Monday, May 19, 2014

THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN AMERICA

With the fact that I am leaving in just two weeks, I feel like I need to write a blog about something I love deeply. America. 
I have never felt so patriotic to my country before. 
But hey you readers, don't be mistaken. I LOVE UKRAINE. It's the most beautiful place I have ever lived and my heart is broken to leave. To explain what I mean I suppose I'll just ramble on about the life here of citizens- not volunteer teachers who are living the life. 
More often than not when we say "we're American!" A Ukrainian soon after says with the full sincerity of their heart "oh it is my biggest dream to go to America!" 
After a while us teachers had a few conversations where we said ignorant things to eachother such as "why do they want to go to America so bad? Their country is beautiful and it doesn't feel too different. I feel like they build it up so much and would be disappointed after arriving to the USA." 
I wish I had never said that. You see I looked at Ukraine at face value with little respect to the things you can't see. Freedom. What a term we throw around. Recently, I saw a Facebook post that stated "Americans aren't free. We just think we are" 
I hope to change this person's perspective with my small bit of experience in a second world country by reminding them that Ukrainians aren't free and they know they're not. 

One night a taxi driver began with the usual statement "oh it's my dream to go to America one day!" He then explained that he loves photography but there's not a need in Ukraine for it. No one can afford it. So he can't chase his love of creating pictures for people. Him and his wife took up two jobs in order to prepare to have children. It's always nice to hear that two people are married here because it's quite the process of paper work (I mean a LOT) and what not to get married. He went on to talk about his friend who is in San Francisco who moved there from Ukraine recently. The next statement he said really imprinted in my mind, "My friend says that in America, if you work hard, you get money. Is this true?" 
Floored we simply said "yes." Is that not true everywhere?well folks. It most definitely is not. Here in Ukraine, if you get a college degree, you tend to go into a career that has nothing to do with it. University is free here, though! Great huh? Well the price to pay is crappy education. But who can blame the teachers? Everyone has terrible pay here. Just enough to survive is what I've been told. Doctors make the same amount as teachers- teachers make the same as cleaning ladies- cleaning ladies make the same as office workers. Who cares if you have an education? Oh and what's a minimum wage? What's a middle class? Can you imagine having your children go to school knowing they will just have to pick from a list of jobs when they are older... So why don't they just leave the country? A Ukrainian once said it's "millions and millions of dollars to get a green card to the USA" whether this is true or not- it's simply out of reach and the reason they so often call a visit to America their "dream." 

I can barely touch on the corrupt government. During elections politicians are killed in order to eliminate competition. Votes=bribes. The outcome is hardly ever what the people wish and when it is, the new president either has deceived the people throughout the election and has been corrupt the whole time, or becomes corrupt with power. Often times (all the time) I think "THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN AMERICA!" For example, when the protests here got "too big" the government simply shut down the metros (most people's mode of transportation) and turned off all internet as well as phone services to control the people. Ok-everyone say this with me "THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN AMERICA" one that has most recently blown my mind is the situation occurring in Donestk, Ukraine right now. The pro Russians and pro Ukrainians have absolutely turned on eachother.  As a friend described it, "Imagine a place with no police and complete anarchy. Shootings are happening everywhere and bandits are walking the streets. The most shocking thing-Russia set their prisoners free if they promised to go to Donetsk and terrorize the town." 

Together now!-"THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN AMERICA!" 

In America you CAN get an education. 
In America you can work hard and get paid. 
In America, we care about special ed children and don't put them to the side. 
In America, you can trust people and businesses. I've been told they don't trust banks here and always have cash. 
America IS STILL the land of opportunities. 
This freedom we can't see is not simply a useless idea we're chasing after. We have it. And we use it. and like myself, take it for granted everyday. 
Why was I so very blessed to be born into a country like America? I can honestly say with all my heart that I believe it's the best country. Feel free to disagree buttt, your opinion is wrong;) all joking aside, America (and cafe rio) has this girl's heart but will always share it with Ukraine and it's amazing people here. 
 
I love America and the sacrifices made in the past and present for my freedom and the freedom of my children. God has truly blessed America. 

With that being said- I come home in two weeks. What!? Someone could pull out a calendar and prove to me that it's been that long and I still won't believe them. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Ukrainian love story..

                                                               There HE was.
 Walking off the bus.
 His thick blonde Ukrainian hair bouncing with every step.
His olive pale skin glowing on a dark foggy evening in Kiev, Ukraine.
I found my self admiring his majestic beauty when all of the sudden-(bum bum BUM!) I heard a grandma screaming. I looked out the window and saw that a man was trying to mug her! How rude! Can't any one respect the elderly now-uh-days? All the while, everyone on the bus sat in shock not knowing what to do! That's when he ran to her rescue. Out the bus he dashed. No hesitation. With one swift pop in the face, my hero knocked the thief to the ground. My hero then whipped his head to the right and saved a near by cat from a burning house while simultaneously pushing an old blind man in a wheel chair with no hands( The communists cut them off in the war..but that's another long story) out of the road in order to avoid a collision with oncoming traffic. Moments later, he returned to the bus. All the girls were fawning over his heroic acts as he walked up to me. ME of all girls! I felt the blood rush to my cheeks. Our eyes met and a smile slowly grew on his face. He then gracefully got on one knee and said "Will you marry me, beautiful American girl? Will you be the one to raise our Ukrainian-American children and teach them to speak English fluently by the time they're 9 months old? Will you grow old with me and be the babushka to my babushko? Will you stop day dreaming about cheesy love stories and posting them on your blog?" Oops. This is when the happy love music stops and I snap back into reality that I'm sitting in my pajamas on a Friday night watching movies with Chels eating anything sugary I can find down stairs...

