Saturday, June 30, 2007
My first Donetsk trip with the @ers. After our football match with the students. We looked pretty cool heh..
Labels: AdVentUre, HaPpiNesS, LiFe
Posted by Ddee at 4:30 PM
Thursday, June 28, 2007
My first Summer Camp
Two weeks ago, on Monday, I went for my first Summer Camp with European Grammar School. It took us around 1 hour to reach ‘Starry’, our Summer Camp site. It was 11am when we reached there. I was tired and I slept throughout the journey. Hm…I was at Donetsk on Saturday, and returned the same evening and it continued with the Night Walk. So, basically I didn’t sleep until Sunday morning.
The camp site is more like a summer cottage. It belongs to one of the directors of the school. It has a swimming pool, tennis and football court, an open stage, an outdoor area for disco in the evening, a dining hall, a playground and a dorm for us. It also has several ‘houses’ for their special guests. The coolest thing is that it has a direct gate to the Samara River, just right behind the site. Woo hoo….
The first few days were a disaster to me. No one really speaks English, including the teachers. The English teacher would only be there on Thursday onwards. Some senior students can speak English but they were busy having fun with their friends. I had no idea what to do and how I could be of help. Geez….simply frustrating!
On the second day, I was told that I have English lessons 30 minutes before it started. To make it worse, the students went for this camp to have fun, they didn’t want to study anything, especially the senior students. I was upset when they showed me their attitude, a so-what kind of attitude. For God’s sake, I don’t respect you when you don’t respect me too. Teaching the small kids was not easy too as no one speaks English, so I had to use simple words, body language and acting skill. The good thing is… they’re easy to satisfy. Play some games and they’d be very happy.
At times, I felt lost and had no idea what to do. The same programmes almost every morning and afternoon made it looked like a routine for me. I was lost, what I could do there without a book to read, computer to write or play games and so on. I was desperate to end this camp. I wish I had my real friends there at the camp so I wouldn’t feel so lost and bored.
However, there were also good times too. We had Sports Day where we played football. Teachers vs students, too bad…we lost 5-9 *hahaha*. But the female teachers were simply impressive, they didn’t afraid of the ball and they used any parts of their body *I mean *ss and head. I was also in the recreational games where we had to pass the ball, crawl under the chair, walk on your hands and feet, and many more. I got my firsts bruises and scratches from here.
We also had performances, from dances, singing to dramas. Teachers were involved in the show; boys dressed as girls, girls dressed as guys. I had an enjoyable time watching the performances. At least we have three different shows. I was once involved in synchronized swimming performance with the senior female students, but it was on stage and we pretended that we’re in the swimming pool. It was fun.. and funny ^^’
In the evening, from 8pm onwards, it’s a boogie time. Disco sessions for all. The interesting thing is that they have ‘Bielle’ and ‘Wild’ dance. It’s for slow dance and bielle means the girl will ask the boy to dance with her and wild is the other way round *if I’m not mistaken.
It was so sweet (and beautiful) to look at the Grade 3-4 students asking their loved ones to dance with them. Hehehe… I would say we don’t usually have this in our countries. C’mon….girls and guys...slow dance (or couple dance)…at school…encouraged by the teachers?
Nevertheless, I was ecstatic when I learned that some @ers were planning to pay me a visit. And they really did, on Sunday afternoon. I was overjoyed, beyond words. They really made it for me, they had to walk over 3 hours in total, a marshrutka ride to the city and risked being lost in the forest. Anyway, we had fun on the beach playing football, volleyball, charade and catching up. It was the best day ever in the camp *hahaha*
Muchas gracias, amigos!
Ow…y’know what? I got sick of the food during the camp. It’s always potato, macaroni or unknown type of rice with a piece of meat. The portion was so small at times. I had enough potato!
Well, there’s more to say about the camp. Overall, it’s still an enriching experience with its ups and downs. But if I had to be there once again without my friends, I would raise my hand and tell you, “Talk to my hand!” *hahaha
Some Russian words to learn:
- Spasibo (read: spasiba): Thanks
- Pozhalusta: Please or you’re welcome
- Poka (read: paka): Bye
- Uvi dimsya: See you again
- Udachi: Good luck
- Klasna or kruta: Cool
- Privet (read: Pri-viet): Halo (informal)
- Kak dela (read: kak diela): How are you?
- Horosho (read: harosho): Good
- Ochin horosho: Very good
- Ochin ploho: Very bad
- Dela horosho (read: diela harosho): Everything is good
- Shto: What?
- Pochemu: Why?
That’s the lesson for today *hehehe* for additional words, charges applied.
Labels: AdVentUre, LiFe
Posted by Ddee at 7:12 PM
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Hope everyone is doing great in Singapore (or wherever you’re now :) ). I am back to update my life here in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Warning: I am going to write in a casual style and this is going to be a LONG email.
