For the next week, I’ll be wandering around Ukraine with my sister. She booked a trip a couple of months back and this past Wednesday, she arrived in Kiev. We’ve spent the past couple days in Konotop.
I showed her around the city and made sure she saw all the major monuments. We even tried our hands at shoe shopping and I was forced to remember the vocabulary from training that I was convinced I’d never use. The shopkeepers were helpful and more amused than irritated with our bumbling about.
Of course I took her to school. I wanted to show her around, to meet the students, and to meet the teachers. We had a few lessons the past two days where she answered questions and let the students gawk at a new person. I wish I could remember if that’s what happened to me a year and a half ago when I showed up. I’m sure it was, but it is all hazy now.
Today, we had class with the 10th graders whose teacher is Nelya Dmitrivna. She’s a sweet woman and she’s more than proud of her students. She’s absolutely convinced that she has the best students in the school. They are rather good at English and always very talkative when I’m in their lessons. Anyway, today they had a treat for Lizzi and I (more for her than me, I suspect). They invited us to the library for the lesson and when we walked in, we found tables covered in food and some of the boys and girls dressed in the traditional clothes of Ukraine. It was a surprise. They sang for us while we ate.
However, it all came at a price. One of the students asked if we could sing an American song for them. We did our best to decline, but they wanted to hear one. So we asked for a minute to think it over, hoping they’d forget. They didn’t. We settled on The Star-Spangled Banner because it was the only national song we knew all the words to. When we were done, I promised them that it was the last time they’d hear me sing.
Some of the girls wanted to speak with Lizzi a little more and asked if we could meet with them tonight. After tea with my landlady, we’re meeting the girls in the center.
All in all, the visit has been good thus far.