Monday, July 12, 2010

How parents should treat their children

- an essay by Irina S., age 16

Having children and taking care of them is one thing but respecting their choices and accepting the way they are is another. That's why parents should know how to treat their children right and always be there for them no matter what, through the good and the bad!

In my research I found out that children and teens need attention from their parents and if they don't get that attention they start to get depressed. Depression is the main contributor to teenage suicide. These findings are from researchers at Kings College in London.

Teenagers chose to keep things inside instead of sharing them with their parents, because parents do not listen to what their children have to say, or do not give them the attention they need. Some parents are just too busy or they are not the type of parents that understand, so kids decide to keep things away from them. Teenagers need you, parents.

For example my mom and I are not that close. I can't really trust her with things. She'll think negative about me, judge me, and it will affect me in a bad way and I don't want that, so I decide to keep things away. This is how some teanagers get depressed and, as I said before, depression is the main the main contibutor to teenage suicide.

I think parents should listen to their kids more often and show their kids that they care about their problems. I would want to see kids trusting parents, that way kids will tell their parents a lot and will get great advice from their them. Kids should be comfortable and turn to parents instead of a buddy or the world!

Parents, please LISTEN UP! Learn to cooperate with your children listen to them, talk to them, see what they have to say and what's on their minds, give time to them. What if your children are going through a hard time and have no one to turn to and you may not know it? At least be there for them!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

- art by Liliya K, age 16
Their anger stood on my toe,
Their mind stood by,
They never let up,
But I stood my ground.

- by Sergey S., age 15
Farming is my life
Shovel in my hands
Rain and pain mixed
I wish I could go home

- by Julia Salyuk, age 15

Thursday, June 17, 2010

all day working
tired of dehydration
bottle of water in the sun
blisters from the sledge hammer
starts to rain.

- by Vladimir Kolombet, age 17
Abundance of water
Known as the greenest state
Here is where I live

- by Yana Yukhimchuk, age 17
City lights brightly aglow
breathing in the heavy aroma of coffee
this is my home

- by Taya Khrupina, age 17

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

fresh green trees
rainy days
no winter

- by Vlad Kolombet, age 17
For today
I have to build a railroad
piece by piece
and hours of work
still so many left

- by Gennadiy Stepanenko, age 19

[Editor's note: The above poem comes from a high school Language Arts "Oregon History Through Literature" unit. After learning about the experience of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans in Oregon, starting in the late 1800s and spanning all the way through World War II, youth wrote poetry, taking on a fictional identity and describing life through the lens of a Japanese American person in Oregon.]

Zinza's Story

When I look at myself in the mirror
I see how my life story effects it.
I see the tears, the pain, the love.
The love I miss is the love of my life.
The love I am scared to lose.
I lost my family, I found love.
But he went to war to make this over.
I want peace, not blood.
I look at this heart he gave me
So that I never leave anyone.
I am waiting for him to get back.
And we will have our wedding.
We will move to a peaceful place
Where there is no war.
Only me and my love.
I lost my parents because of war.
But I will not lose my love.
I wait and read my book; it's drama.
So not true, but I believe that miracles happen.
I am Indian, so it's hard for me to see blood.
I am Zinza who is waiting for my love.
I miss my love.
I wait for him forever.
He is my love.
He and I will live in peace some day.
Sometime me and my love.

- by Lili Garkavets, age 15

[Editor's note: After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of someone new or established in the region during that time. This is one of the poems.]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When you write my story

When you write my story
tell them about the leadership I had
about my land and how beautiful it was
about the people in my tribe
about the struggles in my life
about the peace and love I had for my people
tell them that my life wasn't easy
they should know that the land that we had was a blessing
tell them about the good things
when you write my story, don't forget to write it well

- by Victoria Kharitonenko, age 17

[Editor's note: After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of someone new or established in the region during that time. This is one of the poems.]

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Away from family

I'm from the place that has been through so much
I'm from a poor family
That fell apart
Parents work too hard
To keep their children alive
I walk on cracked roads
Hear soft whispers
Loud noises
As I slowly turn around
I still see the slow motion
People run from place to place
Mothers trying to save their kids
When father is working hard and
Getting just a tiny piece of bread
I walked a way
Heart is filled with tears
They brake out on my face
Slowly slide down
I've seen so much
I'm full for a lifetime
I'm from a world in which you won't survive.

