My first round of teaching is over and next week we will have a whole new batch of students. I honestly can’t believe that November is here. Boy, has time flown. It is amazing how this place is slowly becoming a second home to me. In light of the new “semester” this blog post is dedicated to all the great, well actually funny things that have happened thus far in my new home of the one and only Kiev.
There is a reason my parents didn’t name me Grace. I won’t be winning awards in ballet anytime soon. You mix me with a moving bus and people packed in like a can of sardines, and well the picture isn’t pretty. It’s like the game Twister on wheels. I was never good at the game Twister on solid, hard, non-moving ground. So here I am, backpack on, purse in one hand, other hand grasped on tightly to a sorry excuse of a railing in the bus, when the driver ferociously steps on his breaks. I lunge forward and grab hold of the first thing in sight, which happens to be some poor guy’s leg. Let me tell you a little bit about Ukrainian culture. They are not really a “touchy-feely” kind of people, so this little grab of the leg was a big “No No”. He just looked at me and didn’t say a word, but he didn’t’ need to. I could tell by the look in eyes he was not pleased. I racked my brain for ‘sorry’ in Russian but it just would not come, however I think the look of embarrassment and the red that was creeping all over my face was enough for him and he went on his “merry” way. I think what I need to do is wear a sign on the bus or metro that says: “If you value the safety of your toes or don’t want to be bumped into, stand at least 2 ft away at all times”… maybe then I can go through a week without an “incidence”.
-Waiting for the infamous “Twister on wheels”
If you know me at all then you know I LOVE ICE CREAM!! One day Amanda and I were walking down the street and we stopped at one of the many little ice cream stands because we decided to give in and feed our tiny ice cream monsters that live in our bellies. I was decided to practice my Russian and read off the flavor I wanted to the lady, which was the vanilla and chocolate swirl (or so I thought). So there I was, quite pleased that I still remembered the sounds of the alphabet, when I took a nice big bite of the ice cream. Let me tell you folks, that was the WORST vanilla ice cream I have ever tasted in my life! Maybe perhaps, because it wasn’t vanilla ice cream, but rather lemon ice cream. I made Amanda try some because I was so confused by the flavor. “Kayla,” she calmly said, “that is not vanilla ice cream.” “Yeah, well I can see that,” I retorted. “You know, I think it is lemon,” she replied. I then took another bite and that’s when my taste buds recognized the lemon. It’s quite shocking for your poor little mouth when it is expecting vanilla and it gets lemon instead. I decided to look at the Russian word for what I ordered and that’s when I my cheeks turned two shades redder and I began to chuckle. The Russian word for lemon has an uncanny resemblance in sound to the English word lemon. In fact, they sound pretty much exactly the same, except with one you say it with a Russian accent and the other an American. I felt pretty silly at that point, but now I will never forget what the Russian word for lemon is.
When I was packing my father told me I would not need duct tape. Oh how those words could not be more untrue. When we first moved into our apartment the pipes leading from our hot water heater had a slight leak and would drip occasionally. We didn’t think anything of it because it was so minute. One evening, as Amanda and I were preparing finals for our students, we heard this sound of gushing water. Immediately we knew what it was and ran to the bathroom. There was the infamous pipe waving around like a dragon and spewing out boiling water in lieu of fire. This entire scene struck a chord with our funny bone and we got the giggles, almost to the point of immobilizing us. To make matters worse I needed the bathroom in the worst kind of way, but since it was being flooded I was fresh out of luck. After brainstorming for what seemed like an eternity, between roars of laughter, I realized I had duct tape and we fashioned the pipe onto the water heater so the water wouldn’t deluge the entire apartment. The pictures below explain what we did much better than I can.
However, this last story I am going to share takes the cake: it is, in my opinion, definitely the most funny and embarrassing. When we were still living in the church the light bulb in the little bathroom that we used went out. Thankfully, someone in my Student Missionary Orientation class told me to bring a headlamp so Amanda and I still had light when we went to the bathroom. However, one “fateful” day when I went to the bathroom I did not lock the door properly and yes, you guessed it, someone walked in one me. However, if this was not embarrassing enough I was in the dark decked with my headlamp on. The lady was so confused by the sight before her that when she closed the door quickly she decided that she needed to see if what she saw was true and yes, did a double take AND OPENED THE DOOR AGAIN! I was so shocked by the whole thing that my only reaction was an explosion of laughter. What else was I to do? Honestly, I think the lady was more embarrassed and confused by the strange girl with the light on her head than I was by being walked in on in while going to the bathroom. When I told Amanda there were more spurts of laughter. After that incident the church ladies never looked at me at the same way. Oh, how I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall and heard what they said, but for now I can only imagine.
I hope you enjoyed these short little anecdotes and that they brought a smile to your face or a little chuckle. One of my favorite things in life is laughter. I think Solomon was onto something when he said, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).