Wednesday, October 30, 2013

happy halloween

Well guys. The Black Plague hit. I've been keeping it at bay for a long time, but the last few days it came in full force. My little vitamin C tablets stood no chance against the soul-shaking cough that was to inhabit my physical form. So I'm taking a short break from the touring and sightseeing and adventuring to just sit in bed with a pillow behind my head.

I'm also trying to decide which of my little students was the carrier of this disease, because somehow that will make me feel better? Whatever. I love those kids. Leaving them is going to be extremely difficult. I especially realized this after our Halloween party last week. Oh I was proud to be a teacher of those little devils quite literally, as you will see that day.

These 3 year old boys are the bane of my existence.
And also one of my top reasons for going to school each day.

And these little girls make me feel like a celebrity.
Oh they're divas.
And I love them.

I needed a costume last minute (no literally. school started in 2 minutes and i needed a costume) so I raided the nearby closet and came out with a child's leopard shirt.
It cut off the circulation to my arms.
Still rocked it.

Ms. Rachel and Ms. Amanda
The coolest cat and princess Ukraine's ever seen.

It's fierce. I know.

And then Amanda and I decided we needed to have a small dance party with the girls. So obviously we had to do a congo line. This might be my favorite few moments ever captured on video. It's just life right now. And I can't believe it.

Happy Halloween everyone.

peace and The Monster Mash


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

the black sea and me

I'm in Bulgaria. Just let that soak in a little. Or a lot. You choose the level of marinating you feel most comfortable with. I'm not here to dictate what you do. I'm just here to shamelessly brag about my life. Because shoot dang it's been unreal. Maybe I'll tell you all about my adventures sometime, because seriously, they deserve to be told.  But for now, I need to be sleeping. I'm catching hopefully a 5 am flight tomorrow back to Sofia to adventure around there. But I just needed to post something so that I could rub it in that I'm actually blogging from Bulgaria.

My life man.

Don't mind the hair. It's part of my look.

yep. just made my blog a hashtag.


obviously we need to work on having fun.

peace, bulgaria, and the black sea.
and viktor krum.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

my life is boring

I'm not in a super mood to blog right now, and yet here I am, typing up a post. My host sister asked if there was nothing interesting for me to post about. I just looked at her while I sat in a kitchen in Kiev, Ukraine, holding a bowl of borscht I helped make and remembering how delicious the batch of syrniki I had made earlier was, listening to a Russian symphony that was filling the room through speakers sitting on the table in the Kiev, Ukraine.

Yeah, that must be it. Nothing interesting is going on in my life.

I mean, it's not like that same host sister and I had a conversation about the different professions her English text book said were possibilities for those who spoke English. Nah, we didn't really laugh at the idea that her text book said that American's often chose the profession of milkmaid. I mean heck, I'm considering changing my major as I type.

And it's not like I totally caught a fly out of the air in between my fingers like a full-on ninja.

I can't possibly have been teaching English to Ukrainian kids for the last month and a half. I mean, that would mean that I've had children stroking my hair and hanging on my legs and pulling on my hands and throwing things across the room and sneezing all over me and hugging me and sitting on my lap whenever we "fall down" during Ring Around the Rosie.

I'm not the most popular kid at the elementary school here. None of the kids want to talk to me and tell me their names and ask me how I am when I go to pick up my 8 year old host sister from school.

I couldn't possible have gone on an overnight train this last Friday. And then spent literally all day on the same train that Sunday. no really. did that really have to happen? that couldn't possibly be real. there's no way i would have done that...ok fine. i did.

But it's not like I took that train to see castles and fortresses in Kamanets, Ukraine. No... Because if I did, that would mean I have a ton of pictures...

And this dog didn't follow me everywhere, photo bombing basically every picture I have.

We obviously didn't have a very much fun with self-timers.

And we totally didn't get scammed into taking pictures with these birds.
oh how i wish that ^^^ were true.

We didn't decide to take a nap on a bench in the middle of the city.

And we definitely didn't watch/film two Ukrainians get engaged while standing on yet another love bridge.
i swear, i'm putting a lock on the next one we see.
i don't care if i have no love in my life.
it will say "Rachel + Cheese = Happiness Forever"
or something equally profound.

Nope. My life is so utterly boring. I have absolutely nothing to blog about. So I'm going to leave now and send good vibes to my little sister, who is running in the State Cross Country meet today. Fly C-Gull, FLY!

peace and russian lessons
say hello to the worst student in the class. 
^^^that's hello in russian.