- by Taya Kedrich, age 15

Thursday, June 10, 2010

- art by Katie Eskova, age 17

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fighting over Land

-by Aleksandr Bakhmatov, age 15

Shovel in the enriched dark soil.
Courage of the explorer.
Intense heat on the human inhabitants of the world.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

white clouds
swim fast
the blue sky
somewhere in the south

- by Artem Stepanenko, age 16

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the distraction of tv

- art by Victoriya Tsygipalo, age 16

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the Japanese American internment experience through poetry

as seen through the eyes of Slavic youth today


My life went through the ground,
And got raised up to the skies,
But I found a way out
In the middle of it all.

- by Sergei, K, age 15


All cold
in a barn
with family
Lost everything
Empty inside

- by Lily K., age 15


different from everyone
away from home
like animals in a barn
hot summers, cold winters
like one big family

- by Lili G., age 16


Empty rooms
Strangers carry out my treasures
Trapped inside these hollow walls
I sit in boredom

- by Liliya K., age 15


Cracked roads
soft whispers
tears on my cheeks

- by Taya K., age 16


Thorns stretch out on wires
Hollow buildings await history
Law breaks our memories
and leaves us all in mystery

- by Victoriya T., age 16


No hitting around,
No sores from the punch,
My life lost everything,
And gained the knowledge of how to
start from scratch
From nothing again, I started it then

- by Alex B., age 15

[Editor's note: This work comes from a high school Language Arts "Oregon History Through Literature" unit. After learning about the experience of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans in Oregon, starting in the late 1800s and spanning all the way through World War II, youth wrote poetry about the internment experience]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Letters to Family: The Chinese Experience in 19th century Oregon through the eyes of Slavic youth

[Editor's note: This work comes from a high school Language Arts "Oregon History Through Literature" unit. After learning about the experience of Chinese immigrants to the American West in the mid- to late 1800s, youth were asked to write and respond to letters from the perspective of fictional, historically-based characters who were part of the local Chinese community. In their letters they wrote to family in China about their experiences in America, and their families wrote back. This activity was paired with writing letters to the editor regarding the conditions of Chinese immigrants and the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.]


My dear family,

I'm writing you this letter to tell you what I have experienced working in the United States and how they treat us. I am working here as a builder of railroads. We plant explosives and blast tunnels through mountains. They don't have safety, so a lot of people have died. So much of the building is for the Americans. They are so not fair to us, and I think they never will treat us as people--that I can tell you right now.


We got your mail. It looks like you have had a hard time working in the United States. We are barely making any money and we have no food to eat. I hope that we can move and join you and help you.


Hello my dear family,

I'm writing from America. I have learned their language and their traditions. Everything is new here, and at the same time different and difficult. I miss you all a lot. It's very hard to be away from my family. I have opened my own restaurant and it's going very well so far. There is pressure from everywhere, but I'll handle it.


Hi dear husband,

We really miss you and we remember the time when you were with us. We are happy to hear about your business and that you are okay, but we want to be there with you. I know that it's not possible for now, so remember your family. Good luck.


Dear parents,

My life is harder than it was before I moved to America. Finding a job here is not easy. You've got to put your mind to it and look for work till you get it. It took me months to find it. I finally found it in a restaurant as a waiter. It's not so hard, but still, you need skills for it. I wanted to come visit, but they closed the border, so I cannot go back and forth. As soon as I can, I'll come.

From your son,


I am very sorry to hear this. I think you should come back home and leave that prejudiced country where they discriminate against our people. It's because they're jealous. But until next time, goodbye. I hope to see you soon.


My dear, most loving wife,

Life in America isn't at all the dream we thought it would be. Cooking out in the sun while building the railroad, just to receive a little amount of money. I'm here, but my heart and mind is always with you. It's very hard, but only you keep me hammering, pulling, and simply breathing. I will be waiting for your gentle words.

Your husband Y.Y.


Hello my lovely husband,

Glad to hear from you. I thought I never would. I'm sorry it's hard for you and I ain't there to help. I want to come as soon as I can to help you. We should have never chosen you to go there. I miss you much. Love you.

Your wife


Hello my dear family,

Life here is very hard. I work day and night. They beat me last night because I was falling asleep. Some dynamite exploded out of nowhere while we were building the railroad. I was injured, but I am okay now. Here is some money. I got it for you. Feed the family and get them clothes. If there is some left over, fix the leak in the roof.