Despite the disappointing feelings you may be experiencing right now due to the fact that you JUST realized this never occurred, don't give up too fast! I can redeem this with a real, lovely, poetic, Ukrainian love story that truly did occur between two people I call my host parents.

I will retell as far as my memory allows me. We were at a bus stop when I asked Andre how he met my host mom Nastia.

Your real life Ukrainian love story.

"It was after our marriage of 6 years. We had no children and I was very sad after our divorce. I didn't know what to do. I would drink my wine and sit here very confused and upset. I thought I wanted to be a monk or go to Africa and be a doctor. I had no purpose. One day I sat in the metro and I saw two big eyes. They were the saddest eyes I have ever seen. I thought " Who in this world could be sadder than I am?" so I prayed, "Dear God, please let me help this person." I could not tell if it was a boy or a girl. This person had short hair and a lip piercing. Then she was gone. This person then walked by again and we met eyes. She left and I went up to meet with my buddies. we were drinking in the street when this person walked by again. I was so surprised! She went away and then walked by again and I thought "this is a sign from God" and so I said something stupid like "Do you want to drink with us?" She looked at us like we were crazy and the said ok! I tried to impress her and I was bragging about myself the whole time. She called me the next day. We never set up another date, we just let things happen because I believe if 2 people are really meant to be together then they will draw together like a magnet. This was a scary feeling to me because I kept drawing to her. When I met Nastia, I found a purpose. Now I have 3 children and I have a reason for life."

How I wish you could hear the way he told this story. It was so poetic and beautiful and heart felt.

I love Andre! He is seriously always asking me and Chels how our parents raised us.
who taught you to be organized?
Is it normal that Daniel teases Masha? Di your brothers hit and play rough with you too?
And my ALL time favorite- Who taught you to have goals?
This conversation was sparked when we were all sitting together and Andre asked Chelsey what she was reading on her phone. She told him it was just some goals that she had written down for herself. He said "Like soccer goals?" we explained that goals were things we wanted to accomplish both long and short term and aims to better ourselves. He then asked, like I said, "who taught you to have goals?!"
we told him that our church taught us! Which I will always be grateful for. I went and grabbed my Personal Progress book and For Strength of Youth. He opened it and was so enthralled by this program that a church would make especially for youth. Every thing that he tries to teach his children are in these short manuals such as honesty, integrity, virtue, knowledge, good entertainment, using time wisely, developing talents, avoiding temptation, being healthy-etc. Not only that but they give you ways to practice these things and enforce them in your everyday life. He asked me multiple questions on what certain words mean and all the while, he was taking notes. He said he wanted these pamphlets for his children and asked me to get him some in Russian. After this conversation he disappeared into his bedroom for a few hours. and came out with this big board that he pinned to the wall.




Its a goal chart for his family, and and amazing system if I do say so myself!
each person in the family has a row. They created their own symbol for themselves.
the first symbol represents what goals they have as Ukrainians and a community and family.
the next one is Andre's and on the right are goals he has as a father
the next one is Danye's (9 years old) 
the next symbol is Masha's (8)
the next in Tanya's (5)
And my host mom Nastia!
the columns include the months and there, they record their progress. After the months is a column for each family member to write in and encourage each other. The next is their actual goals.

The bottom is called "mommy's game" everytime they do a chore on the list of every day chores, they get to move a space forward. If they don't, they move a space back. 


HOW GREAT IS THIS?! This is exactly what our church does is inspires change. In fact, that's exactly why Heavenly father sent us to this earth- so that we might grow and develop and become so much more than we were when we lived in heaven before this life. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because they don't just say "hey, be better! Don't sin! Good luck!" they send the message of "Hey! You're going to sin and we get that. and Heavenly Father gets that- which is why he sent his son, Jesus Christ, our savior- But because we know life gets hard, here are some programs that can help you along the way so that you can avoid more hurt and find more happiness." There are endless resources in this gospel to inspire change and growth. They vary from youth activities to addiction counseling to inspiring videos posted on mormonchannel.org. If you have a problem, this church will help you overcome it. Oh, how happy that is to have a free support like that through all the trials we face. This is a testimony to me that this church is true and represents Jesus Christ in everyway. On that note, I want to continue to talk about goals! Or, rather, quoting quotes about goals. Coo?

