The biggest challenge to finding the holiday spirit is that IT IS RAINING! What gives? It's almost January and it hasn't really snowed since early November. It isn't even below freezing. At this rate, the ice fishermen have lost a good month of fishing! One thing though...it can't be blamed on global warming this year. It was apparently like this two winters ago, and when we arrived in March that winter it was a frozen tundra-like landscape (despite being a similarly slow-starting winter). Last year it was very cold early in the winter, but it did not linger long. So, it seems like seasonal variations in weather are the culprit. No matter what, we'll be happy when the mud turns to a nice, white blanket of snow.
Both of us have made the rounds of local educational institutions lately. Last week Sandy spoke to students at the Vinnytsia Economics and Trade College and taught 50 secondary teachers about Civics education. This week she ended up at a concert at School #4, after stopping by to drop off cookies for student Olya's birthday and finding a front row seat reserved for her. Eric talked to high school kids at School #6 about Leave No Trace principles (keepin' it clean in the neighborhood) and how to be active citizens in Ukraine. This week he taught secondary school teachers how to use the internet and find resources online. Life is always changing here, and education seems to be the key right now.
We hope each of you are finding your own form of holiday spirit. Know we are missing you this season and looking forward to seeing you.
ps, There are a lot more cars here than even a year ago. We have witnessed four car accidents (including the one Porsche Caynne in town) in just over a week. That is more than all the previous time we have been here.