(All opinions and descriptions of life in Ukraine contained herein are mine. I do not, nor am I qualified to,
express the official opinions of the Peace Corps or the U.S. Government.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy birthday to my city!

Happy 276th Birthday Armyansk! The actual birthday was yesterday, but I wanted to make this blog post to comment on Armyansk and the way that i've seen it grow as a city over the past few years. I know that two years not a great deal of time comparatively... but I really feel like i've seen a great amount of positive change here since I first arrived both physically and mentally.

First of all, I think Armyansk has undergone through a set of changes that are setting it up to be more family friendly. The center of the town has been remodeled to be more comfortable with walk ways and benches. Also, shops have been added as well as upgrades to schools. I think that in this way Armyansk is investing in it's kids and it's a great to see it invest in its future like this.

Secondly, maybe it's because i've become so accustomed to this place, but people here seem much more laid back and more at ease. I think it may have to do with the fact that things physically are getting better, but people honestly seem happier. I've seen people smile at me on the street, which I don't remember ever happening when I first arrived.

Day of the city was a culmination of my time here. With a little under 3 months left in Ukraine, I feel like this is kind of like a pre-goodbye party to all the people in the city here. It was a great day to say the least. It started with Dasha, Vanya and Nastya and I going to the bazaar and getting a TON of vegetables for so cheap. This is the season to get vegetables in Ukraine, due to the fact that people are trying to get rid of their surplus veggies before the fall is over. I love it.. I can get so much stuff for so cheap, and it's all super delicious (home grown of course).

After the bazaar we went home and made some Carrot Cake for the evening, which came out fantastic and then went over to Dasha's and to the center. I forgot to mention that my photo students and I won awards from the city for entering a "My Armyansk" photo competition, so we were given our awards in front of the entire city. It was such a great feeling to see our work being recognized, and I felt really proud of my students!

After the awards ceremony we went back and ate all the vegetables we bought at the bazaar in the form of a meet stuffed pumpkin. It came out awesome thanks to Dasha and Vanya. They are the best cooks, I have learned how to cook so well from them. Afterwards we headed to the center again to see some famous Ukrainian pop stars sing, and then for the fireworks. The night ended with us dancing and singing with Dasha's daughters. It was truly a blessed day. I feel very lucky to be here doing what I am, and witnessing the growth of this wonderful country.

Shopping time!

Picking the best

Cho pa chom? (Translation "slang": how much?)

Peppers! Like a ton of different colors.. yum!
Pumpkin that we chose.

Lilyok and I


Butterfly face.

Fancy face painting

Painting clay figurines

Ginger angel painting

My fish!
Abstract art

Crazies with ice cream.

Mmm mmm Czech beer.


AK shooting!

Plastic fishin

Award ceremony

My students and I with our certificates. We also won bags and photo paper.


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