Honey, are you okay? I wish you never had left. Is there any way you could come back? The kids miss you. How is life there? Do you have a bed and a house?

Yours only, P.
Love you



I got a job and I have to live here. You can't come here because of the law. I hate it, but I hope somehow you can come here to visit me. I like it here and wish you could be here. My job pays minimum wage and I can live on it.


I got your letter and I am happy that you are okay. Don't worry about us. You just take care of yourself.

From K.H.


My dear family,

I thought this country would have some respect for us, but obviously they hate us because of how we look. They say we take their jobs, but we have to to not die in this discriminating country. I want to go home, but I can't because I use my paycheck to eat and sleep every day and there is mostly no extra pennies to buy something good for myself, like clothes, shoes or something for my birthday.

Mai Chan

P.S. I used the extra money I had saved to buy paper, pencil, envelope and stamp to mail this to you, so you won't forget me.


Well, life is really hard here too. We can't raise the kids. We don't have any money. I want to go see you, but they won't let us.



Dear Mom and Dad,

My life in America was very hard when I first came here. Finding a job was like a treasure hunt for me. Because I was Chinese, I wasn't accepted, so I ended up washing dishes and cleaning the bathroom at an old cafe. I need money to pay for my room and board. I wish you were here to help me out and support me, but I will never see you again, because they passed a law saying you can't come. Say bye to everyone for me. Love you so much. Miss you!



Dear daughter,

We don't read English, but you seem to be well. We miss you. Your father passed away yesterday. We love you,



Dear C.M.,

I miss you so much. Why did you have to move to America? You are my favorite cousin. I wish life was different, because I'm so tired of prostitution. Life isn't fair at all. Anyway, enough about my miserable life. How is America? Any lovers? Please write back as soon as possible. Tell me when you are visiting. I wonder if the government received my documents, so I can come join you in America. I love you, my favorite cousin.


I miss you so much too. I have one lover. America is great, better than I thought it would be. Thanks for mailing me.


Dear Mother,

I miss you so much. I think about you every day, every minute and second, because you're the only one who's left. I really want to sit on your lap and hug you, but you know I can't. People don't have a heart. But I hope I'll see you in heaven and we will be together forever!

Your daughter.


Dear daughter,

I miss you too. I'm getting letters that say that many Chinese girls work as prostitutes. You better be careful. You can get all kinds of diseases, sweetie, and you don't want to die young. I love you and miss you.


Dear Mother,

It's your son Chan. I'm writing you from my home in America. It is very hard for me to live here. I really miss home. Here they treat me unfairly. They pay very low and everywhere I go, I get discriminated against, because the white people spread racist lies about our kind, saying we are stealing their jobs and they want us to leave. But I'm not going anywhere, because I know one day this will all change. Until next time, goodbye, mother. Tell the family I say hello.


Dear son,

I miss you and cry every day, hoping to see you again. Dear son, be strong. Don't give up. You can do it. Be nice to everyone, and they will be nice to you. Dear son, I miss you, so does all the family. Hope to see you again.

- by students of Azbuka Academy, Portland, Oregon

Letters to the Editor Regarding the Passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

[These letters, challenging the 1882 passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, are one of the writing projects Slavic teens at Azbuka Academy did when learning about the Chinese experience in the American West.]


Dear Editor,

My name is Sara, and I want to argue about the statements in the newspaper. I think that the statement about no more Chinese people allowed to immigrate to the U.S. is wrong. I have a family in China and I want to see them. I think that it is not fair at all. Chinese people are like everyone else. Please rethink it and allow people to immigrate.


Dear Editor,

My name is Jane Williams and I'm from London. I heard about the Chinese Exclusion Act and I'm against it. I think it's not fair that Chinese people have to work harder than everyone and that some of the women have to be prostitutes to get money. I think it's horrible that men can be stoned and attacked at any time. I think the Chinese are the same kind of people as us. I would hate for the law to pass. I will do everything to help for it not to.


Dear Editor,

My name is Sveta Green. I live in Moscow and I disagree with the Chinese Exclusion Act because it is very harsh that the Chinese people can't be citizens of the United States of America. I think people are equal and should have the same privileges.


