Though Jessica and I have been able to visit the Internat twice while taking classes at THNPU, today was our first official day of work. It was also Miri's first Internat visit as well (tomorrow already marks her one week anniversary in Ukraine!). I can only speak for myself, but I am fairly certain that both Jess and Miri are feeling what I'm feeling right now - multiple conflicting emotions, especially the overwhelming sort.
The three of us met at THNPU, as it is a fairly central location from our host families. Oksana Pysarchuk (our former tutor and an overall delightful girl!) was able to tag along for an hour or so - this is always appreciated as her ability to translate comes in kinda handy... We could hear various sounds of laughter, yelling, and crying as we came around the back corner of the Internat - I turn to Miri and say, "Welcome to chaos." Within minutes, all four of us had been swarmed once again by girls of all ages. I was led to a bench, with girls literally all over me - two on my lap, one on each arm, another climbing up behind me. On the other side of the courtyard, the same scenario was unfolding for both Jess and Miri while Oksana was talking with staff.
The girls were called inside to eat lunch (обід) at 1, which gave us a small window of time to take everything in - nice to relax for a minute or two, at least! We talked with a young girl named Улана (Oolana), who lives nearby. She spends a lot of time at the Internat, playing with the girls, and was a huge help to us today in terms of communication and explanations. Hopefully we will be seeing her often. After their lunch, most of the girls head to their rooms to sleep. We spent the rest of the afternoon outside at the Internat park with some of the older girls, playing volleyball, and dancing - Луба (Luba) was an especially impressive interpretive dancer.
We left to catch our bus back into Ternopil around 3, our heads spinning. The three of us (Oksana had left earlier for class) feel that this week will be quite low key, as we'll familiarize ourself with all of the girls and their needs, as well as the staff and the facilities... Hoping to get a better idea of what the girls need most and how we can best serve them in the weeks ahead.