Friday, October 18, 2013

ukrainian secrets

Yesterday my host mom and sister sat me down (ok, I was already sitting) and told me something that had obviously been bothering them for some time now. I listened, worried that I had somehow personally offended them with the amount of time I spend brushing my hair, my hopefully polite rejection of the endless supply of liver, or the number of chocolate bars I keep stashed in my room. I was scared of what was going to happen. Was this end of our harmonious relationship?

Their concern was this: I wear pants too often, and by doing so I will not attract the young men who could be potential suitors. They said I was beautiful and needed to show that more often by wearing skirts.

I sat there, shocked.

And then I realized, "They're right! I hate pants anyway!"

So now I'm here, sitting in my skirt, waiting for the next 3 hours to rush by so I can board an overnight train to northern Ukraine (poetry jam anyone?) to see some castles. I'm excited. Not only for the trip, but for the other "womanly secrets" my host mom said she had to share with me when the time was right. Should I be nervous? Because I'm not.

I am so content with my life right now it's unbelievable. Earlier this week I was walking home from a good day of teaching, listening to Selena telling me that I can be whatever I want, and was suddenly filled to the brim with happiness. You know, the kind of happiness that's like, "If someone touched me right now, they would hug a stranger."

I full on beamed at passing Ukrainians, some of whom hesitantly smiled back. I teared up when I saw a grandpa walking his granddaughter home from school, her bright pink backpack slung across his shoulders. A mom was showing her chubby little baby, all bundled up in snow clothes, the different colored leaves and some 13 year old boys were flirting with some 13 year old girls in the park.

I loved them all.
I'm so glad I'm here. Wearing a skirt and attracting the right kind of boy.

peace and buckwheat


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

prague, czech republic

Here I am, helping my host-sister with her English homework, and stressing over the fact that I really don't understand English at all. I have never been more concerned with my ability to speak my own language. Have you ever tried to explain why we add a "though" on "thank you, though" when we decline an offer of something? Or the difference between "other," "another," and "the other?" Or why "few" and "a few" mean totally different things? 

English man. We do what we want.

Other than make a fool of myself in two different languages, I've been going through the hundreds of pictures from Prague. Shoot dang I took a lot. But here are some of them. We got to spend two days in the city and it was a party. Czech it out. You'll Prague-ably get pretty jealous.

Or just bored. Sorry. This is my life though.

View from the Prague Castle.

Prague Castle

St. Vitus Cathedral.
Don't ask how we managed to time it just right, but we did.
The sun on those stain-glass windows....

We took a boat tour (with dinner provided) on a boat just like this.
It was a buffet.
A word of advice: don't get between a Ukrainian and their buffet. You will lose.

Charles Bridge

Church of Our Lady in Old Town Square.

Infamous Astronomical Clock.
It tells time and other cool things.

We climbed to the top on our second day.
I love the brickwork in this thing.

I hope this isn't a drug reference or anything.
I just like Utah.

Spur of the moment we decided to rent a paddle boat.
And then we chilled on the Vltava River...

...and took some pictures. 
I'm just awkward and have no idea what to do with my hands in these things

There were sweet little islands all down the river.
The one we stopped on had a ropes course thing.

And then oh my gosh.
I saw The Dancing House. 
(aka Fred and Ginger)
I have studied this building so many times it's unreal.
So I took a "dancing" picture in front of it.
#tourist #superswag
that second hashtag just came out. i don't know why. let it happen.

After eating some awesome pizza from the street, we found a hill.
So I demanded we hike it.
I've been hurting for some mountains.

At the top we saw the Eiffel Tower.
It's the Petrin Lookout. But we climbed all 299 stairs to the top to take in the views.
It was fabulous.

 These people though.

After wandering through the forest/hill area near the wannabe Eiffel Tower, we came out behind the German Embassy ^^^
There might have been a guard that we avoided.
Just kidding. I talked with him. And wasn't deported. So good news.
ps. bottom left. that statue....? i want it.

Where there's a German Embassy, there must needs be an American one.
I felt so close to home.

A love bridge.
Where I found my future...


So, like, I'm doing pretty good. Especially since my host sister just asked if she could polish my nails and then spent the next 20 minutes pampering me. Caroline, my expectations for sisterhood have just increased. Rebecca's off the hook because she has a baby, but you should have the spa ready upon my return. 

peace and prague