Dear citizens of the USA,

My name is Tanya and I am from Russia. I think the Chinese Exclusion Act is not fair. It's unjust for the Americans to take away the right to move here from China. Please try to think about it, try to place yourself in their place. How would you like to be separated from your family or not be able to marry a girl from your community? The Chinese are doing dangerous jobs for us and we are trying to separate them from their families.


To the editor:

I disagree with this law, because the Chinese are people and they have families and friends. The government shouldn't use these men as a cheap labor force; it is discrimination. This is a form of discrimination on the part of the American government.

- by students of Azbuka Academy, Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Enemy

[Editor's note: After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of someone new or established in the region during that time. This is one of the poems.]

Weeds of anger fill my soul
My cheeks fill up with fire
Crackling dirt as I walk down the road
A sign of enemies coming

They shoot their arrows into the air
From the bow that breaks in sorrow
The childish cry of victory
The smell of blazing fire

I turn to glance, my tribe has won
The cry of babies, the shouting of mothers
Chaos erupts like a flaming volcano
In the soul we all are winners

- by Liliya Kharitonenko, age 15

Swings after the war

by Fred Vasilchuk, age 14

Swings after the war
Nine years it lasted
With a clear sky after the rain and smoke
Silence after the noise

[photo credit: Wyrdcrow]

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cherry and her family

- by Sergey Salyuk, age 15

My name is Cherry.

I want to have a beautiful house and a lot of bread and cooked meat,
a nice garden, planted with vegetables and fruits.

I have a nice husband and a little dark child and a very poor house.

I have a fear of war and not enough food and my child having diseases.

I fish with my husband with nets to have something to eat at home.
It's hard to fish and pull the net out of the water with a lot of fish.

My name is Cherry and I love my husband.

[Editor's note: After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of someone new or established in the region during that time. This is one of the poems.]

I had a family

- by Sveta T., age 16

I had a family before
I had people I loved
I still smell the baked, brown, glazed chicken made by mother.
And I still remember the day I was taken away forever.
They rushed into my home,
grabbed me and never let go,
the last words heard from mother and father:
stay strong and never give up.
Tears roll down my cheeks now,
wanting to stay with mother and father in our home
and wanting some of that yummy, mouth-watering chicken.
Here the days seem like years
and the chores aren't the chores that I used to do at home.
And now I miss them even more
and wonder do they miss me and want me home?

[Editor's note: This poem describes the experience of forceful removal of Native American children from their families to attend government-sponsored boarding schools. The poem is the result of an English class project examining local history through literature. After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of someone new or established in the region during that time.]

Sunday, May 9, 2010

just a girl

- by Natasha Dumitrash, age 17

like a flower
I grow
and the flower blooms
remember me as a smart one
when they ask about my beauty
answer them with guarantee
never have doubts about me
I was gentle like a white rose
loving like a romance between two
I never questioned others
lived my life with no regrets
I'm strong like a leaf in the tree
holding on through all four seasons

[Editor's note: This poem is the result of an English class project examining local history through literature. After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of someone new or established in the region during that time.]

My name is J Shaun

- by Andrey German, age 15

My name is J Shaun
I grew up in Oregon
where the forest was green and the flowers were colorful
where people were nice until white people came along.
They took three sons from me
I taught them well
I thought all of them would come back
but only one of them showed up.
Now the forest is brown with very few trees left.
I called them the white monsters riding weird creatures.

[Editor's note: After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth in a high school English class were asked to write a poem from the perspective of someone new or established in the region during that time.]

I am a warrior and I am afraid

- by Iosif Dumitrash, age 16

I am a warrior and I am afraid.
I am in a war,
holding a gun and running scared,
killing more than I thought I would be.
I am not afraid to die.
I am afraid for my family and how they will survive.
I am hungry,
feeling my stomach sucking in to my body.
I am thirsty and would even drink the blood of a rabbit.
I am going hunting for snakes and rabbits,
eating bugs when I can't hunt,
waiting for the war to be over so I can go home.

[Editor's note: This poem is the result of an English class project examining local history through literature. After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of someone new or established in the region during that time.]

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Here Is to History: Conversations from Early Oregon History

[Editor's note: These dialogues come from a high school Language Arts "Oregon History Through Literature" unit. Students were asked to create and take on fictional characters from the early to mid-1800s in Oregon and to have conversations on paper with each other from their character's perspective.]