Time flies…I am left with less than 3 weeks here in Ukraine and I am really glad I made the right choice to come here. I had a more than superb experience here, full of ups and downs (with more ups for sure), happiness and frustrations.
To summarize, some of my great experiences and encounters for the past 1.5 months:
- I drink more juices than water (tap water is not consumable and sometimes I can’t find water without soda)
- I go to the beach more times than during my 4-year stay in Singapore. I am darker than when I first arrived in Ukraine *haha
- I eat potato just like I eat rice in Asia. Long live potato!
- My students range from 6-40 over years old. From students to businessman. Challenging yet fulfilling!
- Usually girls greet others (the ones they know) with a kiss on the cheek and thus I’ve kissed hundreds times within this period (much more than my whole life)
- I’ve got locked up outside my flat 3 times as of now. The main door closes at 11pm. So, I’ve had woken other people up to open the door for me. Great exercise and full of adrenaline -__-‘’
- My first Local Committee Congress just because we don’t have this in Singapore. Ochin kruta! Freaking cool!
- There was once when I forgot to take out my purse from my laptop bag. I hopped onto a marshrutka and well…. I didn’t pay for it when I realized that I couldn’t locate my purse. Gosh..
- For AIESEC Night Walk, we went for my first boat ride around Dnepr river, picnic under the stars, Treasure Quest, stayed on the beach at dusk and looked at the sunset while freezing myself
- I don’t like drinking but it’s a normal scene and activity in Ukraine. So, I’ve tested Vodka with berry, Vodka and juice, champagne and red wine. Not bad… although all were in small quantity due to skin allergic.
- We played some crazy scary games that kinda freaked me out (for God’s sake….I am crazy but at a standard Asian’s level)
- I went for a 2-week Summer Camp. My first Summer Camp because we don’t have any Summer Camp in Indonesia/Msia/Singapore. It’s at a summer cottage with swimming pool, tennis and football court, open stage and disco area, dining hall and dorm. My previous camp required me to share a tent with 8 more people and we had to cook our own water to drink, and it’s in a mountain. So, it’s different kind of Summer Camp (of course, this is an exception as it was organized by a private school).
- We visited Donetsk twice (4 hour/way). The second one was last weekend where we participated in @Donetsk public Global Village. Two thumbs up!
- My first rock-climbing experience at Donetsk and for ONLY 1USD. Scary at first but relieved and proud after that *yippie kaye..
- A surprise Birthday party for me from the AIESECers. I really had a great time. One of the best Bdae ever and it makes it more difficult to leave these people. I am gonna miss them for sure.
- As a girl, I’ve bought my first shirt, jacket, shorts and a pair of new shoes… more to come *hahaha
- …. Goes on and on
Here are some additional observations and info to add up the one that I posted previously:
- There are many undergraduates for Economics, Law and Foreign languages. Economics seem to be the most popular specialization due to the opportunities that it offers once they graduate (e.g. salary and employment opps)
- The education system: 10 years of primary education (Grade 1 to 10) and continues with 6 years university education (Higher Diploma on the 4th year and Master on the 6th. So, they have a Bachelor defence on their 4th year). However, as what I was informed, the primary education will be prolonged to 12 years.
- Majority of the boys like football and Shevchenko is definitely one of their idols. Meanwhile, the girls usually take dance classes or other types of sports like tennis. I learn that many of my students take hip hop or ballroom dancing and tennis classes. Volleyball is not really popular here *huhuhu
- Western bands and singers are quite popular here too, from Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake to Deep Purple. However, majority likes electro, minimalist, techno or house music kind. I can hear this almost in every shop, from cars, mobile phones and MP3.
- Generally, the youth looks older than Asians in my humble opinion. It may be due to their physical built, make-up, lifestyle and so on. The good thing is… I look younger here ^o^
- Gentleman acts like giving their hands to help the girls on the tram, stairs, etc and giving seats to the girls/elderly people, opening doors for girls, and so on is more common here than what I know in Asia. So guys… a lesson to learn here.
- Girls usually know how to cook. Eating out is expensive and thus it is important to be able to cook proper meals. Girls… our turn to learn here.
- As part of USSR influence, the streets’ names are recognition to famous and influential people, such as politicians, poets and so on (Karl Marx, Lenin, Artem, Shevchenko, etc)
As a foreigner (even in the Lion City), one question that people never missed to ask is: “Do you like the country?” To be fair, I have to frankly reply: YES!! Of course there’re times when I feel down and frustrated over things. For instance, in Ukraine I can’t really find spicy food which I like (I’m from Indonesia anyway), there is not as much variety of fruits and vegetables compare to the tropical countries, it’s hard to find English publications (except online), the movies on the TV and cinema are all dubbed, shoes are costly compare to Indonesia/Msia/Spore *hohoho* and as a shoe-lover this is challenging, the staffs at the shops are less smiley compare to Asians, no Starbucks and thus I’ve been abstaining from my fave Frappucino and so on.
