Friday, July 07, 2006

Observations on Ukrainian Culture: Part 4

I have to finish preparing my lesson for the last day of VBS, sad day, and I am also going to write notes on Oregon postcards to hand out to all my kids. But for now, here is Part 4:

Music: They love Shakira. She has replaced Britney Spears who used to be the huge pop-culture icon over here. I have heard the song Blue by Eiffel 65 (Does anyone remember them besides me?) as a ringtone on cell phones a couple times. I heard some old school Backstreet Boys today on the radio. I'm pretty sure this much Queen hasn't been played on the radio since USA in the 80's. They LOVE Queen, all ages too. I was getting my room ready for class and Pastor Romanuik was humming "We Are the Champions". 80's music in general (I will never get tired of Aha's "Take on Me") is pretty popular as are the Beatles.

Free Time Recreation: Drive down to the river, park, wash your car, start a campfire, have a picnic, and drink (alcohol). If you don't have a car, then you either go with someone who does, or replace the first 3 steps with "walk to the river". Alcohol is much more prevalent in everyday society. I went to a café at a mall the other afternoon where about 95% of the customers (with the legal drinking age being 18) were either drinking beer or wine. I imagine just as high of a percentage of people 18-21 probably drink in America, and in greater quantities, purely because it is illegal; the whole "forbidden fruit" idea. If it was legal then it would probably not be as big of a deal. I'm sure the situation with the legal drinking age is much more complex and I don't have the knowledge or expertise to properly analyze the situation, so I won't pretend to. Personally, I think life can, and is, enjoyable enough without having to use alcohol as a crutch to make it enjoyable, so the legal drinking age makes no difference to me anyhow. Gambling is unfortunately another rampant recreational activity. Enough state official deputies got paid off in the last couple years to allow gambling kiosks to be put up in sidewalks. Essentially six sided slot machines for people to dump all there wages into. Knowing the poverty level and the overall economic condition of Ukraine, it is a bit depressing seeing groups of people huddled around these machines at any given time of the day. And I can guarantee you this lottery money isn't going to public education or state parks. The Bistritsya River is by far the biggest attraction in Ivano-Frankivsk, although there are a few bowling alleys, a movie theatre, several athletic facilities, any number of makeshift football (soccer) fields, and I hear there are one or two night clubs in town.

I will probably be posting my final "Observations on Ukrainian Culture" at some point tomorrow, which might be my final posting from Ukraine as well. We will have a VBS "Concert" after church Sunday. Pray that a good amount of the kids will come! From there I will be taking the train back to Kiev. I will have one more day in Kiev, and then its time to start the journey which will hopefully recover that half of a day of my life that mystically disappeared.

Through My Ever Faithful Savior and Friend,
David Knepprath


Mirranda said...

The Beatles! Yes! :)

I will pray that you are able to make the most of your final few days.

And when you arrive, you will suddenly be half a day younger. Odd, that.

Jami said...

Thanks, David!

I was hoping you'd say that! Our closing devotion starts at 11:15. I'll put you for 11:15 - 11:25 on Thursday. I didn't realize you were going right back to work. Thanks for being willing to take your lunch break to do this. We REALLY appreciate it and can't wait to "hear and see" about your experience. Have a wonderful last couple of days and a safe trip home.


Melissa Jo said...

Wow...I couldn't imagine seeing all those kids here in the US, they'd be drunk its sad but true. I am glad you are having a blessed time. Awesome music choices :) -mel