William: "My name is William Smith. I am twenty-three-years-old. I am coming to Oregon from England. My reason for coming to Oregon is for land. I am going to plant plants and sell them back in England. I am also coming to Oregon to tell the Indians about God."

Beth: "It is very nice to meet you, William. My name is Beth, and I'm twenty-one years of age. Those are very interesting thoughts. What kind of plants are you going to be growing? Are you coming here with your family? The reason I'm coming to America is to find big, beautiful stones that sparkle. The Americans call them diamonds, I believe."

William: "Oh, yes. Diamonds. I've heard. I am not much of a looker. No, I came here by myself. My family died on the way here. We didn't have enough food. I had a brother. He was ill when we decided to travel. My parents were old and did not get enough food. I did my best to keep them alive. How many people are in your family?"

Beth: "Oh dear, I'm so sorry! But I feel your pain. My mother passed not long before I left. And my Papa stayed in Italia. But I came here with my older brother. He's very rich and decided to put that money somewhere useful. He's going to help me with the diamonds."

William: "I am sorry, Miss Beth. Well, best of luck to you and your brother. Hope you find everything you're looking for."

Beth: "Thank you, Mr. William. Best of luck to you too. Farewell."


Isabell: "My name is Isabell Swan, and I'm coming to America to find my grandmother. Also, to find love... I'm a faithful follower of God and I want to come here to spread the word of his love."

Sakalama: "Dear Isabell, in your religion, what does your God do and what are his powers? What type of love are you looking for? Don't look too hard, because your true love could be always right next to you without noticing. And if you are the faithful believer, you should have your soul mate following you and finding the connections between you two. Let your true love find you instead. Sincerely, Sakalama, a.k.a. Bird"

Isabell: Oh my dear Sakalama, I listened to your advice and love found me! We're getting married. I'm so blessed. My God is the all mighty. He has the power of all. He made my planet and galaxy, all of existence."

Sakalama: "I am extremely happy for you, my dear child. I hope that your love will last for decades and will continue like the stars in the sky. I see that we are different from each other, but I do relate to your life. I do hope that your God will continue blessing you with happiness. - Bird."


Stella: "Hello, my name is Stella Garbachova. I'm coming to Oregon to save the people."

Lulu: "Hello, my name is Lulu. Where are you from?"

Stella: "I come from Paris. And I'd like to know who you believe in and what kind of belief it is? Do you think I have the chance to save many people in this place? What kind of food do you eat? Is it safe here?

Lulu: "In the Takeima tribe, we believe that our best chance for productive lives depends on our learning useful skills and the English language. You might have a chance. We eat lots of foods. One of them is corn. It was safe here until the bad people started coming."

Stella: "Why and when did the bad people come? Could you please tell me where I can meet them? Maybe I could stop them and save them and tell them about God."


Bill: "My name is Bill Gates and I'm a missionary that came to Oregon in 1812 to give people a chance to know the Bible and to save their souls."

Bob: "My name is Bob and I was a fighter for twenty years. No more."

Bill: "Now I call on you to fight for religion and to kill people with the word that is given in the Bible."

Bob: "This is the end."

Bill: "For you the end will be if you don't save your soul."


Oleg: "My name is Oleg. The reason I came as a missionary to Oregon is to tell Native Americans about my religion and try to convert them to forget their religion and believe in mine."

Chiku: "My name is Chiku. I've been a fighter for ten years. I will fight for my people and my beliefs. I have and I want to be free from the white religion because I trust my beliefs that have helped me every time in war, hunting and family life."

Oleg: "Ok, then we will take your kids away from you and send them boarding schools and we will teach them the religion we believe in."

Chiku: "I will kill you now or then, but I will kill you and your family when this happens. Our people will fight till the end and I bet our people are stronger than yours and pretty good with shooting arrows and throwing knives."

Oleg: "You and the other Native Americans will be asked nicely to move onto reservations. If you won't, you will be forced to move there in a while. If you fight, we will kill all of your tribe."

Chiku: "You are taking our land and now you want war after we did good for your people. You are so greedy that you shall die here."


Seth: "My name is Seth. I decided to come to Oregon, because of the land and to preach to the Indians. Also, a lot of my family came to Oregon and I want to be with them."

