Friday, September 27, 2013

happy at st. andrew's

Guys. Things here just keep getting better. I've had bad days for sure, but for every bad day I have I get a week of spectacular ones. And even on the bad days I end up being pretty happy because Bruno Mars will come on my ipod and tell me how my hair falls perfectly without me trying, even though it's completely soaked through and plastered to my forehead. #yep #didnteventry. Or I'll crack myself up with Ukraine puns (sometimes I think I'm the most clever person I know). I'll be happy because babushka gives me medicine for my stomach/throat, keeps a bowl of cookies on the table, and offers applause when I play the piano for her.

I'm happy because the little girls I teach know my name and draw pictures of me holding flowers, even if my body is a square with 4 sticks poking out of it (actually, that might be a pretty good rendering of my current appearance...I mean, did you read what I said up there about the bowl of cookies?!)

I'm happy here because of the little things. But then I go and have crazy fun adventures around Kiev too. Earlier this week two other teachers and I went and explored around Kiev. I wanted to find a place called Andrew's Descent. Look it up on google. Ok fine. I will. CLICK HERE. Did you do it? I even set it to open in a new window so you don't lose your place on my post. I know, I know. I'm super considerate.

Anyway, see why I wanted to find it? Well, we wandered and wandered. I finally took out my camera and started taking pictures like a tourist. And then we were approached by a couple and after a few words finally realized we were being spoken to in English. We made friends with the Canadians who picked us to talk to because apparently I have a neon sign above my head that reads "I'm taking pictures of this wall so obviously I'm American!" #redwhiteandblue #throughandthrough #murica

Anyway, they had a map and told us where to go. So away we went. It was one of the best times I've had here. Although I say that about everything I do so....

yeah, i've tried my hand at being hipster a few times


and my future husband

"i *heart* borscht"
among other things

st. andrew's cathedral

friend and fellow teacher Jerem looking crazy cool

helloooooooo kiev!

 co-teacher Amanda and I ready to go to church

beautiful view at the top of the stairs

waffles so good you' them

chocolate and banana

caramel, banana, kiwi

If you are nice enough to look through all my photos on facebook then I'm sorry for the double post. But I need to do this so my beloved family (who don't have facebook) can see what's going on in my life. Because like, I think they care.... jklolhags. i know they do.

peace and packing
our europe tour starts tomorrow!


Monday, September 23, 2013

slumber party in ukraine: you're invited

Ok guys. This is a safe zone, right? Like, the things that are said within this circle cannot ever be said outside of the circle because that's just totally against The Circle of Trust rules. (yes, this just became a teenage girl slumber party. quick, share your crush so we can prank call them! and yes, we are watching A Cinderella Story 3 times in a row because Chad Michael Murry is just so hot! {you were just introduced to my teenage years. thoughts?})

Well that was a schpeel if I've ever typed one. Let's get back on track. Safe zone.

The thing is, I'm getting fat. I realized that tonight as I looked at my bowl full of mayo/bologna/egg "salad," the bread with visible chunks of lard (i don't know if it counts as butter) and my soup of meat fat. Ok, I'm not getting fat. I've already reached that goal. I mean, these hips are not lying to me, even if I wish they were. Between the previously mentioned meal, the cakes, eclairs, and endless supply of European chocolate, I might have to reserve an entire row of seats on the airplane back.

I voiced these concerns to my coordinator here and she comforted me by saying that two weeks before I leave she'll give me a pill to take once a day and I'll lose 10-15 pounds in those two weeks. She has them imported from China. Um, can you say miracle?
 I'm obviously going to take them.

I still love it here with all my heart, even if I turned all my clothes blue while doing laundry today. #smurfsinvadeukraine #jk #itsjustme

And now just a few pictures from my walk home from school. Because dang the weather was good for about 8 minutes.

 this is how everyone parks

^^^this is my building. i can see my room...

