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|
|Ukrainian chocolates, borscht, Rye bread, and napkins the color of the flag|