Abhilasha: "Hello, my name is Abhilasha. It means 'wish' or 'desire.' I wish we weren't being chased off our land. We don't mind sharing it with you and we're very friendly. Why do you want to preach to us? About what?"

Seth: "Abhilasha--very beautiful name. You sure do seem friendly and so are we. We want to preach about the good news and salvation. It's very important to know about it."

Abhilasha: "Thank you! I see. That sounds interesting, but I'm a little bit confused. What is the good news?"

Seth: "The good news is that God died on the cross for us and our sins. There is much more to that, but I prefer talking about it in person."

Abhilasha: "That is very interesting. I want to know more. We should meet soon to talk about it."


"My name is Safia. My husband is Sabal. We have two kids, Sakki and Salima. We came here to Oregon for fishing and animal fur."

"Really? How old are your kids? Where are you planning to live? You should join our group. We are the best. We fish together and hunt for deer together."

"My kids are twelve and thirteen. We are planning to move close to your tribe. We love to fish and hunt. What is your tribe's name?"

"Our name is Tututni. Yes, you should join us. We would love you. Come!"

"I have heard of you. I will talk with my family first."

"I hope to go fishing with you soon!"


Bill: "My name is Bill Montgomery. I have decided to move along with my family to Oregon. We have heard that there is great soil and much of it there. I want my family to have a better life. I dream of my own big farm and house. Also, of building a church for us and the natives."

Lila: "Hi, my name is Lila. I am sixteen-years-old. I very strongly agree with you. I love the fact that Oregon has good soil. That is also why I love Oregon! I want to start coming to church also, but I don't know where or how."

Bill: "It is very nice to meet you, Lila. I have a son your age. You say you want to start going to church. We'd be more than happy to have you join us. We don't have a building yet, so we gather in our homes. You are welcome to come over and go with us."

"Really? Will you meet us? I would be more than happy to! Thank you so much. That really means a lot to me. We can also build a church together. What do you say?"


Victoria: "My name is Victoria Walker and I'm coming to Oregon to tell people about God and to help the poor."

Chaska: "I'm Chaska. I would like to know about your God and I would like to know how your God helps you."

Victoria: "I think my God is the best. When I need help, I go to my room, close the door and just pray. After praying, I hope and believe he will help me. And yes, God helps me a lot."

Chaska: "Well, we believe in the Great Spirit and we think that he knows what is best for Indians. Also, to get something, you need to give something. What does your God want from you?"

Victoria: "My God just wants me to tell his Word to the people who don't know Him. Also, I want to help the poor and homeless. I hope you will welcome me as your friend, and let me tell you about my God."

Chaska: "You can tell us about it, but don't try to force us to believe in it. Also, you can help the poor."


Sarah: "I am Sarah Dear, and I'm coming with my family to Oregon because I want the Indians to learn our beliefs and to be saved."

Kachika: "My name is Kachika Puchi and I come from a Native American tribe. I help my parents with the younger children and I love bead work. But there are different people coming to live on our land. They want us to believe in their God! We have our own gods. What do you want from us?"

Sarah: "I don't want you forcing yourself and believing in my God. I just believe that my God is the best. Also, I want you to believe in that. You don't have to. I want you to know that there are lots of others who believe in my God, or say so, and some of them will come here in the future."

Kachika: "That is amazing. Because I didn't know there were other people who believe in your God. What is your God like? What kind of sacrifices does he like? And, thank you for not forcing us to believe in your God."

Sarah: "Our God is loving and forgiving. He knows what's best for us. He gave us forgiveness. His Son died for our sins. We don't need to make sacrifices to get his help. He gives it to us because he loves us. Tell me what do you believe in and what is your God like?"

Kachika: "Your God is like my gods, but my gods didn't die for their sons! Our gods need sacrifices because if we don't give them sacrifices, they won't give us food or water."