"When a man does not know which harbor he is making for, none is the right one."- Anonymous

"Even the longest journey begins with a single step"


Life gives to all the choice. You can satisfy yourself with mediocrity if you wish. you can be common, ordinary, dull, colorless; or you can channel your life so that it will ne clean, vibrant, progressive, useful, colorful, rich." -President Kimball

"You must cultivate a desire to develop the skill of setting worthy and realistic goals.
If your goals are righteous, then go for them.
When you set a goal and commit yourself to the necessary self-discipline to reach that goal, you will eliminate most of the problems in your life. Spend your energies doing those things that will make a difference.
We have to have faith. We have to have faith in God. We have to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And oh, how desperately we have to have faith in ourselves." -Elder M. Russell Ballard

 
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
 






Happy goal setting. :) 



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Let my mom know I'm not safe.

     Having an 18 year old daughter is hard for any mom, right? She has to see her daughter's heart get broken, her stress levels increase..and sometimes overflow, her hormones go all this way and that way, and in the midst of all this confusion-make some pretty big decisions. I mean heck, I make some of the biggest decisions of my life in the next 5 years and my mom has to be along for the ride. She's the first one I go to when I need to make what I'd call in my book, "some pretty large-oh decisions." and little ones...Like should I get my hair done in Ukraine since the water is turning my hair orange?!

The morning I opened my eyes and thought "I want to go teach English somewhere!" she..of course..got a text five minutes later saying..


 After her "wait, is she for realz?" moment, she called me and told me to look into it. And sure enough, we didn't do any research about the country I was going to or the program I was going with. She just put me on a taxi to the airport and said "See ya in 5 months!" In fact, the organization doesn't email us or contact us at all keeping us updated on the situation in Kiev. They TOTALLY don't have flight plans ready in case something does erupt and we need to scah-daddle. They definitely don't know people at the embassy and get emails from them frequently. It's NOT like this program has been around for 25+ years. Oh, and they encourage us to partake in the protests and, what I'm most pumped for, we're going to go fight against the Russians on the border this coming weekend! SO excited to get involved with the culture and heavy ammunition!

Lets rewind a bit and get some background information.

Sending an 18 year old girl across the world was a very hard thing for my mom to do. In prepping to leave, my beautiful mother was not one to ever ever ever discourage me like it seemed the rest of the world was. It was definitely not what I expected when I made suchan important change. Constantly I heard negativity about this decision that I had prayed so hard about and felt so good about. It hurt and it confused me and man.. It caused me a lot of anxiety on top of what I was already going through. Did I show it? Yes. Every day before I left. Despite the comfort I received from my prayers about going, voices of those around me rung through my head discouraging me to go and in turn, caused a lot of tears for this cry baby. ON THE FLIPPY FLOP, my mom is over here receiving about 10 times worse feedback from those around her and did she break down, cry, or tell me "oh, maybe you should rethink your decision?" nope. not once. CAUSE I HAVE THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD. She does not let negativity spread to her children. So, because I know this, I know that it was very hard for my mom to send me off. I know she loses sleep over me and my brother. So why did she let me go still? Why didn't she just shut me down like most moms might? Because she is willing to make sacrifices in order to let her children grow. Can you imagine if fear let her or you or me decide everything we ever did?


My grandma told me this wise bit of wisdom a few weeks before I left.. yup, I said wise bit of wisdom. You know it's wise when you have to use "wise" twice in order to describe it. She said "I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't let fear stop me from doing anything." Fear is what will hold you back from any goal.. Seriously! Any goal you set you will probably be discouraged and frustrated because of fear. I think the most valuable thing I learned on my Church History Tour this summer was Fear is of Satan. Faith is of our Heavenly Father. Have more faith than fear and you'll be amazed at the growth that will take place in your life- particularly in the little things. In making this decision with my mom and, we decided to put this in Heavenly Father's hands. Our faith is strong that he is taking care of his daughter in Ukraine as well as you in America, or spain, or Denmark, or Canada, or Russia, or India, or Poland. (Yeah, it tells me where I get blog views from..it's rad.) You are a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father and he IS mindful of you. He hears your prayers and..the cool part..He answers them. That is a promise.

With that being said- I wish to ease the hearts of all those who are lovingly worried about me because simply...you have no reason to be.

First off-America happens to be putting Ukraine in the media more than they should. I've never understood "Don't believe everything you hear on the news" so fully until now. Now don't underestimate it too much, there is quite the drama going on here..but maybe not as dangerously dramatic as you may think. As some of you know, Obama made a speech about consequences if Russia tries to invade Ukraine. First of all, I love the way my host dad put it "American government does not really care about Ukraine. We are a small country. We can not do anything for them. Obama is simply fueling the flame against Russia so that if there needs to be a war against Russia at some point in time, then America will have more reasons to not like Russia and be more supportive. Also, this happens when a government is changing their government like Ukraine is right now, it is nothing not normal." That's the way he worded it. Maybe I'm just easily persuaded..but I dig what he said.

