Teaching in Mariupol

Here is the picture of the infamous train.  If my Ukranian students are starting to read this… Yak Spravy!

Class #1.  These guys can accurately use the word “Foschizzle!”  Example.  Mr. Bundy is awesome.  Response.  “Fooschizzle!”

Class #2.  When they leave class or see me in the hall, they say “peace out!” We had a great discussion about their feelings about Lenin and Stalin.  Their history is much diferent than ours and they admire much of what Lenin did and Stalion also.  I talked some about Roosevelt and our contemporary leaders.  Quite interesting.  Se the guy on the back row, 2nd from the left?  He looks just like Austin!  Don’t you think!?

Class #3.  This was the most serious class.  We talked about politics and social issues.  Much like you guys.  Very intellectual bunch! 

The tradition is for Ukranian couples in Mariupol that are getting married to put a lock on this little bridge and throw away the key.  It signifies a love that can’t be broken, just like the lock can’t be broken.  I put a lock on for Mrs. Bundy.  See, I am one romantic dude..again! 

They engrave their names on the lock. 

Not only do I like pigeons, but for some reason when I have birdseed..they flock to me!

The longest train ride in history…16 hours from Kiev to Mariupol


As I walk into the train station, I recognize instantly this is a monument to Stalinism.  A relic of the Cold War.  The grand lobby is huge and in the middle is the largest and most beautiful chandelier I have ever seen.  The station is alive with activity and this
seems to be the place to be.  Shops, families, travelers.  I am excited.  We walk through the entire station and then proceed down three sets of stairs and all of  a sudden, there is a different feeling.  It is not quit as electric, it is more subdued and the Kiosks are small and old.  Then there in front of us is our train.  I look at the train and in my mind
I think of the children’s story, “The little Engine that Could.”  But this is the little engine much later in life.  All aboard!

The train is also a Soviet relic.  I can see the attempts to keep it up, but the attempts are mainly layer upn layer of paint. Irena, my Ukrainian liaison, helps me as we trundle up the narrow stairs into the train car.  We find cabin #11 and my seat and I see instantly that I have too much luggage.  I am that crazy American with the huge suitcase and the carry-on.  Then my Ukrainian travel partner enters and he speaks a little English and I find out his name is” Ivan.”  Perfect.

The seat/bed is exactly six feet long.  I know because my head touches the wall at
one end and my feet touch at the other.  As I lay on the bed my right arm touches the wall and my left arm the edge of the bed.  Ivan is about 18 inches away from me.  It will be a cozy 16 hours.  I like Ivan, he is very polite and we seem to be able to communicate whatever is needed.  The residual effects of jet lag hit me and by
6 p.m., I am fast asleep.

I wake up at 2:30 a.m. and I am wide awake and looking for the bathroom.  I would like to freshen up and walk around a bit.  We just happen to be at a stop and so the bathroom is closed during all train stops.  Seems a little odd, but I can wait.  I finally get in to the toilet area and take the opportunity to brush my teeth and splash some water on my face.  It took me a good five minutes to figure out the water process.  There are two knobs that have to be turned just right and then there is a rudimentary plunger on
the faucet itself that you have to manipulate and then the water appears. Woo
hoo as my students would say, I have water. Then it is time to use the “facilities.”
Not the greatest, but this proceess I figure out pretty quickly.  When I am done and flush, I see the train tracks flowing by under the flushing toilet. Then I remember the restrooms were closed at the train stops and now I know why.

The train stops at about 6:30 a.m. and the nice Ukrainian lady that is in charge of the train car shows me all ten fingers indicating that I can walk around at the train station for about ten minutes.  I welcome the fresh air and the opportunity to stretch my legs.  I reenter the train and as I look out the window at the sights of Ukraine as they pass by, I am excited to meet my host teacher and continue this great adventure in a country
that is captivating me with unexpected vigor and excitement.





Daily Life in Kiev

If you ever get lost, just look at the street signs.

This guy could “rock it!”  DJ and RJ and Colby would love this guy!


Flowers for Mrs. Bundy.  I am such a romantic dude!

I found the German Embassy and they have a part of the Berlin Wall in the front.


Looks like Clayton and Desmond are in charge of this construction site.

I finished “Hunger games.”  I read the English version

Robbie and Austin, this sign says “keep off the grass”  so the next time you go for a walk, stay on the sidewalk.






Traveling around Kiev

I answered the questions from yesterdays posts.  If you go to the bottom of the post and click on replys, you can see the questions I have answered.  By the way, 2nd hour is in trouble.

I tried russian caviar and I have to admit…..it is as bad as I thought it would be.

If the State Representative thing goes haywire, I have been offered the Presidency of Ukraine and this will be my new office. The sign is the entrance of the Presidents office.

The Soviets may not have known how to run a government, but they could sure build a monument.  I walked around telling everyone that we (the U.S.) whooped them in the Cold War.  An ode to all my old B-52 and B-1 buddies.  I am the little feller in the front.

Four very nice “Babushkas” in  front of the biggest Easter egg I have ever seen.  Desmond, “Babushka” is a respectful term for an older women.

I kept saying “come here, boy.”  But as you can see, the dog thought I was not the sharpest stick in the stack.  Then I remembered..The dog speaks Ukranian!  So I said, “Yak Spravy, little doggy” and we became the best of friends.


I arrived in Ukraine!

Ten people stopped me on my first walk around the city to chat.  I can only say “Yak Spravy” and “Poka.”  Short conversations.  Join me on my walk.  I definitly need to get the story behind the picture on the side of the house.

I still like pigeons!  You might see a few this trip.

What would he world do without Coke and McDonald’s.  Man I feel like I have been awake for over 42 hours.  Wait, I have!  The guy next to me on the 8 hour flight from Chicago to Frankfurt wanted to sit in my seat,. or so it seemed.  It was fun, and I am now listening to Ukranian pop music on the radio.

Just a quick nope today, I don’t want you to think I am in a russian prison with Tom Cruise.