I think I'm finally getting acclimated to camp life here in Ukraine and actually enjoying my time here. My mood is significantly better, my stomach is getting used to the food, and the kids are warming up to me. Despite the lack of a schedule and planning, my days doing improv have come quite handy - the games and the actual act of improvisation (thinking up the lesson plan as I go). We're pretty much almost through the shit book we were given so a majority of the time left will be spent on games and learning more about American culture and traditions. I'm thinking of doing a whole session on Asian American culture since I doubt they even know that there's such a thing.
With only about 4 hours of instruction per day, there is A LOT of downtime. The other teachers, Michelle and Cait, and I just lounge by the pool, nap, have hair parties, watch episodes of Friends, go to the seaside, and indulge in a little bit of alcohol when the kids are away with their counselors. One great thing about Ukraine - CHEAP ASS ALCOHOL. It's so nice to unwind at the end of a long day with some Ukrainian beer or a dessert wine.
It's hard to imagine that at one point, I was considering joining the Peace Corps. Though I have no doubt I would survive, life here can be quite tough which I've gathered from the numerous stories from Michelle and Cait. Cait's been here for almost 2 years now and is counting down the days till she's back home in Ohio. Michelle has been here for a little over a year so she still has a ways to go though 2 years can really fly by. Even though I've only been in Ukraine for about a week, I have such a deeper appreciation for my life back in the Bay Area, even more so than when I backpacked in Yunnan. Life here is so simple and at the same time so limiting relative to the fast-pace, consumer-driven, and limitless opportunity I have back in the Bay. If I ever catch myself complaining in the future, I will definitely think back on this experience and thank God that I wasn't born anywhere but the Bay.
So I've spent enough words bad-mouthing Ukraine so onto what I do like. I like that there is an actual summer here. Never in my life have I just worn my bikini almost 24/7 with maybe a dress or top thrown over it. It doesn't get below the upper 70s at night so even last night, I had to take a quick dip before heading to bed. I also like the children's curiosity for what lies outside Ukraine. For a country whose government is very closed off to the rest of the world, the children here are just as worldly as many other Europeans I've met throughout my time here. It's a trait that I find most American children (and some adults) are lacking in. Lastly, the relaxed atmosphere is a nice change from the high-stress life back at home. Although sometimes, as I've heard from Michelle and Cait, Ukrainians tend to be lazy, at least at this camp, the relaxing nature seems suitable. They don't plan or schedule anything around here, and though it stressed me out quite a bit in the beginning, I've learned that maybe I'm not as free-flowing as I thought I was. I'm only free-flowing in a more structured society.
I have a feeling by the end of this camp, I might not want to leave...haha.
And the pictures below, body art/disco night and the grasshopper that I caught on my neck...O_O