Aside from these, the fact that I don’t speak Russian/Ukrainian makes it hard to go around at times, even with my own students and teachers at school. But of course, it’s fun learning new words and sentences everyday. It’s not an easy language with its complex pronunciation and grammar. They may laugh when I pronounce some words, but they were also patiently teaching me the language. In return, I taught some Chinese words and had fun laughing too. 1:1
However, I love Ukrainian food. From Borsch (soup with potato and veggie), Blinchiki (pancake) to Bublik (Russia’s traditional cookie). I like its songs and melodies (the only national channel that I watch is EmOne, a music channel). I like the comprehensive public transport. They have tram, bus, minibus, marshrutka, trolley bus, taxi, metro and so on. They serve even from cities to cities, making it easy to travel around. The fact that I stay near the city centre makes it easier for me to travel around. From European Square, MOCT shopping centre, Historical Museum, Globa Park, Shevchenko Park to the beach, all are within walking distance of 25-30 minutes. I also like the kiosk on the streets, making it easy to buy drinks and snacks. And the list continues….
Still, the one and most important reason why I love my stay here is… the FRIENDS that I met here. The students and teachers are friendly and fun to be with. Although many of them don’t really speak English, they’re trying their best to communicate. The children are so cute that they started to teach as many Russian words as possible, mess my hair, greet, hug and tickle me (sometimes they really clung onto and kiss me), ask me to play Tuki-tuki (hide and seek) and catch-and-run with them, hide my bag and many more.
Yet, my biggest salute goes to the AIESECers. They are simply incredible. Every weekend, I am rest assured that I’ll have things to do or places to visit. During my free time, I’ll have someone accompanying me and we’ll have great time discussing and hanging out. I’ve had lotsa great times doing crazy things, discussing great topics, finding out about the people themselves and their views while sharing mine, testing new food and drinks, visiting places while observing how the country works. If one day I returned to Ukraine, the biggest reason would be to meet them again.
Time is running out very fast. I just have to make the most from what I have on my hands. So, I hope you all had a great life wherever, whoever and whenever you are! Be happy J
‘Happiness comes from within’
p.s: Congratz to the @SIPO MC and the LCs EB team for 2007/2008 on their National Planning. Heard it was successful and the @spirits were splendid. I am so happy and proud for you all. Keep the spirit!
Dianochka ^.*Pictures from my Summer Camp at "Starry"
A sand-castle by the students. Impressive!! A drawing of me from Nastya... *touched :) On Birthday Day celebration, they made a heart-shaped card for me. Students and teachers wrote their message in a small heart card and pasted it on a big one. I was so happee... haha *I am easily satisfied heh With some students at the Summer Camp. How was it? hm... full of ups and downs. It's FUN at times but it got boring after a few days (maybe not if I have a bunch of my great friends there).But I was elated when some @ers visited me at the camp (they had to walk over 2 hours to reach me haha)
Labels: AdVentUre, HaPpiNesS, LiFe
Posted by Ddee at 4:21 PM
From Dnepropetrovsk with Love
An outdoor Global Village picnic at the left bank of Dnepropetrovsk.
Some of us enjoying the sun...*huhuhu
I've been to the beach many more times than when I was in Singapore. Wakaka.. am a dark dark dark Asian girl
At Global Park with free ice-cream (marozhena) from Losha (2nd from left). Guess who is the oldest?My second trip to Donetsk, 300km from Dnepropetrovsk. We were invited to participate in their Global Village. It's at a park and open for public. It was FUN FUN FUN. Anyway, I had my hair cut on my Bdae, and yeah...here it is ^^
We're invited for @Donetsk Global Village. A 4-hour trip to reach there, and of course there's always time for pictures *hehe
My new short hairstyle....huhuhu I look so chubby and boyish now -__-'
Four people from @Dnepropetrovsk attending the Global Village.
Nikundj from India, Dianochka in Singapore Airline's costume and Vova (@Dnepropetrovsk LCVP Project and Learning Network). Richard from Colombia is not in the picture.
Crazy pic? nah..its normal
We're innocent...please...please... You see the pizza resto over there? You see it?
I finally tried it yesterday hahaha
Labels: AdVentUre, HaPpiNesS, LiFe
Posted by Ddee at 3:19 PM
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
MISS YOU ALL HERE
Miss the sisterhood. Pheebs, how's HK?
