The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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This is a recollection of one of the most embarrasing moments of my life. I knew the song I sung was banned at the summer camp I attend, but I never processed what the lyrics actually meant. I just knew that it was upbeat and everyone loved to sing the chorus. Luckily I didn't get the words wrong and finished my 12 years at Ukrainian school with 100% on the hardest exam of my life, until Drexel of course. The picture below was taken of my 4 other friends that passed and were right along side of me every year for 12 years.

Greetings from Jenkintown!

Finally, after 12 long years at this school, I am done! Today is a sunny Saturday in May, at St. Michaels Church here in Jenkintown PA. We've just finished our oral exams and heard our final grades before our graudation next week. I've been going to Ukrainian school every saturday during the school year for the past 12 years. Honestly, I don't think I learned as much as I did about Ukrainian history, literature, or language than I did these past few weeks. During the last year of Ukrainian school, 12th grade, we prepare all the knowlege we learned in the previous years and take an equivalent to an AP exam for credits in both Ukrainian language and history. Last week we had the written exams. They weren't too bad since the teachers eventually gave us the answers. On the other hand, the location of where we took the exam was awful. We took it in a church which was built in the early 1900s, and didn't have Air Conditioning. Since the exams are a formal affair, we were wearing suits and ties. The suits and heat were working together to provide such a hot and sweaty environment that our papers stuck to our hands as we wrote. By the end of the exam time I handed in a limp, sweat soaked piece of paper which had my answers on it. I was so glad to get out of that room and move on with my day. This week was a bit different. The oral exams were in the church hall and were a toss up for the questions we could get. A series of 20 questions were written on index cards and placed in a random order, faced down on a table. I was lucky enough to get a question which I knew the answer to religiously. I clambered up the little platform in front of the teachers and recited the information I had strenuously worked to memorize only a few nights beforehand. All was going well until one of the supervisors, an old, bent over woman named Olga, asked me to recite any poem by the poet I described whilst answering my question. Nothing came to mind. I had no clue of any poems that this dead man wrote in the 1800s. I knew Olga was one of my grandmother's friends, so I just started singing the first song that came to mind in Ukrainian. I knew the song from camp but I remembered that it was banned, and we weren't allowed to sing it anymore since it sent a bad message. After I finished singing a few verses I stopped dead in my tracks since I suddenly processed the words that were coming out of my mouth. The song was about a girl who agrees to come with a band of Cossacks, gets raped, tied to a tree, and set aflame, and there I was, a 17 year old singing this song to a bunch of retirees and my grandmother's best friend. I walked out of the room with my face as red as a rose, not looking back. I passed the oral exam with 100%.

The Wrong Words

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may 2012
Jenkintown, PA

This is a recollection of one of the most embarrasing moments of my life. I knew the song I sung was banned at the summer camp I attend, but I never processed what the lyrics actually meant. I just knew that it was upbeat and everyone loved to sing the chorus. Luckily I didn't get the words wrong and finished my 12 years at Ukrainian school with 100% on the hardest exam of my life, until Drexel of course. The picture below was taken of my 4 other friends that passed and were right along side of me every year for 12 years.

Decade: 2010s
Rating:
Recorded by Andrew Shatynski on May 27, 2014
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