Lviv – Day Two - Awakening
Woah. Stuff with the group is just... ugh. Much as I complained about the encroachment of my fundamental freedoms (speech, association, etc..) in or presumed in my last program, I almost miss the situation there because at least we had a supervisor to keep us in line. Then again, it's good practice as adults to sort out our differences between ourselves rather than getting some outside authority involved.
It's been all I could do today not to utter “I want to go home.” Knowing how destructive such a comment is, I held onto my tongue for dear life. I'm feeling much better now – conducting an activity on past reflections and future initiatives made me realize that I have coping mechanisms available that I haven't fully tapped yet. (Yet another instance of the educational reality that the teacher often learns more than the student.) For instance, why aren't I teaching more English classes? If I want more, I should just ASK. Honestly, it never ocourred to me before.
I'm having trouble making friends – oh, as for acquaintances who I can shake hands with, I have hundreds, but as for in-depth relationships I honesltly have none. I haven't felt this alone since high school, and that's pretty damn bad. And now I know WHY I was alone in high school – it was because I didn't want to get involved in anything, and I didn't want to get involved in anything because I felt I was too much an outcast (and I was often treated like one). It was a sick, sick feedback loop which only broke for the brief periods I spent in P.E.I. - not that I was a different person in P.E.I., but the absence of difficult situations helped me establish a comfort zone.
Now I honestly feel that I can be happy anywhere, but the past few weeks has really been testing my fortitude. I suppose that's necessary. The really valuable experiences in life ought not always come easily.
The group is showing signs of burn-out, but our new focus to the future should help us greatly. We're planning something fun for Halloween and we're also working on a fundraiser for a now-hypothetical Ostroh CAP site (CAP orginally meant “Community Access Program,” which is a program in Canada, so I guess outside Canada it just means any place where one can access the Internet free of charge). Lee's working on an e-governance session, which should be vastly informative. (“Wait a minute, isn't Will on an e-governance program?!” “Shh, not so loud!”)
So, what can I do to make more friends here? I suppose I could open up more – I've spent the last month in survival mode and although I try to smile on the outside, I'm ducking and crouching and scuttling away like I used to do, and I'm sure it shows.
There's still one big, big problem – it's very difficult to have in-depth conversations. Our mutual linguistic legerdemain often stops us at asking each other what kind of music we like. I almost want to say it's impossible to make Ukrainian friends without learning Ukrainian. But wait, I'm wrong again! I once attended an English conversation club meeting and those were among the most feeling conversations I've participated in outside of the Canadians and a few people I get to see repeatedly. Sheesh, why didn't I call Ira and ask her when the next meeting was? I should have written it down because I forgot about it the following week and haven't picked it up since.
My goodness, there're two things already that ought to improve my outlook 100%. Now I can't wait to get back to Ostroh and get involved. I have been seeking out ways to get involved in Canada, why did I stop here? Oh, sure, I live way out in the boonies (which didn't stop me before) and all the information postings are in Ukrainian (this I admit is a new thing). But who needs posters when I have 70 Ukrainians saved in my phone? Sheesh. Sheesh, sheesh, sheesh. I'm going to take this great personalized mid-project notebook Lindsay made for me and slap it against my forehead.
So let's talk about Lviv. Today was another beautiful day. It's ironic that I'd be having to do such soul-searching in such an amazing place. It's a miracle that I'm even here. Today we had a tour of some really beautiful and interesting places – sixteenth-century this and seventeenth-century that – but what facinated me the most was the “high castle” - a forested park on a huge hill that we climbed, with stairs that encircled it and led up to a magnificent viewpoint crowned by a proud and bright Ukrainian flag. On top of a slightly shorter hill stood an enormous broadcasting tower. It was impressive, and I hope I got some good pictures, but it's hard to really know until you get them onto a computer because my camera's LCD display is hard to judge by.
I don't even know if I like travelling. Maybe I just like taking pictures.
Tomorrow we're going to the Lviv Opera House to see Strauss' comic operetta Die Fledermaus, and we've heard that this preformance will be a mix between an opera and a ballet. Now there's something Catherine and Katie could both sink their teeth into. That reminds me, I need to buy like a basket of postcards tomorrow or Thursday. I've barely cracked my list – well, there's another thing to keep me busy. =)
See you all soon! I hope we have lots to talk about.