Thursday, February 23, 2012

День защитника Отечества (Men's Day)

My blog post for today is in honor of the many amazing men in my life.  Today, Thursday February 23rd is Men's Day.  Kinda like Fathers day... but more like Men's Day! :)

A little history on this Russian holiday first though. More accurately known as Defender of the Fatherland Day (День защитника Отечества) it is a holiday observed in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and a couple other former republics of the Soviet Union.  This holiday marks February 23rd, 1918 when the first mass draft into the Red Army took place during the Russian Civil War. It was originally known as Red Army Day.  (Thanks Wiki for that wonderful insight!)  :)

So, now that this holiday has gone through many a name change (apparently haha) it has come to be Men's Day.  A day completely in honor to men.  I like it.  Pretty sure I'll keep this one up when I get home.

So, to the Men in my life I would like to start with my Dad.  He is amazing.  Simple as that.  I have been truly blessed to have the very best dad in the world!  He has taught me so many wonderful lessons and provided me my whole life with physical and spiritual strengthening.  What I think I have learned most from my father is to serve others as he is the most selfless person I know.  He has worked so hard to provide for our family, and that is where I have also learned the lesson of hard work.  I love my dad so much, I have come to have an even greater love for him the past year or so as I've seen many changes in mine and my families lives.  I love the concern he has for all of us and how he is truly interested in what is happening in all of our lives.   I know my Dad loves me and wants only the best for me.   He always has such wonderful advise and holds great concern for me and my life endeavors. Thanks for Everything Dad, and thanks for giving me your smile as it is one thing I always wear proudly! :)

Secondly, I am grateful for my Brothers.  Aaron and Sam- man they are the best!  I've grown up with these awesome dudes and it makes me pretty happy! :)  Both very different guys, both amazing in their own ways.  My brothers make me so happy.  Each of them makes me laugh hysterically and each knows how to make me smile!  Yes, of course sometimes they can be turds :)  But whatever, that's what little brothers are for right??  They used to be more Turdy actually.  It's amazing to see as we have grown up how much more we get along and really enjoy being with each other! I love that they're not afraid to say "I love you" to me in front of their friends or to give me a hug.  That has come with growing up for sure, as I know I couldn't have paid them to do that several years ago.  These guys are amazing, I love being able to learn from them.  I may be their older sister, but that doesn't mean I'm the only one teaching, I learn from them all the time.   Thanks you guys!! 

I would also like to say thank you to my Grandfathers.  Grandpa Brady and Grandpa Martin, the two of you raised some pretty amazing children to become my parents!  Thank you for that.  Also, thank you for your testimonies, both are very different but both are so full of years of learned wisdom and sincerity.  I love when you share your many childhood stories with me.  I could sit and listen to them for hours!!  I love you both so very much.  Thank you for everything you have ever done for my family!

I have many other men in my life who have greatly influenced me.  Fathers of Dear Friends (Jared and Kent) who have been there for me many a time and also taught me some great life lessons.  Dear Friends as well, Landon you are fantastic! :) Church leaders are definitely in this list including my Bishopric, Stake Presidency and up to our dear beloved Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson and the apostles who have also changed my life through their words and examples.

One other man very important to me will not be able to read this for several more months.  But I would like to honor him in this post as well.  Elder Keaton Hansen, my best friend and the love of my life.  I am truly blessed to know such a great man.  He has changed my life in more ways than I think he will ever know and that is truly through his example to me and his acceptance of me in every way.  He helps me be a better person and I am so grateful for that.  Keaton is one of the funniest, happiest, most sincere, and strong people I know.  I have been so blessed to have him in my life.  Thank you for what you have been doing for our Lord for the past 19 months, for serving with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. I love you.

And that leads to the the Men in my life who I am most grateful for and honored to have in my life in everything.  My Father in Heaven and his son, my brother, Jesus Christ.  They are my life, they are my joy, and they lead me in all that I do.  They are the best men anyone could ask for, as they are ever forgiving of me and my faults, and they will believe in me for all time and eternity.  I know that they know me better than anyone on this earth.  I strive to know them better day by day, hour by hour.  As they are my very best example and my true best friends, I know I can always depend upon them to be there for me and love me.  I love them.  So very much.

