Memories of Ukraine often flood my days. I think of the friends, students, and other people I met during my three years living in that wonderful country. Today, as I was scrolling through facebook, I stumbled upon a Jimmy Fallon video that brought back plenty of delightful Ukraine memories. Here you go. Take a look.
I get it. You’re questioning why a Queen song reminds me of Ukraine, right? Well, it does and for a very good reason. From 2005-2007, I lived in a small village in Central Ukraine called Lypovets. In Lypovets, I served as an ESL instructor for students in grades 4 through 11. The students were great. They were generally cheerful, energetic, in school, and willing to meet with me. I’m not sure that the students were always eager to learn, but I’m starting to realize that such an expectation may be a bit much for students whose basic needs are not always met.In Lypovets, I was a pretty young teacher without a lot of life experience behind me. However, similar to the students, I was generally cheerfully, energetic, in school, and open to the various interactions with students in the school. I also gave the students fun assignments like – create your own country and flag or pick out a theme song for your group. Repeatedly, when we would do these creative activities, two to three groups in the room would pick out, “We Are the Champions.” For me, the song had previously been tied to my crushes on Emilio Estevez and Joshua Jackson in The Mighty Ducks. But because of my students and their love for this catchy motivational song, when I hear it these days, I think first of Ukraine and my amazing students belting this song out in our dusty, uneven floored classrooms at the end of Shkilna Street in Lypovets.