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A good week

December 2, 2011

It has been a busy week. For me, that means it has been a good week.

The week started out normally, with me at the library, but as I knew what was coming, I tried to prepare (as much as a procrastinator can).

Tuesday I started with two hours of Russian tutoring, then I had a full house at my guest lecture, which I tried to make as more of a workshop, but that did not really happen. After the lecture I was telling one of the teachers how I find it frustrating that people don’t interact at all. She told me that their silence means they find it interesting, and if they were talking, it would be because they did not find it interesting. If they were talking to each other, that is. And I am not a big fan of that practice. I still don’t know that what she told me makes me feel better, because I try very hard to make my guest lectures interesting and interactive, and it is very difficult to deal with when no one responds. Logically I know the reason for this – because in the school system here, the teachers talk at them and there is no discussion.  Coming from a different way of doing things…I have to admit, I still have a hard time with it.

Wednesday I showed a 16 minute film I made to a bunch of employees at the library – it was very well received and I got a lot of questions about vacation policies, maternity leave, and other things related to holidays and time off. Then it was off to the college for a guest lecture…and back to the college on Thursday, which was the beginning of the marathon.

Before I got to Thursday, though, I purchased a phone number through Skype and a subscription plan that allows me to call my friends and family in the U.S. I spent four hours on the phone on Wednesday – I had not talked to most of the members of my family for 21 months. It was nice to hear their voices again. Although I had been keeping in touch with them via e-mail (well, my mom and I e-mail), I had not heard voices. I don’t think that people really realize or appreciate how important it is to hear someone’s voice to feel connected to the person.

So it was that on Thursday morning, I was in a good mood on the way to the marshrutka. Then I let a bunch of them pass me because I did not want to get on one that was so full. Well…eventually I had to or be late for the college, so I had to squeeze on, and suffice it to say, it was the second-worst marshrutka ride of my life. I won’t go into details but let’s just say I am now better at standing up for myself when someone is rude to me and I am not afraid to tell the person so.

Because yesterday was World AIDS Day, I was asked to talk about AIDS in Ukraine at my library’s program, and THEN because tomorrow is the International Day for People with Disabilities, I was invited to the local Internat for their program recognizing the day. It was especially nice because this is the Internat where I had done a project to get them two water heaters and a water filter, and the children are now benefiting from the project I did with the library to bring adaptive technology to the library. So I was asked to speak…

I can improvise in English with no problem, but I am finding that when I am given two minutes’ notice to speak in Russian I freeze. What’s up with that?? I hate it. It is as if all of the words just fly out of my head. But I managed and even got some nice applause for my efforts.

Then it was off to Smila! I just got back into town after 21 hours at my friend’s site (Smila) where I helped her with an HIV/AIDS day of training, and another volunteer led students through making a world map of HIV/AIDS infection rate. Short trip though as I am expecting guests within two hours because…

It’s my birthday this weekend! Yay! So I am having a small celebratory dinner at a friend’s apartment – Chili (thanks to mom sending the packets), Spanish rice (again, mom) and fondue for dessert. Champagne is mandatory. Of course, this is after I help out with the Olypmiad at the university tomorrow! What a week!

I’m not complaining though – I certainly would rather be busy than bored – it makes the time go by faster.

And I just found out that next Wednesday I am going to Thailand for some medical stuff. Of course I am taking the opportunity to tack on some vacation days and will get to explore Thailand a little – now I have to figure out where to go and what to do…while my friends are in town and I itemize my belongings while I make dinner and celebrate my birthday and celebrate it again on the actual day and pack…

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