I love my life. Do you understand how happy I am? Because I could go into more detail if you wanted...

peace and pears
they are so good here. and everyone grows their own. and i'm just like "ok, i'll have 9"


Friday, September 20, 2013

kiev: a comparison

Here I am, sitting on my bed drinking my herbal tea while it rains outside. I feel so poetic right now it's unbelievable. Or maybe just hipster? I mean, if I still had my phone right now you better believe I'd be filtering up this scene with "earlybird" like mad. Actually, that would be completely appropriate because Kiev is quite a hipstery place. No, I don't mean the people (even if some of the fashion here is SO not mainstream). I mean the actual city.

yes this photo is all over all my social media outlets right now
it happens

If Kiev was an article of clothing you better believe it would be a plaid/feather shirt with the top button done up. You see, everything here is underground. The public transportation, the babushkas selling flowers, the shops, the 3 story malls, the's so exclusive the sun has never seen it. Literally.

I love it.

I'm spending this Friday night in because I'm afraid my desire to try all things Ukrainian has caught up to me and I have a slight stomachache. I mean, maybe I wasn't ready for that raw pig fat. Or biting straight into a clove of garlic. Sheesh, if only my body was as ready as my mind. (if that makes sense to you, then explain it to me.)

It's ok though! I've been needing an excuse to just sit and actually read Anna Karenina. Let's hope my Russian lessons will help me understand the names of the characters...I mean, how many variations of "Petersonovich" can one family have!?

I hope your life is as good as mine.
peace and kiev


ps. happy anniversary to my parents! love them so much.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


The Russian word of the day is дедушка. It's pronounced "jdedushka" and translates to "grandpa." (compare with бабушка, or babushka, for grandma) This is the word of the day because yesterday I did Macklemore proud and went to the thrift store, where I'm pretty sure I bought and wore a Ukrainian grandad's clothes. Or, a дедушка's clothes. What can I say, I look incredible. And have totally mastered the Ukrainian pose. #ducklipsforlife

I know you were all so worried that you'd never see another selfie of me because my phone is no longer in my possession. Don't worry. I've obviously got it covered. There's no getting between a girl and her selfies.

And oh my gosh did I just do an "outfit of the day?!"
 #ootd #styleblogger #sothisiswhatitfeelslike

The jacket and shoes were purchased at the thrift store. Because someone was super smart and brought shoes that make her feet bleed. And my host sister and mom insisted on the jacket because they have some that look just like it. We're twins now. Precious. no but really, it is. They take such good care of me. Speaking of jackets, I wish I had a picture of what went down in this place last night. The second night I was here my host family invited me to go skiing with them in December. Obviously I was all over that, but was sad because I had no ski clothes with me. My host dad said he'd figure something out and last night he pulled out his old ski jacket and had me try it on, including a helmet he must have found somewhere.

It buried me, but dang it, it'll work And I'll be the most attractive skier on the slopes come December.

In other news, I'm still teaching English. The kids are adorable, especially when 1:00 pm hits (or 13,00 as they say here) and I get to say, "Goodbye! Goodbye! See you tomorrow!" Yeah, that's when they're most adorable. And I guess in this picture too.

I teach a class full of girls. It's a party. They give the most precious hugs.

Although...should I be worried about this?

Well, now that I've showered, emailed, drunken my herbal tea (given to me by the bishop so pretty sure it's ok), eaten my Ukrainian cake/eclair wonder thing and blogged, I think I call it a night. Yeah all you Americans, it's nighttime here.

peace and marshrutkas
someday i'll tell you about my experiences on these beauties


Sunday, September 15, 2013

ukraine: a week later

Dear Ukraine,

I thought we were getting along so well. I immediately grew to love your people, public transportation, and food. I told everyone how much I enjoyed it here, even while it rained. I took pictures of everything and exclaimed over the differences from America, noting the things that were better here. The Russian language was like music to my ears and I sought to learn it. You were my second home.

And then you stole my phone.

I feel betrayed and hurt. Now everywhere I look I see potential thieves and plots to ruin my experience here instead of fascinating people, beautiful clothes, and babushki with flowers. How are we going to fix this, Ukraine? You made me cry. And I don't like crying.

So to the Ukrainian who now has my phone, I suggest opening the app entitled "Gospel Library" and learning a little bit about what being a thief actually entails in the eternal scheme of things. I'm going to try to forgive this betrayal of trust and continue to love European chocolate to my heart's content, but I will never forget.