As you may have seen on the news, Russian troops are indeed in Ukraine's borders. My relief society president's husband here works for the US embassy here and she worded it quite accurately on Facebook. She said-
 "We love and appreciate everyone's love and support, and I just want to let everyone know that things here in Kiev continue to improve and have remained calm and peaceful. Crimea, on the other hand, has been invaded by... the Russian military, etc. Crimea is a smallish peninsula about an 8-10 hour drive from here, and is actually an autonomous region (limiting the freedom of the Ukrainian government within it's borders) that belonged to Russia 60 years ago. It is home to Russian naval bases and more than 50 percent of its residents are ethnically Russian. While the actions of Forbes most powerful person are definitely alarming, illegal, dishonest, etc., we are in no more danger now (in fact, much less at the moment) than we had been when violent clashes were killing people just down the street over the last three months."

A few things I'd like to add- I looked up Crimea from my home and it's actually a 14 hour drive. Also, she lives much closer to the "violent clashes" that occurred than I do!

Another reason for much worry was an article posted by Deseret News. In Crimea, 14 hours away, 23 missionaries were transferred out of the area, not Ukraine, for safety precautions. I'm sure they are serving in an area near by that same city and I'm sure that they'll return soon. They always do because "No unholy hand can stop this work." Here is the link if you'd like to read it.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865597699/23-Mormon-missionaries-in-Ukraine-transferred-due-to-civil-unrest.html

As for the program I'm with, they have been around for 25 years, based out of Provo, and keep a very close eye on Ukraine. This is not the first time they've had to deal with this kind of thing. Because of worried parents, they have taken extra extra precautions to ease some anxiety. My roommate and I drive home with our school guard (every school in Ukraine has one) because we aren't allowed to take the bus home at night this week. Our host family kind of laughs at us because it's so safe right now. There is absolutely no reason to come home or leave teaching at this point in time.

DESPITE ALL OF THIS: PLEASE KEEP LETTING MY MOM KNOW IM TOTALLY NOT SAFE AND I NEED TO COME HOME.

But trust me. I am. :)

and I appreciate deeply that every one is worrying about me:)

BUT like Ukrainians always say when they meet an American "Don't worry be happy, man!"
Because apparently they think that's slang in the US and we say it all the time...hahaha


If you want to understand more about what is going on with Ukraine and Russia, this is the latest email we received from our organization.  Or even more importantly, if your're looking for answers in your life like "Where were we before we came to earth? What happens after we die? Do I have a purpose here? Does Heavenly Father have a plan for me? Is there a Heavenly Father? Can I be with my family forever? How can I find more happiness in my life?" Check out Mormon.org or mormonchannel.org or message me on Facebook. (Carly d. Campbell) I'm being for realz, we got the answers. True answers from our Heavenly Father.

Email from ILP

"We wanted to update you again on the situation in Kiev.
 
After signing an agreement to hold early elections, Ukrainian President Yanukovich began losing support from his allies and left Kiev along with others from his party. Virtually all of those that remain are supporting the new government. The Ukrainian parliament has voted to reform their constitution, remove Yanukovich from office, schedule elections for May 25th, and appoint an interim President, Oleksander Turchynov, the former speaker of the parliament.
 
Russia has removed its ambassador from Ukraine, renounced the new Ukrainian government, and announced that it will not pay on a previously agreed $15 billion loan to Ukraine. It is difficult to say how Russia will respond over the next weeks. There could be military or economic pressure or neither. In any of the most likely scenarios, if conflicts occur they would likely be far from Kiev in the Crimea or Eastern regions. In addition, the new Ukraine government is receiving broad support from the European Union (EU) and cooperating with the U.S. EU Foreign Policy Chief Katherine Ashton travelled to Kiev on Monday, and UK British Foreign Secretary William Hague will also be travelling to Ukraine.
 
The primary concerns for Kiev (in relation to ILP teachers’ safety) are the economy and domestic stability. Economically, both the EU and the U.S. have expressed support for financial aid for the Ukraine and are working quickly to give Ukraine the support it needs. U.S. treasury secretary Jack Lew has indicated broad support in the International Monetary Fund and encouraged Ukraine to apply for a loan. The Ukrainian government applied for a $35 billion loan Monday.
 
Domestically, the interior ministry, the military, and city police have all indicated their support for the new government and are functioning normally to prevent any unrest within Kiev. With changes on the horizon, many government workers are doing their best to be seen as supporting the new government, peace, and rebuilding. In local areas, patrol brigades, similar to a wide scale “neighborhood watch” have been formed and patrol each quadrant of the city with a direct radio connection to police to report any signs of unrest or crime. Throughout the weekend and Monday, there have been no signs of widespread unrest or increase in crime. Although protesters remain in the downtown areas their primary goal seems to be to not leave until the new government is functioning. Businesses, restaurants, supermarkets have opened again and are functioning normally. Public transportation is also open and functioning normally.
 
ILP teachers began teaching again on Monday. ILP has arranged this week for teachers who end classes after dark to be picked up or escorted by parents or coordinators (those who live close to the school) to their host families after teaching. ILP teachers are still not allowed to go to the downtown areas, should be careful about their safety, and avoid any gatherings or large groups. For the upcoming vacation days, with virtually no travel options available in Ukraine, ILP will be making some exceptions to the countries where teachers can travel that weren't previously allowed. Teachers should talk to their head teachers to submit plans for approval.
 