Miss my Jdorama and Kdorama
Miss spicy food
Miss noodles and soups
Miss reading newspaper and magazines
Miss shopping trip to Msia
Miss taking MRT
Miss Starbucks' Frappucino
Miss chatting on MSN till early morning
Miss 23-hr Internet connection
Miss talkin to u all again...
Labels: Emo~, LiFe
Posted by Ddee at 3:12 AM
Sunday, June 10, 2007
treats everyday as the first
My first trip to Donetsk
My first rock-climbing
My first boat ride at Dnepr River
My first sunrise in Ukraine
My first sleepless night under the stars
I went to Donetsk yesterday with Yana, Dasha, Vova and Sergey. We met the @ers there. It's totally different from Kyiv and Dnepropetrovsk. It's more 'modern' and European than Dnepro. It's cleaner and there're less cars and people, unlike Kyiv and Dnepro where it's sooo crowded *hehe*
The train was late for 1 hour, so instead of arriving at 11am, we arrived at 12noon. On the train, I taught some Chinese to the guys and learned a few more Russian words. Not bad heh! Then, we went to Liverpool Cafe for lunch. Afterwhich, I was challenged by Vova to do rock-climbing outside the cafe. Bozhe moi...it's freaking cheap. At only 5rph (1USD) *hohoho*.
My heart was thumping but well, when else? So yeah...I did it. My first rock-climbing and it really ROCKS. Thanks Vova!
After that, we went to a park where there were many brides and grooms taking pictures. The park has many funny statues, from Horoscope, Ukraine's cartoon characters, to specially designed 'bridges' for the couples to take pictures, I suppose. We took many crazee pictures as always. Then, we walked to the city centre... it was sooooo COOL!!! Wahaha.... and to make it more fun, I was surrounded by FUN CRAZY people *lol
Anyway, we planned to go to a rooftop of a building. Too bad it's locked, so we ended up at the Riverside. Still, I like it. It's so beautiful and peaceful for me.
At night, we arrived at 10pm in Dnepropetrovsk. I was welcomed by Sasha and his friends at the train station, and they were doing a 'One Wish' video project. Crazy people coz I have to act in their scenes too *hoho*.
Then it's followed by a 'Night Walk' session with the other @ers. We took a boat ride at the Dnepro river, picnic under the stars, Treasure Quest and so on.
I had my first sunrise at the beach. It was freaking cool - ochin kruta. Although there's a problem of finding a toilet for myself and I was exhausted from my Donetsk trip, I really appreciate what they did. Thanks muchie friend :)
My laptop is ALIVE!! Thanks to Vova and Lesha. Too bad that Fujitsu is not a popular choice here, so they couldn't find the soundcard disc... my lappie has no sound now. Furthermore, the windows is in Russian... cool man!
Labels: AdVentUre, HaPpiNesS, LiFe
Posted by Ddee at 8:09 PM
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Not too many pics....I dunno why it cant load :(
The cool family in Kyiv. They were really awesome and almost made my tears flow. Going with us to the train station, running to catch the train, helping me with my luggages, checking in and dancing in front of the train for the farewell... *you guys are CRAZY, but I love you all still
My first day of work, we stopped by at a Flowers Market. Simply beautiful!It was still cold at that time... look at my clothes :)
I am going to Donetsk this Saturday with some friends...unsure who they are for now. It's a small town outside Dnepropetrovsk, maybe 3-4 hours to reach there. So, better leave early in the morning so we can come back on time, coz they lock my flat's main door at 11pm. Hope it's a great trip.
Talking about main door, I was locked outside my flat twice already. I have no key for the main door, and I don't feel like asking for one *it creates bad image for me haha
- One, it's after the disco. It's 2am and we had to wake the people at level one up. He was angry for sure and spoke in Russian. I had nothing else to say except sorry and thank you.
- Two, I went for an evening walk with Vova to see the city. It's so cool at night *hoho I've never been there at night* and we returned at 11.20pm. Yap, again..I have to wake some people up and thanks God, the girl speaks English. Otherwise, she wouldn't want to open the door at all.
- I hope there won't be any third time haha
Anyway, I am leaving for the Summer Camp from 11th - 23rd June. So, from next Monday onwards, I won't check my emails, update my blog or do anything online. I hope it's gonna be a great camp, not too scary. I was informed today that Oleg, the English teacher from the school, is going to be at the camp only for 1 week. So, I am gonna be left by myself....and some nice students who are willing to help me out, I hope. Well, with regards to the camp, I have to buy some new shirts and a swimming suit too... huhuhu
Okie...will update again... I am seriously darker than when I arrived here. We went to a river for a picnic last Saturday, and thus.... I am darker hahaha we played truth or dare, my fave game. My dare?? don't ask me.
Take care ^^
Labels: AdVentUre, HaPpiNesS, LiFe
Posted by Ddee at 1:15 AM