my
had are the times I really feel like I've tapped into some secret
energy from the Earth.

Leaving, I had, at each of my sites, all of my students in one room.
Then I had to break the news to then. Then cried. I cried. My
coordinators cried. I told then have much I did to get here. How long
I waited, how excited I was, and how crushed I was that I couldn't
stay. Crushed. Then, to watch them all run out to the front of the
school, crying and waving. Makes you feel all good and all bad and all
at the same damn time. Alive and dead.

Staying at a hotel in Kyiv currently. Taking the Metro back and forth.
Always fun. Buying fresh, poppy-seeded breadfrom the street vendors.
Taking in the ancient landscape heavily salted with modernity.
Standing on the escalator, hand on the thick, black rubber band that
serves as the handrail, my feet on the metal, moving steps, I find
that the handrail moves faster than the steps. So, if you lean on it,
your arm will eventually pull forward and you'll be leaning at a weird
angle. And that's kinda how it is here. Only the world Ukraine proper
so desperately wants to be a part of is the handrail.

And Ukraine itself is the steps.

Our Ukraine WebBlog: http://klukraine.blogspot.com

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