Thursday, February 6, 2014

Culture Kid

Ruslana's class was assigned a project entitled "Culture Kid."  The objective of the project was for each student to learn about his/her heritage and present their findings to the class.  Ruslana's presentation was today (which also happens to be the one year anniversary of our first SDA appointment in Ukraine).

In the weeks leading up to her presentation, Ruslana showed more emotion than she has the entire time she's been home.  Something about researching her homeland and looking at photos triggered emotions that she hasn't expressed before.  Normally not one to cry,  she told me that she didn't know if she could talk about her friends in the presentation without crying (when I told her she didn't need to include them if it was too upsetting she said "of course I do!  I want my friends in America to know I have friends in Ukraine too!").  She also said that she'd had a headache for a few days because she was so worried about her friends in Ukraine.  Additionally, we talked about some of her teachers and other experiences in Ukraine.

This preparation period also marked a time of bonding, understanding, and love.  I heard the words "I love you" and "thank you for being my mama" more times than I could count.  For the most part, her behavior was at a high.  I think it started to sink in how much we love her, care for her, and that we will always be there for her and protect her.

Her presentation went great.   She talked about Ukraine's flag, religion, folk dance, food, geography, clothing, and a little bit about her life there.  She did a great job talking about her friends and even told a story about a special little boy, M, and how good at English he was.

Ruslana with her presentation board (and a mouthful of chocolate)
Writing her name in Ukrainian
Getting ready to present
Wanting to expose the students to Ukrainian culture, I made borscht and got Russian Rye bread to serve to the class.  They also had a piece of Ukrainian chocolate thanks to our friend Ashley who was just in Ukraine visiting her (soon-to-be official) children, two of Ruslana's dearest friends from her groupa.  Ashley, thank you--the chocolates were a hit!

Ukrainian chocolates, borscht, Rye bread, and napkins the color of the flag
This project ushered in much growth and we are so proud of Ruslana for doing such a wonderful job.  She's becoming quite the presenter!


  1. That is so awesome! I can only imagine how emotional it is for her to think of her homeland, as it remains so for Cava. Glad it became another way for the two of you to bond.

  2. Ruslana did such a great job today!!! I am so proud of her. Also, I am very proud of you and Mark for the great parents you are to Ruslana and Levi!!!