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July 8, 2013

Posted by americanex in Uncategorized.
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Independence Day in America July 8, 2013

Posted by americanex in Uncategorized.
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Independence Day, or 4th of July, is a very special holiday in the United States.  It is the birthday of America.  This year America is 237 years old.  The children who come to the Window on America Center at our library are always interested in American holidays, so we planned an activity to show them how this holiday is celebrated in America.  We also talked about Independence Day (August 24th) in Ukraine.  When we asked the children how they celebrated Independence Day in Ukraine, they said that they listened to a concert, heard speeches, had picnics and went swimming.

In America, on 4th of July, there are parades with a lot of music, speeches about freedom and the history of America, picnics and swimming.  The most common celebration of 4th of July in America is to have a fireworks display.  Most cities and towns in America have a fireworks show in the evening of 4th of July.

We watched some videos about Independence Day in America.  The best one was a video produced by a 5th grade class in America.  They answered questions about the 4th of July with their voices and their drawings.  It was interesting and funny.  Then our children wrote good wishes for America’s birthday on the stars on a large poster.  The event gave the children information about American 4th of July and an opportunity to think about the meaning of Ukrainian independence as well.

Summer in Kherson July 1, 2013

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My Family
Here I am enjoying my second summer in Kherson.  I came to Kherson last year on June 1, 2012.  Everything seemed very strange to me at this time last year.  Even taking the Marchutka to work was an adventure.  Was I taking the correct bus? Would I recognize my bus stop? Could I remember how to walk to the library?  And then there was the adventure of shopping in the Bazaar.  Now all of this seems routine to me, and I can sit on the bus and think about my day or the movie I saw last night and still find the bus stop and the library.

My first year in Kherson passed very quickly.  Last summmer was very hot, the autumn weather was a relief, the winter was cold and icy, and it was wonderful to watch everything come alive again in the spring.  My husband and I have made wonderful friends, enjoyed our work, learned a lot about Ukraine, and adjusted to the things that are different from our lives in America.  We are excited about the work we will do during our second year, now that we understand our living situation so much better.

Here at the library, we have had a whole school year of English Clubs, covering many interesting topics.  About 90 children of all ages, and levels of speaking English, participate in the Clubs on Sunday morning.  I visited many of the elementary and secondary schools in the city with my wonderful colleagues from the Window on America room.  We did an English lesson with the children, and encouraged them to visit the library and attend the English Club.  Many of our Club participants came from these visits.  We always tell the kids about the resources that are available through Window on America.  I learned that very young children who speak some English usually have a parent who speaks English and works with the child to encourage this language development. For other children, during the 5th Form it seems to be the year that they really begin to understand and speak the language.  Many older children speak English (and sometimes German) quite well.  In fact, one of the surprises for my husband and I in Kherson is that there are many residents of the city who can speak some English.  This has helped us many times when we were lost or confused.

Personally this has been a year of very interesting travel for myself and my husband, and sometimes our daughter Molly.  We have now visited Chernigiv, Kiev, Odessa, Simferopol, Sevastopol, Yalta, Bakhchysarai, and Stary Krym in Ukraine and we plan to visit Donets’k and Lviv during our next year.  We have been to Odessa and Kiev several times and have learned our way around.  Two weeks ago, in Kiev, we even went swimming at Gydropark and saw the famous weight lifting area. 

The famous weight lifting area, Gydropark in Kiev

We have also been fortunate to travel abroad to Istanbul, Paris, Barcelona, and the Costa del Sol.  Every place we have visited, both in Ukraine and abroad has been a great adventure.  It is a wonderful benefit of being a Peace Corps volunteer and we now realize how fortunate we are to have a United States passport.

Christopher Columbus pointing to America, Barcelona, Spain

photo 3

I will be at the library during the summer, usually on Monday and Wednesdays, if you would like to stop in and chat. And in September, we will begin another season of English Clubs and visits to schools.  Enjoy your summer, have a rest,  visit the sea and I will look forward to seeing you.