Reflection

This is week will be the last real week of school for me. My counterpart with whom I team teach has to have all his grading finished by the end of this week because he’s working on an advanced degree and will be gone the last two weeks of school.

That means even if I am in the classroom every day, half the students likely wouldn’t show up, and even if they did, none of the assignments I gave them would count. That’s ok, though. For one, it enables me to visit my friend Laura’s site and help her for a day or two. As a fellow follower of the кролик, it should be a nice visit. She’s also the biggest celebrity in her town, so even though I’ve had brushes with fame, it will be my first time to actually hang out with one.

This is also a good time to catalog the things I did over the last two semesters: With the help of Sarah and Rachel Z., we taught the gymnasium kids English. The three of us, plus Rachel G. and Laura provided the school with resources that can help them be better teachers in the form of lesson plans and dialogues from their text books. We also gave a workshop that helped fill them in on uses for the materials we gave them.

With my counterpart, we introduced the students of Bakhchisaray to a few American holidays. I think April Fool’s Day was the most fun. I’ve spent over 300 hours in the classroom team teaching with my counterpart. I started an adult English club at the request of Anna, the super volunteer who proceeded me here. That club spawned a second club for people who are already familiar with English.

My counterpart and I have planned out an American-style summer camp with the help of Trina, a nearby volunteer. I’ve visited the Khan’s Palace just about every week since mid-March. I’ve made friends with babushkas. I had my first birthday party. I managed to up my Russian level one notch. I recruited help for a local organization that was creating a Crimean Tartar cookbook for its English translation. I’ve made a few really good friends. In doing so, I’ve absorbed a LOT of their various criticisms and comments at various times (hopefully contributing some to their mental well being in the process). I’ve had my shoulder cried on by a volunteer who was separated. I’ve mailed quite a few postcards after being inspired to do more of it by Derek.

Mostly I think I’ve succeeded in growing a little more as a person, which is always a welcome side effect of any endeavor. I honestly think I was a pretty good person before, too, but it just goes to show that the best way to be is like a river, always moving forward to your ultimate destination.

New Pictures…Maybe?

Ok, I’ve been offline for a couple of days and my connection had been doing little more than limping for a little over a week before that. Before I got knocked offline, I was frustrated because the pictures I was trying to upload to Flickr just wouldn’t go. Right now, they appear to be going, so maybe in a little while you can experience Chersonesos (assuming you haven’t already).

Check back in a little while.