Cliff Gardner

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Studio 60

EDIT--it sounds like the show has been picked up for a second faith in humanity and the general good in people is still in tact. Woooohooooo! :-)

I just heard that "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" is going to get cancelled. Frankly, I'm mad at all of you back home who let this happen. I mean, I have a pretty good excuse for not watching it every week, but if you were near a cable television and didn't watch this show that I was certain would go down as one of the best of all time, well...I just don't think we can be friends anymore. If you DID watch it every week and it was cancelled anyway, then you are officially smarter than pretty much everyone else who didn't. No, seriously:,0,5764962.story?coll=bal-business-headlines. Anyway, I take comfort in knowing that by the time I come home from Ukraine in two years, the entire series will be available on DVD and I will spend part of my re-adjustment allowance so that I can put in on my shelf right next to other Aaron Sorkin creations of the entire Sports Night and West Wing box sets. I am going to go get a post office box now so you can all send me condolance cards for the loss of this great monument to pop culture genius. Studio 60, we hardly knew yee!

My new PO Box in Ochakiv is below--feel free to send stuff, like books, DVD's, cards, letters, smiles and hugs, to that address.

А/Я 120
Г. Очаков
Никопаевскои Област
57500, Украина

In English, it's:

PO Box 120
Town of Ochakiv
Mikolaevska Oblast
57500, Ukraine

I suggest putting the Ukrainian version on packages but maybe with the English version next to it? We'll all get the hang of this stuff. HUGS!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Grind it out time!

Josh Lyman once said, "this isn't a campaign! This isn't airplanes and hotels and 'guess where I am now, mom!' This is GRIND IT OUT TIME! It's three yards and a cloud of dust!" Yes, you guessed it, I am now officially a Peace Corps Volunteer! I was sworn in at a ceremony in Kyiv on Thursday by the U.S. Ambassador and now I'm in Ochakiv, where I will be living, working, swimming, fishing, teaching, laughing, juggling and rocking it all day and night for the next two years. I miss my cluster a lot--they really are some of my best friends ever and it's tough not having all of them to talk to. Still, I'll make it.

OH, and it turns out that I'm smarter than I thought. I got "intermediate mid" on my big language test, which puts me right in the middle of the curve. It turns out that I'm learning Rusian faster than I thought I was, so go me. Oh hey, did you all know that it's Christmas? I had no idea because there are no lights, trees or Santa's to be found over here. Oh well. My host family got my a little tree and a snow globe, so I still feel loved and am getting just enough Christmas spirit to get by! I love you all and miss you a ton! Hugs to Elizabeth Hobbs, Kourtney (again), my dad and my aunt Laurene for the awesome letters! I'm getting a P.O. Box in Ochakiv for mail soon so I'll keep you all posted on how best to send me stuff! HUGS!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Almost a PCV!

I got my hair cut very short a few days ago and I'm having trouble recognizing the person I see in the mirror as a result...I look like Dave Mathews, so I've been singing the lyrics to "Crash," the only Dave song I know well, pretty much all the time as a joke. My big language test went really well, I think, and I'm convinced that I know enough Russian to make it in this country when I go to my site, which is awesome! My Cluster is AMAZING and I'm going to miss them all very much. I love you all!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I can't remember the last time I slept...and I couldn't be happier!

Learning a new language while living abroad is like that scene from the movie "Abyss" where Ed Harris tries to breath that liquid oxygen stuff. He resists it at first because it's so different, then he starts to panic because it feels like he's drowning, then he relaxes as he takes it into his lungs, and finally he can breath again, but in a different way. In terms of learning Russian, I'm think I'm safely in the "relax and take it in" phase, which is good because I've got my language proficiency interview, or LPI, next week. It's basically a non-threatening, informal conversation, in Russian, with a Peace Corps staff person that determines whether or not I've learned enough Russian to get by over here, and more importantly, if I'm fit to be sworn in as a volunteer in a few weeks. I feel like the LPI is the biggest hurdle I'll face in trying to become a volunteer (remember, I'm still just a trainee), but there are two others. I've already had one of them, the demonstration lesson I taught that was observed by Peace Corps staff, and I think it went really well. The other one is our community project, which my training cluster and I are putting on this Friday at the school we've all been teaching at during training. It's a "Farewell to Fall Festival" at which we're going to have different tables celebrating different American holidays. It's going to go really well, I think, but there's still a lot to do.

That's about it on my end--prayers and letters are always appreciated. The Peace Corps address a few posts down still works so if you want to be totally awesome like Kourtney (three letters so far, just got you latest!), Liz (two letters and a lot of awesome webcomics), my awesome cousin Gretchen and my dad (I've finished season seven of the West Wing already, thanks!) then feel free to drop me a line! I love you all very much!