Sunday, December 13, 2015

Wherein I Attend English Club

For the past several weeks, I have been attending "English Club" which meets Friday evenings from 7:00 until 8:30, 9:00 ish.  The club is open to anyone who wants to practice their English skills, speaking and listening.  So having a native English speaker attend and participate is something they look forward to.  Even if I am 40 to 50 years older than everyone in the group.

The club meets in the common area of a private Foreign Language School.  The school is one of several in Ukraine owned and operated by a private company.  It has three class rooms and teaches English, Polish and German.  The Polish and German classes are mainly adults who intend to go to Germany or Poland to work.  The English classes seem to be supplementary to English taught in schools and attracts mainly children, highschool students and university students.

The language school is located in the same building where I go to get my hair cut.   There is a small coffee/tea shop (four tables) in the building that I stop at for a cup of coffee after my haircut to support the new business.  The couple that run it also speak English.  I was in having coffee one day when the instructor of the English classes came in, heard me speaking and invited me to English Club.

There is a different theme every week and the group leader comes up with exercises that include everyone.  With 15 to 25 people (not everyone attends regularly) we are divided into three groups usually as no one will speak in the large group.  One week the theme was music, another week it was jokes, another week it was books.  This past Friday it was movies and the Club leader, Ina (EEna) (I am only 30 years older than she is) gave each group a set of cards with questions about movies. The set was handed around the group and each person had to read the question and answer it.  Some questions everyone had to answer.

The English class instructor, Dasha, has a class of 6 highschool students just before English Club and she asked me to attend the class and help with pronunciation. So the last two weeks I do that too.  The kids knew me from English Club and when they saw me they smiled all over. Dasha said they were never that happy to see her.

The Friday after American Thanksgiving, the organizing committee even brought lunch to English Club and the theme was food. There has been another native English speaker, Erica, attending for the past several weeks too.    She gave a presentation on traditional American Thanksgiving food.

 Erica is here with her family for three months mainly in Zholti Vody but also all over Ukraine and into Poland too. Erica is the oldest of nine children, three of whom are from Zholti Vody, having been adopted four years ago. The family is very musical and entertained the English Club on the day the theme was music.They have been singing in churches and orphanages on their travels.   Their mom is quite brave as all the kids are home schooled. They currently live in Oregon but are moving (back) to Texas when they get home in January.   Erica's father is Chris Booher, a successful business man and a professional musician, proficient on several instruments. He played fiddle for Asleep at the Wheel back in the late 90's before he decided being married was better than being famous.

Chris and I had coffee together one afternoon and it was very interesting to talk to him.  We both concluded America was going to hell in a handbasket but I suspect for totally opposite reasons.

Chris Booher on the right


  1. Going to Hell in a handbasket: it has always been this way.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  2. English Club sounds fascinating - what a great opportunity for both you and them to learn! But speaking of pronunciation, I have a question for you: How is Zholti Vody pronounced? I keep reading it according to English phonetics and wondering how it should really sound.

  3. I don't know if I say it correctly or not but the o's are both long and the i and y are pronounced as in (Jimm)y, maybe the i is a bit shorter sound. Now I will ask. This is the Ukrainian spelling. The Russian is more like Zhyovti Vody. Yellow Water is the direct English translation. The name and the river's name Yellow River are centuries old.


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