Although the recent developments are encouraging, we recognize the volatility of the situation. This is a transitional government. Ukraine’s different regions and the new government are not united. We realize that the situation could change. We will continue to monitor the situation and hope that the trends toward a positive and peaceful resolution continue."






Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Thoughts from an Ukrainian hospital bed

         So as you may have heard, I did find myself in a Ukrainian hospital bed this weekend. I didn't have internet but I did have my Book of Mormon, journal, and my iPhone. Because I couldn't use my iphone for internet or messaging, I did use the crud out of my "notes" app. I was going crazy with boredom (oops, my Grandma says bored people are boring people) so I was going crazy with...ok yes. Boredom is the most fitting word. I WAS SO BORED. Anyway, I had to write down my thoughts. Here is what the result was.      
                                              ...............................................................

        As I sit here in the hospital room I have so much time to think that I've found myself thinking about absolutely nothing. It's like when a teacher gives you a paper and a pencil and says "write an essay about whatever you want for the next hour." Without organizing your thesis and main topics you'll find that it is extremely frustrating to write an effective paper that as a result, usually has little meat to it. AND so I feel like I'm staring at this blank paper for a long period of time getting little done... My thoughts this past day of laying in bed consist of "I don't want to go home. I'm not going go home. Ever. What if I just stayed here for a few extra months? Is it weird to not have painted toenails here? I remember that time 2 years ago I did *insert stupid mistake here*. I wonder what my dad's doing?" here I am. Internetless. Here to organize my thoughts in order to maybe come to some conclusions about some worthy matters. Hopefully my toenails don't prevail in this word throw up.  

      I'm in a Ukrainian hospital bed and all I can think is... Wow. I love America. Now, I know that I am extremely blessed in this circumstance so I don't want to focus on all the accommodations that I don't have compared to America. I find that to be a little silly considering that the reason I came to Ukraine is to experience another way of life and that I knew I would be sacrificing a few things along the way.  BUT for those who are curious, the hospital I am in is clean, safe, and my room is painted a nice minty blue which is happy. They are, as expected, behind medically in more than a few areas (and I'll get to that because people love learning about cultural differences) but the nurses that have taken care of me have been so sweet despite the fact that we don't understand eachother... I just want to hug and squeeze them! Oh how I've learned to love hugs here! It's universal body language for "Hey, we're both human and this life is hard and I love you even though I have no idea who you are and what you've done!" Please go hug someone... Not necessarily to make someone else feel good, although I guarantee it will, but to do yourself an act of kindness. It feels good to LOVE. It feels good when the girl who is sick in the hospital bed next to you smiles and explains that she doesn't speak english, but puts both hands to her heart when she sees me in pain. Again, why do we have this desire to love someone who is just another passer by in this world of billions who we may never see again? Why is the love for strangers so powerful? The answer is so simple. We are all brothers and sisters here on this earth. Our spirits connect through love and nothing else. Can you imagine if everyone looked at each other as we really truly are? As brothers and sisters who are all going through a hard time? I believe many would think twice about yelling at the waiter who got their order wrong or maybe be more helpful to the neighbor who hasn't kept up his yard work or perhaps even a little more forgiving to that teenage driver who is still learning the ins and outs... *Cough me cough*

        Loving eachother is what we are built to do and honestly, if you think you need more love in your life, then make it happen. heck, I'll even tell you where to start. Start today in your own families. Oh how it hurts to think about how the single most important unit on this earth has slowly become more and more devalued. Yet, what does restore my faith is that we each have our own families and that we do not have to fall into the ways of the rest of the world that teaches us that family time is "sitting in a movie theater sharing a row of seats and popcorn." Parents- I'm talking to you. You have the power (and responsibility) to teach your children how to love and respect one another setting them up for success and purpose in their own future household. Don't worry, you don't need to have a lecture prepared in order to teach this "love concept" but from a kid's point of view- there is nothing that has taught me more about love than the example of my father and mother. I've been taught what love is because I see my dad give my mom foot massages every night and because I see them cuddle on the couch after 20 years of being married. Not only is this love for each other, but it extends to their children. I KNOW my mom and dad love me because of one simple word; Time. My dad, constantly is begging to teach me self defense and tennis while my mom will simply sit their and listen to me talk her ear off about anything without passing any judgement on me. Now that is how you teach your children love. BUT if you do not have such ideal circumstances that I do, meaning you don't have a strong strong family unit, then you are stronger than I am and I strongly believe that. You are here and you have the power to create your own family that consists of a loving father and mother and children. What an amazing gift our Heavenly Father has given us to create life. I CAN GROW A HUMAN IN MY BELLY! ok... With the help of a husband course. Not only that, but I can raise my children in whatever way I wish. The family is the most perfect unit and organization we are given. I could write about this concept all day but that's because I know that families are where we can raise children and help them not fall into the ways of the world. Our daughters can look at Miley Cyrus and think "That poor girl..." rather than "How can I be that." I love my family and the time (yup. that's a bold, italitic, underlined word just to get my point across) they've put into me to help me grow into the young woman I am. I'm happy to be able to someday be a wife and mother of my own children who will give me even more happiness and purpose.  So listen...I mean like read this and listen to the narrator in your head- Mormonchannel.org puts out uplifting, positive videos about many different topics.They've made it into an awesome app too.  I chose a few about the family, that I love.  Click on the one that fits you. They're all less than 4 minutes long and trust me, THEY'RE WORTH IT. Like seriously...such good videos.
Expressions of love
 hope ya know, we're having a hard time
Parenting: Touching the hearts of our youth

There are so many sweet videos on that website, but I didn't want to overwhelm you guys. Feel free to check it out more though.