So, thank you to all the men in my life on this Men's Day.  I honor you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Life as a Metronome

Car Alarms.  Are actually more annoying in Russia than in the U.S..  "Why is that?", you may ask.  Well, the answer to that question is quite simple actually.  Because, they wake me up every morning without fail.  Not a single day here without the "sweet" serenade of a constant beeping from the streets below.  The one that has been going for the last 3 hours today actually kinda sounds like a bird... who swallowed a metronome!!... but a bird nevertheless. :)  Just trying to look at the bright side of life.
Speaking of metronomes that kinda reminds me of the class I teach!  Who want's a run through of Miss. Angela's Basic Reading Class? Anyone?  Anyone?  Awe, I thought so! :)
Well,  It starts off with ten minutes of Opening.  This is where the lil' tikes start pouring into my class one by one as I take their homework from the prior day, I give them a token for finishing that and give them their attractive lil' token bags that will collect many more red token friends throughout the course of my class as they speak correct English for me!  My main focus in Opening is to get the kids talking in English, help them feel comfortable, and to get the mood set for the rest of the class.  If opening goes well then the rest of class usually does too!  It's kinda like, "When Mom's Happy, Everyone's happy" right? :)
Then I go into my First SPE (Synchronized Play Episode)  Haha big words right there. To make that a little more simple to understand, an SPE is pretty much 30 minutes of play time.  Or at least that's what the kids Think! Mwahaha ;D.  I usually introduce a game to them, like Uno, Old Maid, Checkers, or Bingo.  Yesterday it was Jacks! What I do is explain EVERYTHING to them and have them repeat it back to me.  Here let me give you an example of some Dialogue you would partake in if you were one of my students...
"What is this Everyone?  It's a Jack.  What is this? It's a Jack.  What is this?"
"Right.  It's a Jack."
"What is it?"
"It's a Jack.  What is this?"
"It's a Jack!"
"Yes.  It's a Jack!"
Then I give whoever said, "It's a Jack" a token and keep with that dialogue until everyone of the kids says it correctly.
Lol sounds a little repetitive doesn't it?  Annoying.  Yes, that a bit too.  Try talking like that for four hours strait!  Good fun. Good Fun. :) This is all in attempt to have the kids speak English while interacting in a fun way.  It's amazing how well it works actually.
I also do reading, writing and spelling with my kids, a craft SPE, and a Story Time.  Then it finishes with Store where they get to buy a little prize with the tokens they received throughout class.
I love teaching.  It has been so much fun! These kids just grab onto your heart strings and make you melt.  While some moments they make you want to grab onto your hair and pull it out lol.  But that's not as prevalent, thank goodness... at least not in my class! :)
Well, it's time for me to go.
"Can Everyone say it's time for me to go?"
"It's time for you to go!" ;)

One of My Lessons!  Learning names of things, how to read them, and spell them while coloring their own Ocean Scene. So Much fun :)

Sveta, Liza, and Dasha.  Cutest Lil Girls!  My three who I have seen the most improvement in.  So, I kinda feel like a proud mother to these Cuties :)

Space Lesson!

And yesterday's lesson-Weather! In Light of a full day of Snow fall over here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

С ДНЁМ РОЖДЕНИЯ (Happy Birthday)

So, my 20th birthday this last week was amazing!  Definitely one I will never forget!  It was really special thanks to the other Teachers here in Russia with me, the opportunity I had to talk to my Family on Skype and all the wonderful emails and messages on Facebook.  A special day indeed.  glad I got to spend it in such a neat place.  Thanks everyone. I love you all. <3

Renae's birthday was the 9th and mine was the 8th so we got to celebrate both of our happy days together!! :)
Cutting our Birthday cake.

This is Natasha (Our School coordinator, love her!) and her son Tmolsha, he's such a stud and super good at speaking Engilsh!  They gave us another birthday cake that we have yet to eat lol.

Russian 5 layer cake= SO GOOD!
Andrew gave both Renae and I a Russian Nesting Doll.  Apparently the way to tell if they are authentic is if they have  a sparkle in their eye. Mine does :)

Russian Birthday Card from Dasha and Kelsey :) It says, "I wish that rainbow wings of happiness will be with you on your birthday.  I hope that all the rest of your days will be filled with the warmth of the sun".

