Cliff Gardner

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


So it turns out that the wind/snow/rain storm that knocked in my windows pretty much hit everything on the Black Sea and has been described as a cyclone by some weather service folks. It even overturned and sunk some oil tankers in the Black Sea, eeek! I guess only having my sugar container knocked onto the floor of my kitchen isn't much to complain about compared to spilled oil or the giant trees I saw knocked over in my recent visit to Crimea!

Also, I checked the election results for the ballot my students and I filled out, and it turns out that Ukrainian teenagers vote exactly like the majority of people in my Congressional District back home do--FOR re-structuring zoning laws, AGAINST tobacco taxes to fund child health care and FOR more police and fire fighters in Forest Grove, Oregon. When I told them they were "correct" in their votes and that their side "won," they were all really excited!

Today's Thanksgiving but I'll be teaching. Peace Corps was really great about it and gave all PCV's the day off, but I want to talk about Thanksgiving with my students instead of missing work since most of them have never heard of the holiday. I'll just call my parents and family in the evening my time/in the morning in Oregon, so everything will be fine. Actually, I probably couldn't afford to miss tomorrow anyway because of the recent schedule changes--when I got to school yesterday, I found out (like everyone else, apparently) that the 9th, 10th and 11th
form students would be missing every period after the 2nd (so basically the whole day) so they can "plant trees in the woods." In addition to it being just bad forest policy to plant trees in late November, I'm probably going to have to make up those lessons tomorrow, when I normally would be sleeping in. I'd like to say that last-second schedule changes like this were new, but, well...they're pretty much the norm around here. At this point I'm mostly just entertained by it all. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It was a hell of a way to wake up!

Ochakiv got hit with the first snowstorm of the year last early something tells me that this winter will be a lot worse/a lot more normal for Ukraine than last year. A bigger problem in Ochakiv than the snow is the wind. Since we're right on the water, the wind gets pretty intense. So much so, in fact, that I was woken up on Sunday morning by my kitchen windows blowing open and knocking all my stuff off the window sill. I spent the next hour standing in a puddle of snow/melting water with the wind/more snow blowing in my face as I tried to close the window and called everyone I could think of in town for help.

The problem, though, was that the power (and water, for that matter) was out, so people's house-phones weren't working and getting in touch with someone was tough. Eventually I ran across the hall and woke my neighbor Vasilli up (did I mention that all of this was happening at 7:30 on a Sunday morning?) and he can over and fixed it in about two minutes...apparently the windows aren't that difficult to close if you know the elaborate sequence in which to do so (there are 5 windows in all), and since I had only ever opened one, I had no way of knowing that. Now, the power is back on and I'm fine, except for having to walk around the half-dozen trees that blew down in the storm and the lake-sized puddles of melted snow/ice that are, well, everywhere.

Also, congrats to Josh for winning the Mahaffey, AGAIN! Miss you, buddy.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It was -5 this morning.

It's getting colder over here...I put on my new winter hat (the other one is often used for classroom games) this morning and it helped a lot. The cluster Jessica and I "adopted," Kozelets, and their link site, Oster, were both really awesome. Sometimes training clusters have weird dynamics...some people don't get along, the LCF/TCF is really intense, etc. However, everyone in both sites was totally great and I really hope that at least one of them gets placed in my Oblast. With all my Group 29 friends finishing their service, my Oblast is getting kind of lonely. :-( So, the visit to Boguslav, our old training site, went really well too. My old host family was really glad to see me and I missed them a lot. Plus, the town looks like it's grown a lot in the last year, and not just because of the huge 10 story apartment building across from my apartment that wasn't there when I left! Other than that, things are just coming along. In other news, the Ducks are 8-1, woohoo, go Oregon! I think I'll give extra credit to the student who writes the best "Go Ducks" fight song. Miss you all, hugs!