One last thought about the family. Families can be together forever. This is something our church teaches us. I know this to be true and it's one of the most precious things I have learned from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Feel free to message me on Facebook (Carly D. Campbell) or go to Mormon.org if you want to learn more.

With that, I feel as though I'm no longer staring at a blank paper sending empty thoughts into space. Thank you "iPhone notes" for being there in this time I've spent in a hospital bed:)
                              ................................................................
For those of you still reading, I'm on my way to healthy and I'll include details about my Ukrainian hospital trip next blog. :)







 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I haven't shaved in a month...

She hasn't shaved in a month?! Aww that poor girl! They must not have razors there. She must be going through such a hard time in that 2nd world country! I wonder what else she doesn't have...

Unfortunately, I can't say that the reason I haven't shaved my legs or my armpits in a month is because I lack a razor..Quite the contrary. I haven't shaved in a month because...flip why would I?! It's on my bucket list to go a month without a razor in Ukraine and shoot dang, it was liberating!


Then I thought, Ok this is gross.. I haven't shaved for a month. I kind of feel like I should go find an organic market and turn my hair into some sweet dreads. (As if that wouldn't say "foreigner" enough.) And then I thought, HEY what else haven't I done in a month?


As I thought about my month here, all I could think was..."I've been here a month."
 I know, I know. Poetic huh? What can I say, tis the season with Valentine's Day around the corner to write poetry.

Let me tell you.

I haven't taken a warm shower in a month. Yes yes, I have showered. Don't act too completely surprised. I took my bimonthly shower like last week;) Ok two lies in a matter of seconds- I take luke warm showers every day or so but when it's freezing, luke warm water feels like 30 degree water..that just doesn't cut it when you want to unthaw your toes. I don't expect to have feeling in them by the time I get home...They'll just give up on life by then, I'm sure. Poor piggies.
Yup. The color of our water... I convince myself it's just some extra minerals:)

I haven't driven in a car in a month.. and let me tell ya, LIFE IS GOOD. Driving always gives me anxiety for some reason..I'm sure it's not because of the accident I got in or anything...But I really don't like it. My friends and family are witnesses. (Shout out to Cayden for always driving my car everywhere for me back in the USA) I probably shaved off 10 years of my life because of the stress that driving a little Saturn Ion caused me, and then added 15 years to my life because I'm so relaxed on public trans here! Although the drivers are a little cray (Grandma- cray stands for crazy) I feel safer with them driving than anyone I've ever driven with. They're like angels who's job is to protect me from Ukrainian drivers...I'm sure that's how they view it.
He was a nice bus driver.

I haven't used toilet paper that doesn't feel like those streamers you use at birthday parties in a month. I don't need to get into detail.

I haven't slept on a comfy..Anything in a month. I'm still getting used to my "Pull out chair" that feels like..umm..the ground.:) 

I haven't seen my family and friends in a month. It sucks.. But sometimes sacrifices are needed for growth right?Missing you Mair bear, Em, Q, Rach, Mckenna and Cam fam:) like a lot. 

I haven't eaten any preservatives in amonth.Ok I'm sure some have slipped in there but really! The food is a blessing to me. I fyou know me, you know I have a history of stomach problems. Basically, everytime I'd eat back in America, I'd get super nauseous and tired...(if I had music to soundtrack my life, a sad sob song would be playing..everyone would be in tears, as well) Well, guess freaking what! (music gets faster and upbeat. Maybe "I'm walking On Sunshine! woooahhh" would be appropriate) I don't get sick here! It's kind of scary at how fast my stomach problems went away as soon as I left America. Eating organic is ironically the "poor man's food" here. Every day I eat, fish, cabbage, potatoes, beets, noodles, soup, soup, soup, and maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll have a side of soup. I wish I could be more specific about what I eat..But usually I don't even know! I just live on the edge;)

Mmm breakfast. Straight from the nest;) 

So now the "I have" list

I have gone to a Ukrainian ballet.


I have become master at taking stalker pictures. Actually..I'm pretty sure they always know..


I have gone to a "Bach" piano concert...to find that I think his music is a little frightening..

I have gone to an amazingggg art museum. Best one I've ever been to. An hour and a half simply wasn't long enough.


I have gone to multiple big Ukrainian churches.

I have made some really good friends:)

I have written in my journal at least 5 times a week.
Dreamy, isn't it?;) 

I have drawn twice. Oh how I've missed you free time!

I started drinking Coke..Not consistently but they're not allowed to use High fructose corn syrup here...So how could I not order a cold Cola with real sugar? BUT if we're being honest here, I don't know how to order anything else.

