Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Observations on Ukrainian Culture: Part 1

Sorry I didn't get a post up last night. I went on a run in the evening (it was almost a near death experience) and watched the sunset, so I wasn't back in until around 10:00. I was pretty tired so I just prepared a bit more for my lesson today and went to bed.

So, about that near death experience. At one point in my run, I was running along the river and a lot of people were out their with their cars having picnics. Just when I was coming up behind one the biggest German Shepherd I have ever seen (seriously, its ears probably came up to my chest) started walking out from around the front. When it caught a glimpse of me running he started trotting towards me so I started to do a semi circle around the vicinity. He kept coming at me and I put my hand down, what little good that would do, when the owner steps out and shouts the dogs name. I keep running, a bit faster now, and I hear the dog coming after me. I look back to see it sprinting after me with its head down like it is about to go for my foot, or more likely a whole leg. I shout "NO!" and now the whole family is standing up shouting the dogs name and he finally stops and turns back around. But the run felt good, and the sunset was amazing, so it was worth it. :)

This is the first in a series of posts I will be doing.

Language: There are a few striking aspects of Ukrainian that are familiar. In retrospect I remember thinking how hard the language seemed with such a different alphabet, but now I am learning which letters make which sounds, and if I can sound it out it is surprisingly similar to English. My knowledge of German and experience with Spanish drastically helps as well. I already feel pretty comfortable roaming around the city by myself having managed an essential living vocabulary set of basic pleasantries (Pleasantries in Ukraine are a lot more widespread. it is not uncommon to say "dobrogo dnja"/"good day" 15-20 times in a 5 minutes walk). Give me a dual language dictionary/phrase book and I am good to go. Give me another month or two and I could probably start to fit in with society, somewhat. I had a humorous realization yesterday when hanging out with Pastor Romaniuks 4 year old daughter. She will talk your ear off and care less if you understand a word she is saying. Everyone once and awhile I would shake her hand and say "dobrey dain" to humor her. She would crack up (of course this girl is ALWAYS laughing) and get a kick out of that, then just keep rattling off in Ukrainian. But I digress from the point of the story. At one point I was standing in awe at her fluency in Ukrainian thinking how intelligent she sounded, and feeling so stupid about myself. After sharing this with a few Ukrainians, apparently they have the exact same feeling when they hear a young child speaking fluent English. It's like "I have been trying to learn English for years and this child is how old and can already speak fluent English!?"

More to come soon! I have to finish getting ready for VBS this morning. I hope everyone stayed safe during 4th of July and I was right, fireworks were lame. All I heard was a couple gunshots. :)

If anyone out there is still looking for prayer requests, pray that the rest of this week would be utilized to the fullest in my interaction with the kids! My time is so short, and that is frustrating, but the opportunity with the time I have been given is amazing!

Do Zavtra (Till Tomorrow).

In Christ Alone,
David Knepprath


Mirranda said...

I just got back from a Fourth of July celebration. Needless to say, I was mocked and ridiculed all night - but I survived.

I'm glad you escaped the massive dog, equally unscathed.

What does 'dobrey dain' mean?

David Knepprath said...

dobrey dain means Good Day.

So explain to me why you were at a 4th of July celebration my British friend? ;)

Melissa Jo said...

Humm..4th of July...I almost died again :) my family is psycho...they cannot point fireworks to save well their lives lol -Mel
German Shepards are so pretty lol