I: Victoria Kharitonenko & Kristina Pleshakova
II: Kristina Pleshakova & Natasha Dumitrash
III: Julia Salyuk & Sveta Trivol
IV: Aleksandr Bakhmatov & Yonatan Tzafir
V: Sergei K & Alex Bakhmatov
VI: Taya Khrupina & Yana Yukhimchuk
VII: Tanya Kulikova & Sveta Demenko
VIII: Yana Yukhimchuk & Taya Khrupina
IX: Tanya Popovich & Tania Kuzmich
X: Tania Kuzmich & Yana Korneychuk

On the Waves

by Gennadiy S., age 19

Our ship was tossed
By the Atlantic waves
We were on a trip to America
On the Atlantic waves

And then we came to Astoria on horseback
And built homes and began a new life
But I always hear in my dreams
Those Atlantic waves

And now I sit on the mountain
Near my house
Near my new neighbors
And look at the Pacific waves

[Editor's note: This poem is the result of an English class project examining local history through literature. After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of one of the residents or newcomers.]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


- by Yana K, age 16

Immigrants don't get respected. I wonder why, do you?
They're just like normal people.
But why do we get treated differently?

Some say their feelings have been hurt,
and some say it has been physically.
But I say: why? Are we different?

Maybe the difference is color,
or accent that you don't understand.
But aren't we still the same people
in heart and in the brain?

Why can't you respect us?
Why can't you just be nice?

I guess it's because we're immigrants.
Is that why?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Under the Sun

I have seen a lot of things under the sun.
I have seen many poor families under the sun.
I have seen my people pray to the Great Spirit.
I have seen parents crying over their kids.
Under the sun, I have seen a lot of things:
People trying to make themselves,
Falling trees, people running, yelling.
My name is Waneta and I have seen a lot.
The sun is so bright and the river is smiling.
But here things are different.
I have seen our people leaving our homeland Oregon.
I have seen a lot of things under the sun, bad and good.
Under the Sun.

- by Tanya Popovich, age 15

[Editor's note: This poem is the result of an English class project examining local history through literature. After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of one of the residents or newcomers.]

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Life in Oregon through the eyes of Slavic youth

Tall buildings reaching the sky
People everywhere
The colors green, orange, and white

- by Tanya Popovich, age 15

Old roads
sitting in dirt
swimming in joy.

- by Luda Polyakova, age 17

And I can’t go on, I want to be with you.
Lights, the streets are gold.
Look out my window at the world below.

- by Evelina "Vilka" Dorochenko, age 19

city lights, and homeless bums
gangs riot for a last breath
other people tend to live the way they want to live

- by Natasha D. and Gennadiy T., age 17

You see many different buildings
There is one that stands out
My big white house, the newest and biggest.

- by Sveta D., age 17

Sunshine and showers raining down:
what can be better than the community of those
who are trying to reach that unreachable world?

- by Katie E., age 18

daily showers, fresh and clean
home sweet home
forever it will be.

- by Natasha Dumitrash, age 17

two more haikus

Blue skies
like soft pillows
running after each other.

Roses sweet but cruel
love to trick us
soak us in tears.

- by Yana K., age 15

two haikus

My friend came over
She left slamming the door
and doesn't pick up the phone

Sunny day, went riding my bike
come home with bruises
all over my body

- by Julia Salyuk, age 15

Haiku 27

Looking down
from the air
seems so attractive.

- by Nina Yakymchuk, age 15

Haiku 26

Jump and rejoice,
forget the past, believe in the future.
Think about the good.

- by Evelina "Vilka" Dorochenko, age 19

Haiku 25

He strikes and misses
But he has another try
A lesson in life that we wouldn't mind

- by David Vasilchuk, age 17

Haiku 24

Rushing through a busy city
walking through a déjà vu
the sky seems so tall and blue

- by Natasha Dumitrash, age 17

Haiku 23

Sudden traffic
while people cross the streets
on a busy rainy day.

- by Vadim N., age 15

Haiku 22

Broken binding of a book,
pages flying in the air,
free like pigeons everywhere.

- by Victoria Kharitonenko, age 17

Haiku 21

Wet air...
presses down feelings
alone remembering hard times...

- by Luda Polyakov, age 17

Haiku 20

in town on the street
I'm racing with my bicycle
alone in traffic

- by Gennadiy S., age 19

Monday, April 12, 2010

Haiku 19

Across the road with yellow lines,
Lunging forward towards the ball with a job in the muscle,
Swinging, but the baseball flying by.

- by Alex B., age 15

Haiku 18

A building downtown blows up.
A person riding a bike presses down on his brakes.
Now he's screaming.

- by Vlad K, age 17

Haiku 17

Jump, jump, jump like no one's watching
Sounds of laughing and cheering
Air full of fun.

