Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Dust Tastes Sweet

Before coming to Russia the article that most occupied my thoughts of my upcoming adventure was the teaching.  I knew I would be doing some traveling and sightseeing, and that it was going to be preposterously cold!  I knew I would be meeting new people and trying new food.  I knew I would be living in a new culture and having some different experiences of living away from home much further than little old Ephraim.  All of this came with my Russian adventure, but on the top of that list was always the teaching.  I could say it was at the top because it was what I was most excited for, or because that is why I’m here- to be a volunteer English teacher.  But, to say that would be to taste a lie.  Teaching was the thing I was most scared about.
I was so nervous having no idea really what to expect.  I had no clue what classes I would be teaching or even if I would be good at it.  Could I keep control of my kids?  Would they dislike me and think I was no fun?  Would I be too strict or too lenient?  Could I remember the BMC’s?  Was my mind capable of the creativity needed to prepare ten different activities a week?  Could I even make lesson plans?  Would I be able to understand my students or would they even understand me?  Could I really teach?  I was terrified of the job approaching me.
Now, I find myself two months into being an English teacher in a foreign country and the thing I most feared has become the easiest matter to handle and adjust to.  It was definitely difficult in the beginning, which only heightened my already anticipated stress.  But, I quickly adjusted and learned the methods of teaching, I caught onto the art of lesson planning and found I had more than a seed of creativity stowed away in my brain.  I succeeded in establishing a class who respects me as their teacher, and also knows that I want to have fun.  And we do!  :)  I love teaching.  Amazing how the thing I most feared is the thing that has really been the easiest!  I dare say the most rewarding.
All the rest of my Russian experience has come to be the hard part.  In the beginning everything was so fun, so exciting and new, so different.  The food was different and good, the new means of transportation by bus was fun, and the cold wasn’t that bad (Don’t get me wrong on that, I didn’t say it wasn’t cold I just said it wasn’t bad :)  That attitude I believe came with the excitement of the extreme I was living in!)  Now, those things are just part of the experience and I feel the new excited feeling has worn off to familiarity.  Right now I just really miss the comforts of home. 
Homesickness has really been settling in the last little while.  So, just for the record when I said, “I won’t be homesick” to some of you family and friends, yepp, I’m eatin those words now and they taste funny.  It’s a weird thing to be homesick; it’s weird to find yourself in a place so different from the usual and know that the usual is very, very far away- unattainable actually.
It’s not that bad though really.  I mean this experience is so neat!  There are so many things that have happened to me since being here that overwhelmingly outrun that thing called homesickness.  I am so grateful to be here, I am so grateful for what I have gained from this experience so far.  And, to think I’m just barely half way through it.  There is more ahead!  Much more awesomeness in store.  :)
The opponent to homesickness is in the lead by far.  Look at that!  Her testimony has grown, and her skills at interacting with different personalities and different people have been exercised and strengthened.  She has learned some Russian!  She has gained experience in teaching, and grown in her skills of interaction with children!  She’s enhanced gratitude for her blessings at home of friends, family, an incredible country, and an education.  She has experienced what it's like to have to travel more than a  five minute walk to get to church and had the opportunity to be in a branch.  She has been able to share her testimony through action and through word.  She has fed from the knowledge and testimonies of others around her.  She has learned to be friends with people whom she probably would not have chosen to be friends with if given the option.  And in that has gained some new lifelong friends!  She has visited St. Basil’s Cathedral, had Borsch, sweat like a pig in a Russian Sauna, and she’s tasted of the joy of European Chocolate after every meal!  (Yes, I said every meal :)) …….  Look at her go.  She is winning this race by a long run; Mr. H doesn’t even have chance.  

Eat my Dust Homesickness. Eat it! :)

These kids make me so Happy!  I mean just look at them! Goofy, Shy, Adorable, and Fun.  And SO ready to learn. What more could I ask for?  Oh and they bring me flowers, chocolate, pancakes :), and draw me cute notes on the board and draw me pictures.  I love these kids to no end!

"I Love you" -From Alisa
"Liza Love Miss Angela <3" -From Liza
"Miss Angela is lovely" -From Stefania

Wearing our Peter Pan Hats!  Dima, Dasha, and Sveta. "I'll Never Grow up. No, sir, not I!"
Life is just too much fun!! :)

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