Monday, October 25, 2010

A Ukrainian History Museum and Field Trip to White Church (Белая Церковь)

Last weekend, we had a cross-cultural information session about the history of Ukraine. I learned a few interesting things during the session, like how Ukrainians refer to WWII as “The Great Patriotic War” and how almost every family in Ukraine was affected by that war in some way (since many of the USSR’s troops were actually from Ukraine).
This picture was HUGE on the wall... it must have been like a solid 5x7 ft.
Afterwards, we walked to the town’s local museum. Our linked town is so scenic… if I printed these out as postcards and mailed one to you, you would probably never know the difference!

So picturesque. I can't wait to ice skate on this river when it gets colder here.
This is the Bridge of Love... reminds me of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.
The view of the town's church.
Look, they have a tank too!
The museum was really interesting, we actually got to see some of the things that we talked about during the history lesson and admission only cost $3 UAH (60 cents).
My host mom thought it was hilarious that we took a picture with our tickets.
The museum turned out to be a private 2 story home that had been converted into a home for the collection of artifacts from the town’s history and about the history of Ukraine.

There were saber-tooth tigers in Ukraine??
Here is a picture of Monica and I with several people from our  linked cluster. We are standing with their Russian Language Facilitator Lena – in the red jacket, Sarah – a political science major from Utah, and Ally – a Biochemistry major from Texas (but fun fact: her family lives in Singapore).
Yes, these wooden cabins can still be seen around Ukraine today.
We took a picture with a bronze statue of Lenin. Statues of Lenin are very popular in Ukraine, we have one in our town and there is one in our linked cluster’s town as well.
Yay statues! Sorry to Ally for getting cut off from the bottom of this picture.
Here is the famous Ukrainian poet Shevshenko (Тара́с Григо́рович Шевче́нко). I’m sure his name comes up from time to time as a Daily Double on Jeopardy.
This guy has a ton of statues of him too, apparently he was a big deal.

He knows whats up.
Ukrainians are very self-sufficent and some people continue to weave and sew their own clothes. I am proud to say that I can name the chronological sequence of steps needed to weave fabric, thanks to my fun Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering (PTFE) elective classes at Georgia Tech.
Ahh, the good old days.
In the good old days, Ukrainians apparently also used to carve their furniture and kitchen ware by hand.
Danielle with one serious cup of chai.
The Soviet era is a very big part of Ukrainian history. I’m sure that you can recognize this poster from your high school history books. 
Lenin pointing at progress.

Surprisingly enough, the town’s landscape hasn’t changed much since this huge wall mural was painted. This mural reminded me of the sort of rustic countryside landscapes that are painted on the walls of "Old Country Buffet" restaurants.
Danielle, Jun, myself and Nathan.
This was an exhibit showing some important political figures in Ukraine. It also displayed some of the old currency. Unfortunately, all the captions for the pictures and labels for everything in the museum was all in Ukrainian… so I couldn’t read like any of it.

From rubles to hryvnia!

We really enjoyed how the artifacts in the museum were authentic. Can you guess what this exhibit was about?
Sarah is super cute in the soldier's hat.

We all taught a few more lessons at school this week, and I even got to teach a class all by myself for the first time! It was really exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I taught a little about United States history and geography to the 11th form (the equivalent of high school seniors at our school).

Nathan and I discussing lesson plans with our 11th form teacher, Tatiyana.

Monica and Laura taught "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" to their 5th form class.
For our weekly field trip, we took the electric train (eletrichka) to Biliecirkov (white church). It is a city of about 200,000 people and famous for its Bazaar. We had fun on our first train ride in Ukraine.

Entertainment on the train: random guy playing the accordion and begging for money.

The train has booth-style seats that face each other and our car smelled like a port-o-potty.
We ate lunch at a great little pizza place, where they served real pizza (without ketchup or mayonnaise!).
Our group with our Langage Facilitator, Larysa, on the left!

After lunch, we had a little scavenger hunt around the city and I took a few pictures of the city’s landmarks.

Every town has statues of Lenin.
Funny story: I managed to call a wrong number when trying to reach my Language facilitator Larysa and yet still had a successful phone conversation about meeting at the White Church in a mix of Russian and English… apparently there are quite a few ladies named Larysa that work for the Peace Corps and it just so happened that I copied down the wrong cell phone number for my Language Facilitator. So I accidentally called the Larysa that works in Vasylkov, then she immediately called the correct Larysa that I was trying to reach and we figured everything out in a span of 5 minutes.

One of the town's famous white churches.

Their library looks like the White House!
Monica bought a sweet fur hat while we were shopping. I’m jealous, I haven’t found any nice ones for cheap yet (but hopefully I will!).

whats classier than fur hats and espesso?
Before we left to head back home, we took a group photo in front of the 4 story mall. Walking around the mall was almost like being in the Silk Street market building in Beijing, except definitely less crazy.

we miss Heather! She hurt her knee :(
And last but not least, Sveta (my awesome host mom) cooked burritos for dinner! Who would ever have thought that they sell tortillas in Ukraine? The tortillas came out of a package that looks just like the regular Mission tortillas that they sell at Walmart. I love my host mom, she has been great about working on Russian with me, I love chatting with her at the dinner table. I told her that we (the 6 American Peace Corps trainees) wanted to cook some Mexican food like fajitas and she surprised me with burritos!

I never thought a burrito with cabbage, hot dog and mozerella cheese would be delicious.
We went to Kyiv yesterday, which was awesome but it means that now I'm still like a week behind on my blog... so photos of beautiful golden church domes will be coming soon :)


Toni Tralala said...

I can't follow you right now. I don't know why but blogger won't let me! :s

The burrito looks so good! I'm practically getting a first hand look through your eyes of Kiev! :)

Toni Tralala said...

Hold on, VIOLA! It worked! :D

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