Catching Up with December

Peace Corps / Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

A few updates which I think should be shared.

First, I spent my weekend working at Camp Excite (our regional English language camp which we work on weekends and for a week during the summer). As seems it is the growing trend this year, we played dodge ball. I was nervous playing because I haven’t done any physical activity on my knee since I saw the doctor a month ago and I was afraid to find out if my knee hadn’t healed yet.

After a healthy game of dodge ball, and some other running games, I went to sleep with an uneasy feeling in my knee. I woke up, however, feeling fine. It seems that my knee has healed. I don’t plan on pushing it just yet, but instead I’ll wait until the Spring rolls around.

To further my physical activity, I found out that I will be dancing with the teachers on Saturday as a small part of the Winter Ball at my school. We have a choreographed dance–I’m not sure what the style is–and we’re practicing this week. I was also told that we’ll be on television. If I find the link with me dancing, I’ll make sure to post it here.

I have a rule in my country studies class I have every Friday, the last lesson of the day (when it isn’t cancelled). More often than not, the kids would rather be somewhere else. Their minds are on the weekend. I foresaw this and proposed a rule the first day of class. I knew their phones would be ringing as their friends got out of class, so I made a deal. If their phones ring in class, I get to answer it. To seal the deal, if my phone rings in class, I’ll pass if off to someone to answer it.

Thus far, my phone hasn’t rang yet. But if it had, I would gladly have handed it over for someone to answer. More importantly, the students have received many phone calls–as I suspected. The problem is, when they hear it ring, their natural reaction is to silence it. I haven’t gotten to answer one yet. I came the closest this past weekend. But still no dice.

The best part is, is that the teacher in charge of the class love this policy. She usually sits in the back and works on other things while I conduct class. But she perks up when the phones ring. She’s started cheering me on, hoping that I get to answer.

That, my friends, is sharing cultural knowledge from the American classroom to the Ukrainian classroom.

Finally, when I was writing my bi-weekly newsletter the last time around. I started thinking about how often I write about drinking in them. Sure, it’s part of the culture here to an extent, but there is a line somewhere.

I spent the month of November working on being a better man but I failed to acknowledge some key aspects of my life that could use some work, namely where drinking is involved. I am not suggesting that I think I’m an alcoholic. I assure you, I’m not. I am suggesting that when I have a reason to celebrate, I can let things get out of hand. A drink too much here and there ends up causing problems.

My new path towards being a better man is to start controlling my vices. I’m not going to cut them out completely because I don’t think they’re completely out of control. I’m just going to cut back.

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