Hello Everyone!

Happy April and Happy Spring!  One year ago, I departed California and embarked on my new adventure.   It has been an amazing year!  Life is always busy, always fun, always interesting!  Thanks to Skype, Facebook, and Gmail, I do not feel that far away from family and friends! 

My Friday English classes are fun and entertaining.  Thanks to Peace Corps TOEFL (Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) volunteers and my daughter, I have LOTS of materials to help my young students speak "American English"....Last week my students read stories that Frances' class has sent to me.  The students read very well; questions centered on "What is a  rollercoaster" and "What is  HomeTown Buffet"!  

In the photo below, we are playing a game, "Pronounce the English letters then say words that begin with the letter.". 

 Below, we are matching words and pictures.

My cooking club is cooking up a storm.  The Ukrainian cooks showed us how to make пироги-- pierogis or little pies.  We had LOTS of fun and as usual, I learn something new at each cooking session.  This session I learned that Ukrainians can chop, grate and shred a lot faster than any Cuisinart.  If there was a race, I am fairly certain the Ukrainians would come in first!

Making sure the liquid (Kefir and sour cream together)  is warm but not too hot - then mix with flour, salt,
egg white beaten frothy, then beaten yolk!

Slicing the dough, making pockets and putting stuffing in the pockets.

Slowly frying the pierogis.

Mixing all the salad ingredients by hand.  James Beard would be so proud - use your hands!!!

Finished products - delicious.

I have had fun learning a new make-you-own-movie-from-your-videos program.  Some of you that have Facebook have probably seen Caroline's "Home Movies".  Movies seem a good way to also capture the face of the area and the country where I am now living.  I cannot seem to upload them to the blog, so I will attach the videos separately with the email to all.
I guess I still have a lot to learn about technology!

While I will never receive any movie director awards, I was awarded a small grant, $500, to help fix the sinks and bathrooms in my organization's office.  YES!!  The information for the grant can be found at:  http://appropriateprojects.com/node/603.  If anyone would like to donate to the water project, there is a "donate" now button at the bottom of the project page.  I am always thankful for all the help and back pats you send to me.
The leaky, drippy faucet - one of several -- I hope to fix!
April will be very busy!  Friday, April 8, I take a 15 hour train to Nikolaev. I will be attending a training session for CAMP MASCOT counselors.  I am a counselor for this summer camp, which is an English Immersion/ Art Camp for teenagers.  We will be staying the Petro Mohyla Black Sea State University - Ukraine for the training as well as for the summer camp.   After Nikolaev, I will go to Crimea and stay with friends and together, we will visit several different organizations for orphans and for the disabled.  On Friday, April 14, I will go to Simferopol for a Friday meeting and for Saturday and Sunday touring in Bakhchisaray and possibly Yalta.

Very briefly--- Bakhchisaray (Бахчисарай), about 20 miles (33 km) southwest of Simferopol is a region with a long and diverse history. The area has been home to Khazars (possibly), Crimean Karaim, Crimean Tatars and Russians. The name, Bakhchisaray, is derived from a Persian phrase meaning "garden palace". The area outside the city offers some spectacular hiking.  You can find lots more information about Bakhchisaray on the internet or at 

On April 30, the Peace Corps volunteers in my region will be hosting a project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps.  We will be having a festival with wheelchair dancing, singing, and art projects for children from all the different schools and projects where we (Peace Corps volunteers) work.   You will hear about this in my next blog.

Thanks so much for all the comments and all the kind emails.  I enjoy what I am doing!

Until the next blog, have a wonderful Easter.