Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kharkiv Taco Night, Panda Project, and Starting My English Clubs!

Last weekend, I invited a few other Peace Corps Volunteers from my oblast over to my apartment to cook tacos for dinner and watch some American football. It was great to hang out with everyone, and meet some of the older volunteers that weren't able to make it to our oblast's Christmas get-together. We met up and hung out in Kharkiv for the day, then traveled back to my little town.

Grabbing some coffee with Jillian and Erika.
 We walked around the art bazaar, off of the Historical Musem metro stop. All of the artwork being sold was produced by local artists, including these two little snowmen :-)

Or perhaps they are snow-monkeys?
Although night was falling (since it gets dark around 4pm here), we walked down to the Blagoveshchensky (Благовещенский) Cathedral in Karl Marx Plaza. It is a Ukrainian orthodox church, more affectionately known as"The Candy Cane Church".

I'll have to go back to take a picture of the church during the day, so you can actually see the red/white candy cane stripes.
We went inside the church to take a look around. Since it is an Eastern orthodox church, women are required to cover their heads with something such as a scarf while inside the church. I am not a member of the Eastern orthodox church, but according to Wikipedia, this tradition of head covering stems from 1 Corinthians 11.
Alison, Jillian, Erika and I with our scarves covering our heads.
While we were in Kharkov, I participated in my friend Jillian's "Panda Project". The Panda Project is a quest to have many different people photographed with Jillian's black and white hand-knitted panda hat. You can check out her Panda Project photo album on Facebook here.

Fun fact: the word for panda in Russian is also panda!
After walking around Kharkiv, we all hopped on the bus back to my town. We cooked up a storm in my little kitchen- we used ground chicken for the taco meat (it tasted great and not gross like it sounds, I promise!), cooked rice, shredded cheese, made a veggie filling of bell peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers tossed in oil and Italian seasoning, and I sliced up some gigantic squares of lavash (the Ukrainian version of tortillas) into burrito sized pieces. Our Ukrainian friend Vadim impressed us all with his delicious guacamole made with avocados and limes. The tacos turned out great!

Say... Queso!
I started off my English clubs last week at school by teaching my students how to play UNO, duck duck goose, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, and I also taught the 11th formers how to write informal letters. My 5th form class also wrote their first pen pal letters to America as part of the World Wise Schools correspondence program and we are very excited to be hearing back from our partner school in Florida sometime soon! This week, I plan on getting my older (high school age) students ready to participate in the International Writing Olympics, coming up next month :-)


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