Spring is Ukraine is truly the most wonderful time of the year (I may be a little biased): snow melts, green grass appears, and the birds and flowers finally make an appearance after hiding for months!
I have been kept VERY busy this spring! Between teaching 18 classes a week, running 3 clubs, tutoring, and getting my 3rd cold (which turned into a sinus infection) since moving to Ukraine, I have had little time to relax.
Luckily, Ukrainians love their holidays and there are plenty of those in April and May. We celebrate: Easter on April 16th, Labor Day (a.k.a. May Day) on May 1st and 2nd, the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation (which recognizes those who died in WWII) on May 8th, Victory Day (a celebration of the victory over Nazi Germany and the end of WWII) on May 9th.
Since these holidays are national holidays, I have been able to take time from school and spend time with my host family and friends. Easter was a particularly interesting holiday that consisted of traveling a few hours to the Southwest and spending the weekend with family. We arrived during the late afternoon on Saturday, in Kobelyaky. We spent the rest of the day playing games, eating LOTS of food, and spending time with each other. After a fun filled day, we finally went to sleep around midnight…and then woke up just a few hours later. We woke up around 3:00 am to go to the church and have the priest blessed our Easter food and drinks. After waiting in the cold for about an hour we could go back home and eat (and drink) our blessed items. Once we had consumed all the goodies, we finally got to sleep! Luck was on my side that morning because Ukrainians love to sleep just as much as I do. Our second day in Kobelyaky began around noon on Sunday.
I’m very happy to say that most of the holidays I have spent in Ukraine have involved these same kind of traditions (i.e. drinking and eating lots of delicious things, as well as spending time with family and friends). I will admit that I was a little bit annoyed at first by all the random holidays that Ukrainian celebrated, especially when I didn’t find out about them until the day before and I had already made out my lesson plans for that day. I am now enjoying these holidays (that aren’t as random as I first thought) and look forward to spending time with the people I love.
Here are some pictures of how I have spent spring in Ukraine:
(Nature walks with my host family)
(Sharing packages with my host sister)
(Attending dance performances)