Cross Cultural Experiences · Peace Corps - Ukraine

Christmas Never Ends

I can’t believe that the time came – the time I spent the holidays in a village in Ukraine.

Due to the non-stop whirlwind party that began on December 19 and just recently is beginning to slow down, I have little to comment on, but many pictures to share.

This was back in November when the first snowballs were thrown in our school yard:


This Ukrainian lady on the left tried on my “funny hat”. But look at the Ukrainian lady on the right, and you tell Me who is wearing the funny hat?!


This is St. Andrew’s day (December 13) where children eat huge donuts off a fishing pole while an adult marks their faces with flour. I’m not sure what the religious meaning behind this is…20140103-185523.jpg

I, too, shared my own Christmas experiences by baking dozens of ginger snap cookies and sharing with all my neighbors and other teachers. The main ingredients of molasses, ginger, and cloves are virtually non-existent in Ukraine so they were like nothing anyone ever tasted before! Plus, Grandma Karen’s secret family recipe…20140103-185530.jpg

This says: “Happy Holidays!” ❤ Jacqueline20140103-185537.jpg

The best and saddest part of the holidays were the care packages I received from my wonderful friends and family. Things are wonderful, but still a poor substitute for people.20140103-185549.jpg

Santa Claus comes to Ukraine too!20140103-185556.jpg


As part of the holiday season, I visited my friends’ sites – Daven and Hannah and we did ginger-bread houses, egg drops, new years resolutions, concert performances, caroling, and many other “traditional American things” that I never did before. I finally learned all 9 reindeers names!20140103-185636.jpg






This is me (on the right) with a real Ukrainian babushka escorting me to the train station. This is also proper form for carrying baggage in Ukraine:20140103-185810.jpg


I also helped celebrate Hannah’s birthday – she was born on Christmas day! To be honest, I never want to celebrate another birthday at a Ukrainian table again if it involves home-made wine or home-made vodka or any other alcohol at all.20140103-185824.jpg

When the other Americans came we did Secret Santa and made snickerdoodles!



Hannah was even given a goose by her school!20140103-185853.jpg

The Americans practice our grand-finale dance performance during the instrumental of Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer in front of hundreds of Ukrainians, as part of their annual Christmas Concert (somewhat equivalent to the Nutcracker ballet, except it is song after song of Ukrainian holiday music mixed with the plot of Cinderella (where Hannah starred as the fairy godmother)). See our stellar performance here!





Note the rhinestone stilletos worn by 8th grade Cinderalla, herself, as she sings “I’m a Survivor”






And that’s only the half-of it before we celebrated the REAL Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas on Jan 7th… more on that in an upcoming blog of Kate and my adventures through Ukraine…

One thought on “Christmas Never Ends

  1. Two comments…

    1. That was one skinny Santa, and
    2. Please tell me that Hannah did not receive a live goose!!

    Love, mom

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