Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The End

Well, here we are! The last week of classes and my very last post! I feel relieved and sad at the same time. I have enjoyed writing my posts and looked forward every week to see your comments to them. And you HAD no choice but to read and comment to my sick jokes or there would’ve been no grade :-) But with the pressure of 17 hours it has been a bit of a challenge to stay on top of my writing every single week.

I have been in this class with some of you guys since August of 2009! I have read most of your papers. I have cried over some and laughed over the other. I have made 2 pretty good friends here and I hope to be able to take more classes with them in the future. I know for sure that I will have one of them in my summer class and I plan to harass him till he quits it :-)

This class has been one of my favorite classes and it really helped me develop as a writer. I would love to keep writing here but unfortunately with everything that goes on in my life it is just not possible. This summer I am taking two writing intensive classes so all of my energy will be directed towards them! So this is my very last post on this blog.

I want to end this post by saying how much I appreciate all of your kind comments and that it was a privilege to take this class with you! I hope all of you have a wonderful summer and I want to wish you the best of luck in your future classes. You are most welcome to email me any time you want or you can also find me on Facebook.

Fare well! До-побачення!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


This has been one of the most hectic weeks of my life. I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Losing 5 days last week due to sickness was not much help either. And next week is promising to be just as hectic. But the end is near and my reward for hard work will be a trip with my family to the African island of Zanzibar! Visiting Zanzibar has been my dream for many years now but we have never had enough money to actually go there. This year we finally have enough and so, Zanzibar, here I come!

You guys are probably wondering where in the world is Zanzibar? Well, it is a beautiful island about 30 miles of off the Tanzanian mainland. Zanzibar is where Africa and Middle East meet! The cultures have fused together to create a wonderful and unique flavor. The things I want to see the most are some amazing old carved doors. They are located in the old part of the city, the Stone Town. I have heard so much of them and it will be wonderful to finally see them. Zanzibar is also famous for the vide variety of spices, the most famous of them being cloves. The Stone Town market is full of all sorts of spices and other neat things to buy. My kids are excited about the beaches and being able to see century old turtles. Unfortunately not all of Zanzibar’s history is sweet and colorful. Many years ago it was used as a base for Arab slave traders. Heaven knows how many poor souls have gone through the island on their way into a life of pain and despair.

Another good thing about this trip is that I will get to spend a couple days with my Afrikaner friend Karlien! Karlien used to live in Malawi and we were the best of friends. She is a lot like me only with an Afrikaans accent! We used to get together and plan how we were going to kill off our husbands for insurance purposes. Right now Karlien lives in Dar-es-Salam. I have not seen her in years and it will be absolutely wonderful to see how she is and how her girls, Anna-Mart and Karon, are doing. I’m sure we will not sleep that night, talking long into the night about everything and nothing.

And I should not forget to mention the actual trip itself! Instead of flying we are going to drive all the way from Zomba, Malawi, to Dar-es-Salam! In Malawi we will take the lake shore route and it will be so picturesque! Then I will get to see my second African country! Ah, I just can’t wait :-)

American men v Ukrainian men

I know my paper sounds like Matthew Liberty’s “Old Cow v New Cow.” It’s just lately I have had to deal with Ukrainian men again and I have remembered why I did not want anything to do with them! About a month ago I got a phone call from my step-dad to come to Ukraine and sell my house because he does not want to mess with it anymore. The request came so suddenly that I really did not know how to answer. It’s not like I live in the next town over; I am in the middle of nowhere in Africa! You just do not jump in a car and you are there! On top of everything else, I’m a mother, wife and a full time student. I can’t just drop my life as it is and be on the next plane to Ukraine! But my dad’s favorite saying is “Sluhay syuda!” which means, “You listen to me, you ignorant fool, and get over here!”

So now I am trying to get everything taken care from here so I can just go, sign the papers, get the money, and leave. Since my house is actually one half of a duplex, the most reasonable thing would be to sell it to the guy who lives in the second half. I try to call Sergey, this potential buyer, over and over to see if he wants it. Finally I get through and tell him how much I want for it. His reaction? “Dollars?” No, Soviet rubles! Of course I want US dollars! Only later on, Lena, my sister, told me that it was his way of saying that I want too much for that house. Now his “thinking it over time” is up and I am trying to get a hold of him again to see whether he will take it or if I should go to a real estate agent. Every time his phone rings a couple of times it starts to make busy signal all of a sudden. I started getting this nagging feeling that he is putting me off and does not want to talk. Why? Ukrainian men are very proud and it would kill them to tell a woman that they cannot afford to buy something. Ohhh! I forgot all about that little nuance. So, I’m giving him till Sunday to decide. If he still will not answer his phone, the house is going to the agent! I’m in no mood to play these cross-cultural games!

You may wonder, “Why did she name this blog ‘American men v Ukrainian men’?” I know, there are a lot of not overly nice men in America and I have had the displeasure of meeting several of them on occasion. But yet those American men do not hold a candle to the arrogance and “know it all” attitude of men in Ukraine and Russia. Let me present Putin as my example! The guy is your typical embodiment of a Slav male who never smiles and gets drunk just about every single day! Two of my sisters married such “jewels” that get drunk every pay day and then beat them severely if they dare to ask what they will do now that there is no money to buy food! And if they do not feel man enough, they beat their children as well! I know that there are some really nice men in Ukraine as well but somehow they are lost in the shadow of the really bad ones.

I would like to end this rant by letting you ladies cherish your American men because you could have been married to something that crawled from under a rock in Ukraine!