I have gone on some pretty sweet strolls:)

I've fallen in love with a few things- Chocolate and my Ukrainian kids that I teach.
Thank you mom and dad for giving me this experience. In one month, it's already been life changing. I love you. :) 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My roommate is EASY.


       Ok, I admit it. That blog title is a total cop out..If you're that kind of thinker. And tssk tskk if you are.  But I used it simply because it's the best way to describe my roommate. She's easy! Easy like a Sunday morningggg.Alright let's talk real quick about this post. I'm not here to gush over how much I love her (although I do) or to rampage about how we're so different yet so alike- I'm here to write some thoughts about quiet people.

      Lets throw this fact out here so that if you don't know me, you will in just a few short sentences. I love to talk! I love to yell! I was that kid that when I went to my friend's house, her family would shut their doors because "Oh no, Carly Campbell is here. She's the loud one." I was 12..and hopefully I've outgrown that one..but ANYWAY I love to be social! I love to hear from my friend Aubrey,"I got on stage at karaoke and thought, 'What would Carly do' and so I started singing and dancing." Yup, that's me. The girl that people roll their eyes at because she's way too comfortable around everyone. Maybe I am. Fight me if ya have a problem with it...(wait. really. Please don't..I mean I exercise here more than in America but I still can't even take on the 4 year olds I teach.) That's me! Carly Campbell. Hoooooow American? Well, that's precisely how people view me here in Ukraine. "Ugh, American."



         Then there's my roommate, Chelsey. She's what I might call an "European Personality" on the outside. And she's what other people might describe as "Shy." hmph. Shy? why does that feel like it has a negative connotation? It's almost as if people look at it as a barrier. Something that needs to be 'overcome.
' "Oh we're just waiting for him to come out of his shell."
"She's just shy, she'll grow out of it."
Hold up stop. Because if Chelsey "overcame her "shyness," I sure as heck wouldn't be writing a blog about her. She may be described as shy to some people, but the best way I can describe her is easy. I think we all need to be a little more easy. Let me tell you why.

Chelsey is quiet. I feel like society has these expectations that every moment must be filled with dialogue..Possibly because of the TV shows and movies we watch. We've coined this term "awkward silence." It's as if there's something terribly wrong if someone wants to sit quietly to themselves.
Quite frankly, I prefer this companionable silence. It's when two people feel comfortable enough with each other that there's no need to fill the silence with empty conversation. I'd way rather sit in silence with Chelsey and think than to sit with another roommate who wants to talk about meaningless flirtationships and who the best kisser they've ever kissed was and why (We've all had that conversation..). It's a breath of fresh air to be with Chelsey because it's a time for reflection and deep thought. And there’s solitude too, which I've found vital since I've been here. Meditation and time for reflection has become a blessing here in Ukraine for me. I'm no longer constantly wired to the internet or listening to music or the radio in the car. In fact, even when there is noise, I don't understand it because it's Russian. Yay for being Uno-Lingual? I now have time to think to myself with out the notifications on my phone constantly interrupting my thoughts. With this time I have become closer to my Heavenly Father through prayer. With little distractions, I am now having constant conversations with the Lord and I truly have realized that our fast paced way of life in America is only but a tool of Satan's to bring us away from what's important on this earth. What I'm getting at is simply-put aside some time for yourself. No, I don't mean go pamper yourself at the spa, but simply sit in silence. Turn down the radio! Hide your phone for an hour and do something that helps you think! Drive, draw, sew, sing, but most importantly, try prayer. You might be surprised at how real it is and how much you can grow when you go about it with sincerity. Let our Heavenly Father guide you and comfort you with the Spirit. He will. I know this because I've experienced it and now it is the most valuable thing I have.

Where was I? Back to Chelsey.

 

This week I got super yucky sick in the middle of class. Chelsey took over my crazy Ukrainian babies class and taught them while I vomited in the bathroom. Too much detail? Get off my blog;) jk. Stay..I want you to know more about my easy roommate:) She called our host dad who called a taxi for us and when it got here, we found him waiting in the passenger seat with oils and all this Ukrainian medicine. When I got home, he took my temperature, insisted that I drink tea (I'm not sure if it was herbal.. I threw it up any way:) eat oranges and lay down. When I threw up in the middle of the night, he ran in and took my temperature and brought a space heater in for me to make my "Thrills" go away.(He calls "chills," "thrills"...hehe) He really treated me like a daughter and although I was wishing my real dad was there to play with my nappy hair and give me a back massage, Andrei, my host dad, filled his spot just fine.:) I woke up the next day at 5 PM in a panic. I hadn't sent my lesson plans to anyone to cover my class and my class had started the hour before. I sat right up and saw what looked like Christmas morning on the floor next to my bed and barf bag.. It was a beautiful sight I promise. Chelsey left me a note and snacks to wake up to.
"Hey Carly, 
Here is some water and graham crackers (just in case) I'm really sorry you're so sick, and I hope you get better! Rest up and don't worry about lesson plans. I got it covered! You're so great! I love you! -Chelsey"
And I put this quote next to it because it reminded me of her. "There is no such thing as a small act of kindness" :) 

This act of service....just ahhhhhhhhh I wanted to jump for joy! I was in need and she came through for me without question. She didn't expect anything and didn't make a big deal about doing my lesson plans for me...and any one in ILP knows that that's a BIG DEAL.
MY ROOMMATE IS EASY.
And she's easy on the eyes;)
(Took this picture whilst souvenir shopping) 

Some other noteworthy characteristics of Chels- You don't feel judged around her- She's clean and tidy- she's respectful in every aspect - She listens - She's kind - She's fun - She never ever complains..(Except when we don't have chocolate) - she's easy.  Let's all try to be a little easier to be around?
Yes. This is the chocolate we ate on Saturday. Felt good to use my good camera for the first time since I've been here:) 


 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chocolate wasted...literally?