And to my dear Galaxy. I'm so sorry.


ps. I'm secretly still hoping it's going to turn up somewhere, in which case I will eat this entire post full of words. Don't worry, I've eaten weirder than that lately. And I've loved it.

pps. Maybe this is my punishment for taking too many selfies with my phone. Yeah, that's gotta be it. But I mean, come on! I was just trying to do an American vs. Ukrainian pose while standing under my umbrella, ella, ella...

#imsovain #yeahthissongisaboutme #hashtag

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


The title of this post is pronounced "hehr-oh-show" and is the Russian word for "good." It's one of the first words my host family taught me upon arrival in Ukraine. Yep, I am officially 5,754 miles away from the place I have lived my entire life shout out to my home dawg utah. yeah. if utah was a person it would be gangster. or...not. anyway. The travel here deserves it's own entire post, but that's just not going to happen because let's get real, who wants to read about my head bouncing off my shoulder in that humiliating way while I was sleeping or how many times the German flight attendant told me to move my leg so she could push the drink cart past? Oh, you do? Ok. Well, email me. But until that email comes through, the highlights, which consisted entirely of the people I met during my 28 hour endeavor. These people included:

The opera singer flying to New York, the CEO coming back from a visit with his Singapore branch, the mechanical-engineer-Croatian-grandpa who knew about Utah and asked how many husbands I have um, that's polyandry. get your insults right. and i wasn't actually insulted, but kindly told him that he was wrong. and then converted him to the church. #iwish and the 80 year old retired math teacher who was going to his annual September trip to Lebanon to visit family and who said flattering things. sometimes i wish i could date a grandpa in a 22-25 year old body. anybody else? am i totally weird? don't answer that.

Upon arrival in Ukraine we all crammed into a little bus and were dropped off around the city. I hate to say what my first impression of this place is because it's completely changed since then. But...first impression. Think post apocalyptic type setting with gray everything and graffiti everywhere there isn't gray and robots who all wear heels, never smile, and talk in monotone. I admit there was fear.

I got dropped off at the wrong building but then a nice Ukrainian helped me find my way, even pulling my 50 pound bag around while I jabbered at him in English about how I was so sorry my bag was so heavy but I had to fit everything I possible could in there because I'll be here for 3 months and I even had to wear my boots on the plane because they were too big to fit in my case and oh wow look at all the pigeons and have you ever been to America because I can't believe I was just there a few hours ago but I watched "Epic" on the plane...finally he just turned to me, smiled, and said, "No understand. Very little English."

So I felt awesome. Kind of like those little dogs that keep yapping at you no matter what you do.

Anyway, I got to my host family and they are just awesome. Really, I love them so much already. I've showed them pictures of my family and friends and mountains, which they loved. They even have a piano so I got to play a few hymn arrangements for them. I'm not allowed to directly spread the good word, but maybe in a subtle way I can....They've invited me skiing with them sometime this semester if there's enough snow and I might dye my hair with my 16 year old host-sister. They try to teach me Russian but end up just laughing at my attempts because it basically sounds like a running disposal. With a peach pit inside.

The women here are beautiful and all the men wear really nice jeans. I have glow in the dark stars on my ceiling and the temple is perfect. The Metro is exciting and the buildings that once reminded me of "I Am Legend" are so comfortable to me now. I home here. Teaching is really really hard, but what else is knew, right?

Oh. The fact that I live in Ukraine.

morning view from my room
to me, this is so neat. all the different textures showing all the different types of people living there. not just cookie cutter perfect homes and buildings. it scared me and first, but now I think I prefer it.
i'm so deep.

i'll be going here as often as possible.

these forks seemed like something my mom would come up with.
which i why i liked them so much.

the pond i walk by every day. i'm pretty sure i should ride in that train at some point, aren't you?

this place sold some delicious meat wrap thing called sharuma (said with a crazy thing in the throat and tongue that I can't do).
it has nothing to do with Lord of the Rings.
but. is. delicious.

oh hi.
just here, casually holding this sharuma close to my face because that seemed natural.

Zach and Tessa.
the "couple" of the group.
happy anniversary. thanks for spending it playing jenga with all of us.

our awesome native coordinator.
like, she's cooler than you.

the view again at night.
i mean, tell me you can see the appeal.

Anyway, things here are herosho. Like, really, really, herosho.

peace and babushki
they are so true to the stereotype here it's unreal. i smile whenever i see one.