Ukraine. Wanting to use the remaining allowed “out of country” days during the last weeks of my Fulbright term, I rang in 2019 in Kyiv, visiting on January 1st the incredibly moving Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), wandering the city’s churches, snagging a taxi to a folk park, and taking a painting lesson in the decorative Petrykivka… Continue reading Favorite Stuff of 2019
This is the story of a student, and this is the story of a teacher. You will want something heartwarming, uplifting, and transformative. Perhaps this is not that. *** At the end of January 2018, I returned from five months of living and teaching in the country of Belarus where I was a Fulbright Scholar.… Continue reading Do You Have Time for Me?
I was tired, but not so tired that my only aim was sleep. Rather, I wanted a beer. It was my first night in Belarus, and after having a wander through the neighborhood, I was ready to relax in my hotel room. Fortunately, there was a bar in the reception area, and the young woman… Continue reading Tweaks
I’ve been in Belarus more than three months now — long enough to have learned a bit of the culture and started detecting patterns, but not so long that I’ve stopped rubber-necking my way through each day. Three months in, I find myself teetering between easy familiarity and continued awe. I know now that I… Continue reading Belarus: Eleven Surprises
My friend Helen, a colleague at the university, arranged the whole thing. Weeks ago, Helen pinned down a date when I’d be free to visit her son Sasha’s gymnasium (an academically advanced K-12 school) — the same gymnasium she, herself, attended — and spend some time talking to the English teachers. The idea was born… Continue reading Who, Me?
His grunting is muffled, but still, every “oof” and muttered curse can be heard in the hallway where his wife and I are stifling our laughter. She speaks a few words of English, and I have a smidgen of tatty Russian, but we don’t need language to share a giggle, especially when it’s about the… Continue reading First of the Month
Wait. What? I am skimming down the crumbling stairs, focusing on not tripping. It occurred to me early on that I don’t want to get hurt while in Belarus — not that I ever want to get hurt anywhere, but I hope to be particularly careful during my time here because I don’t know how… Continue reading Waking Up
I can’t keep up with the apples. Even at my current pace of eating two a day — BACK OFF, DOC! — I can’t keep up with the apples. Nearly every time I leave my apartment, some kind person slips an apple into my hand, topples a dish full of them into a bag for… Continue reading Little Pink Houses for You and Me