        Today is a good day to write emails/ blogs because I get to push a refresh button at church every Sunday. When that happens- thanks to amazing lessons and the Spirit being felt strongly- I can suddenly see SO many positives in my life and it makes me want to frollick through a beautiful field of flowers singing "Oh, what a beautiful Morning!" BUT, a slushy Ukrainian street will work too and because I don't feel comfortable singing in public here (or even smiling for that matter) I will shout all of my joys I've noticed today on my blog! Can I get a whoop whoop? (whoop whoop)
        1. when the marshrutka comes right when we get to our stop
         2. How they sell flowers EVERYWHERE! I just find that to be so happy. Why isn't America on that boat yet?
        3. How I'm so freaking lucky to go to a church right next to the temple and can ask my friends on the way "Do you looooove to see the temple? Are you like totes going there someday? maybe to like feel the Holy Spirit? Listen? And to pray, yo?" #MormonRemixes
        4. Walking into church and feeling warm and happy inside. I wish I could explain this better, but picture walking into the safest, warmest, fuzziest blanket you've ever felt and BANG. That's how walking into an LDS church feels.
        5. Sitting next to the heater in Sunday school WHILE listening to a great lesson that seems to be prepared JUST for you. Double whammy!
        6. Seeing a baby on the bus that is in the puffiest pink snow suit you've ever seen and thinking, wow- I didn't know there were star fish in Ukraine.
        7. Leaving your bag in an Ukrainian market...and going back the next day to see if it's there..AND BY SOME MIRACLE, THE CASHIER HAS IT FOR YOU.
        8. Losing your glove, and then finding another on the floor. Go Chelsey!
        9. Finding someone who looks American and getting way pumped!...     "Hey! do you speak English?"   "Yes!"     "Oh my gosh, where are you from?!"    "Kiev, Ukraine!" "oh-____- Never mind." Worth a shot.
       10. Having a sleepover with 3 girls who just want to watch romantic comedies. Can life get better? The answer is..probably- if we had boys to cuddle with us and wipe away our tears as we watched "The Lucky One." But laying on Cheila's lap will have to do until we can import some Americans for a movie night. Sounds do-able?
       11. 2 words: Ukrainian chocolate.
       12.16 words: CHECK THE WRAPPER BEFORE INJESTING UKRAINIAN CHOCOLATE. YOU MAY ACCIDENTLY HAVE YOUR FIRST TASTE OF ALCOHOL.
Funny story actually.
Host mom and dad -"Here's some chocolate girls."
Us "Oh yay!"
me-"Oh wow! we don't have this flavor in America! it's like some kind of weird raspberry.."
Host mom "yes. Special raspberry.."
me "Ya, I seriously have never tasted anything like this before! It smells like...Oh...Alcohol...."
*look at wrapper* Says champagne in big bold letters... I was quite literally Chocolate Wasted. Who knows what happened that night? Maybe I'm married to a big hairy Russian man? In my dreams;)
Seriously, the people are large here! 
      13. When you're teaching and the lesson plan goes perfectly, all the kids are behaving, and by the end of class you have 8 four year old kids speaking fluent English- OK. That never happens, but since we're on the teaching topic, this week I SURVIVED all of my lesson plans. I do not use the word survived lightly, by the way. If any of you are teachers/ have experience teaching/ are moms and have advice in dealing with young children, just picture me with a sign on my forehead that says "Help wanted," because I'll tell ya- this is some hard stuff and I wouldn't mind any advice coming my way! I look at all of the teachers I've had from kindergarten through senior year as saints now. it takes a bunch of preparation and a ton of love and patience. I really do love it despite my whining! I love hearing "Miss Cawwwrly, can I hold your hand?" "miss cawrly, this. Miss cawwrly, that." But the best is the hugs and finding out that they talk about me at school to all their little friends and when the most misbehaved child helps you clean up something you dropped and smiles at you so stinking cutely. I love these kids and sometimes they love me:)..When I give them stickers...
Annabel. Ya you think she's cute now.. Wait til you see her running around like a maniac tripping all of the little kids. Hahaha
      14. Coming home to dinner on the table everynight and fresh ice cream.
      15. Having a good connection on WiFi and being able to talk to your family.
      16. Prayer. It's real.
       17. And finally, having the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Without it, I would not have My Book of Mormon to read and to receive truth, comfort, and guidance from. I cannot express the happiness it gives me.