Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Observations on Ukrainian Culture: Part 2

I have gotten a little bit annoyed with some of the material we were provided for VBS. The application and setup of material for the main lessons are not fitting for the kids. I discovered this after the first day. But, after discussing with the pastor and missionaries, I am not using the provided ESL (English as a Second Language) material either. There are so many errors in the material and the activities are not compelling enough that it's not even worth trying to track down all the errors. I don't want to sound indignant without reason so here is an example of what I mean. In one activity, a list of Bible references is provided with a second list including various names of Jesus written in English (ex. "The Branch", "Father", "Shepherd"). The kids are instructed to look up the verses in a Ukrainian Bible and match it with the corresponding name that is in the passage. First of all, I don't completely understand how this is teaching kids very much English. Second off all, almost half of the Bible references didn't even include a name of Jesus in them (And its not differences in the translation of the Ukrainian Bible either, I checked through references in the English Bible with the pastor as well). Multiple passages contained "Jesus", but I think that was purely by luck. And one passage contained a name for Jesus that wasn't even on the list. GRRR! So as of yesterday I am completely preparing my own Bible lesson AND ESL lesson. I'm not complaining, I actually prefer it this way. I really like preparing my own lessons. It has also given me the opportunity to use a lot of my high school German teachers techniques. I'm still using the supplied crafts though! Crafts have gone wonderfully.

Alright, enough venting, here is Part 2 in my "Observations on Ukrainian Culture":

Clothing: Ukrainians truly are a beautiful people. I think I am starting to understand Europe's negative view on Americans, and thatÂ’s if you only look as superficial as clothing. J For lack of better words, we are such slobs in America. I feel so out of place in Ukraine, not because I am American, but because I am so poorly dressed, and not in the quality of my clothes, but in my sense of fashion. Ironically, back in the States, if anything I normally feel over dressed in comparison to my peers, especially guys. I know a few guys back home that pride themselves in their sense of fashion who would be put to shame in Ukraine. The funny thing is Ukraine could hardly be considered one of the more extravagant European countries when it comes to their standard of living, and yet they are so well dressed. But it is not just a sense of fashion. They definitely don't save dressing nice only for special occasions. For example, a girl will be wearing high heals and what I would consider a prom dress at 8:00 in the morning just to go to the market, nicer then most girls in America dress for church on Sunday morning. The fashion gap is even greater for guys. It is by no means uncommon to a man of any age, any day of the week, at any time of the day walking around in leather shoes or sandals, khakis or slacks of some sort, and a button up shirt. But all very fashionable, not in an American stodgy business style of clothing. Ukrainians may not be able to afford a half decent place of living, compared to Americans standards, but they sure don't let that hold them back from dressing like supermodels. Oh ya, one more thing. The whole "gangster"/sagging pants fad is pretty much non-existent here. I LOVE IT!

Rock, Paper, Scissors: I thought this one warranted a section of its own. I always figured the game "Rock, Paper, Scissors" was pretty standard around the world. That just goes to show my ignorance. Instead of slapping a closed fist on your hand 3 times before choosing your weapon of choice, in Ukraine you do a full arm extension swing "karate chop" style at each other 3 times before choosing. Interesting eh? I thought so.

Two post in one day, you guys should be thankful! :) I plan on having one uptomorroww night as well.

In Christ Alone,

David Knepprath


Mirranda said...

1) Good luck with creating your own lessons, that must be fun!

2) I love European fashion. :)

3)I can't picture playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors" like that...

Melissa Jo said...

...I am confused...So like they dress very well to go to the supermarket? or not? lol I want to see a picture of this! Your lessons sound hilarious, I hope that they understand as well as you lol -mel

Mom said...

I enjoy your blog. I check it several times a day to see if you added anything new. Don't you know that if you run the dog will chase you? Glad you outran him.

Maybe you can write up some Sunday School lessons for us to use next summer.

Mirranda said...

Regarding your remarks about the Fourth of July :) -

Some friends invited me to go with them. I still enjoy the fireworks and noise and everything! My dad forgot himself though, and wore his favorite shirt - one that says ENGLAND across it in large noticeable lettering. We got some glares. lol. -Myrrh

Vernon said...

Since you like coming up with your own lesson plans, we are still looking for a volunteer to present on the prophet Malachi. It's toward the end of summer, so you have some time to come up with something really fun and interesting for our kids. By then they will be getting used to someone dressing up as a prophet. I did it a couple of Sundays ago, and will probably do it again this Sunday.

David Knepprath said...

Mirranda, preparing lessons has been a lot of fun. I think I have been spoiled with European fashion. And I cannot picture Bilbo Baggins wearing an "England" shirt to a 4th of July celebration. Too funny!

Melissa jo, Thanks for your faithful commenting! :) Sorry I haven't been to good at commenting back to everyone. I will try and be better about that. Figures I learn that with only a couple days to go. And I have plenty of pictures, no need to worry about that.

Mom & Dad, ya I probably just volunteered myself for a lot of stuff with that post eh? :)