Friday, February 10, 2012

Brushin-up on some Russin Trivia

Random Facts about Russia:
1)  Women, they all dress WAY nice, no matter what.  I am amazed by how well they walk around in High Heels in this snow and how they stay warm in just their tights and a knee length coats.
2)  A Bus fare costs 10 Rubles (about 30 cents).
3) A loaf of bread costs 20 cents! :D side note:  Their bread is AMAZING!
4) You know how Americans imagine Olga as a huge scary woman with a mole? Yeah, like every other woman here is named Olga lol and they sure as heck are some of the most beautiful women I've ever seen.
5)  There were three whole isles dedicated to Alcoholic beverages at the grocery store I went to this morning haha :)
6)  They believe that rubbing vodka on your feet and putting on wool socks cures the common cold.
7)  If a woman sits on the ground it's believed that she will become barren because her ovaries will freeze. hehehe
8)  Everyone here LOVES cats, and they even have many-a-Kitten Club that most people in Voronezh are members of!
9)  How you say grandmother in Russian is Babushka.  How you say great great great Grandmother in Russian is Ba Ba Ba Babushka :)
10)  Kiev, Ukraine used to be Russia's Capital.
11)  Cashiers don't like to deal with their smaller coins (like pennies) so they just roundup to the nearest ruble and give you that. :)  I don't mind.
12) Your boogers Freeze! That's how I gauge how cold it is.
13) They drive CRAZY!  People completely ignore sidewalks and just walk through the streets, cars drive into oncoming traffic on a more-than-my-heart-can-handle basis, Don't have a place to park? we've even found cars parked on the sidewalk, and two inch distance between you and the other vehicle is quite normal!
14)  Oh and they have cigarette, and alcohol vending machines!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Добро пожаловать в Россию (Welcome to Russia)

Welcome to Russia!! :D

I'm so Happy to be here.  A week and a half of pure adventure started the moment I stepped off the terminal and a cloud of my first Russian Breath exploded around me.  It sure is cold here.  I've now decided you haven't lived life till you have felt your boogers and nose hairs freeze.  Probably one of the coolest/weirdest sensations ever :).

Today will be my fifth day of teaching these cute kids.  Last week was pretty hard; figurin out how to teach them, getting a schedule down and trying to teach kids who only understand half of what you say.  But, I guess that's why I'm here right!  It's amazing how I've already noticed an improvement in some of the kids. :)  It's so rewarding when you see their eyes light up and they understand what you say.  And it's even more rewarding when they say something to you correctly and you know they really understand what they were saying!  I'm loving this.  It definitely has been hard, and I have a feeling it's just gonna keep going that way.  This is going to be one of the most challenging things I've ever done, but its the hard things in life that are most rewarding right! :)

So to those who don't know how I ended up 7624 miles around the world, let me tell you the funny little story!...

Once upon a time, Angela was a new student at Snow College in little old Ephraim, UT.  About two weeks into the whole 'living away from home' experience, I was already beginning to appreciate free food just like any true college student does.  Well, ILP (a.k.a. International Language Programs) came to the school for a little Seminar thing to tell people about the program and offered free Pizza. I was SO there!  Well, I went there, ate the Pizza and listened to their little orientation.  Next thing I knew I was actually getting pretty interested.  I love kids, have been planning on being a High School teacher and I've always wanted to travel.  ILP offered all of that for a pretty affordable price for a 4 1/2 month adventure.  Next, thing I knew I was staying after the orientation and asking more questions, getting a packet full of information, going home looking through it, signing my John Hancock with some info and sending a little white envelope with a Forever Stamp.
After many months of planning, preparing, fundraising, and the help of some blessed people who helped me out! here I am teaching Children English in Voronezh, Russia.  A skill that will be able to help them immensely in life in this ever globalizing world.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me to get here! I will make you proud.  I am loving the experience and loving the Children!
This is a once in a life time opportunity that I am so happy to have been given.

So, here is my blog to keep everyone at home updated with this amazing experience.
This is my Russian Report!