- by Adela B., age 15

Haiku 16

Playing not only with the sun,
but I believe the shadow is part of it.
While we're in the air, the shadow tries to run away.

- by Serge K., age 15

Haiku 15

Teardrops fall from the sky
Cars like scattered ants

- Liliya Kharitonenko, age 15

Haiku 14

A lonely street
Forgotten by people
Received the friendly birds

- by Tanya Popovich, age 15

Haiku 13

I remember my childhood
when I see that boy
playing baseball

- by Liliya Garkavets, age 15

Haiku 12

Buildings reaching to the sky
As if painted on the ground
I watch under my umbrella.

- by Ivan Khylchuk & Victoriya Tsygipalo, age 16

Haiku 11

The sky opened
like a dark universe.
My eye reflects the stars.

- by Alex B., age 15

Haiku 10

When the sun went down,
she whispered
good night.

- by Nina Yukhymchuk, age 16

Haiku 9

The city was full
People running everywhere
Buildings falling all over

- Andrey German, age 15

Haiku 8

lonely streets
gray sky
dripping rain

- Tanya Polezhayeva, age 14

Haiku 7

The sun was shining,
finally freedom.
They were flying.

- Nina Yakymchuk, age 16

Haiku 6

A sunny day
a jump rope and children
painted on the ground.

- by Yana Korenychuk, age 15

Haiku 5

Jogging down the street
surrounded by skyscrapers
under my umbrella

by Taya Kedrich, age 15

Haiku 4

The city high to the sky
as I walk, my head stuck to the umbrella
asking for dryness

- by Irina Sadovnik, age 15

Haiku 2

Busy neighborhood
Boy playing on street
Missed the ball

by Tanya Kuzmych, age 15

Haiku 1

This talent...
I will eat today...
It's what I feel. . .

by "Boss", age 15

[Photo credit here]

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tools for Writers: Linking Words/Соединяющие слова

Words for Summarizing - слова для подведения итогов
(compiled by youth from Azbuka Academy)

In short-короче
In brief-кратко
In summary-в резюме
In a nutshell-в резюме
To conclude-в двух словах
In conclusion-в заключение

Sequencing Ideas - поочереди идея

The former-бывший
Firstly, secondly finally-во первых,во втарых,на конец
The first point is-первый пункт

Giving Examples - слова для давания примерoв
For exemple-на пример
For instance-на пример
Namely-а именно

Words Used to Add Information - слова используя для добавления информации

In addition-кроме того
As well as-а также
More over-кроме того
Apart from-помимо
In addition to-в дополнение к
Besides-кроме того

Giving result — Давать результат

Therefore - Поетому
So - Итак
Consequently - Следовательно
This means that - Это означает что
As a result - Как резултат

Contrasting ideas – Сопоставление идей

But – Но
However - Однако
Although / even though - Хотя
Despite / despite the fact that - несмотря на тот факт, что
In spite of / in spite of the fact that - несмотря на тот факт, что
Nevertheless - тем не менее
Nonetheless - тем не менее
While - Пока
Whereas - Принимая во внимание
Unlike - В отличие от
In theory… - Теоретически
In practice… - На практике

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Maslenitsa (Carnival)

written by Aleks Bakhmatov, age 15

Maslenitsa is a Russian holiday to say goodbye to winter and say hello to spring. It happens on the cold winter days when everybody is outside playing with snow and riding a sled down the hills with adults. For seven days, all of Moscow jingles with the sound of bells, sings with garmoshkas (accordions) and shines with the colors of bright dresses. The essential element, of course, are pancakes, or more accurately, crepes (bliny). Crepes are a symbol of the sun. They are as round, gold and warm as the sun. Russian pancakes are served hot with either butter or sour cream, jam, or caviar, or mushrooms, or sturgeon. A recipe for "bliny" can be found here.

On these days, people ride horse sleighs and sleds down the hill. Where else can you take a horse-drawn sleigh ride that will take your breath away? Or take a wild sled ride down an enormous ice slope? The Great Maslenitsa will reel you around. You'll find yourself dancing in a circle and your feet won't be able to keep still with the jolly chastooshkas (funny songs) sung and played.

Clowns and skomorokhs (harlequins) will make you laugh to tears. The show goes on and on in theatres. And those who don't want to simply be spectators can take part in the masquerade, dressing up in costumes, wrapping themselves in long fur coats or drinking shots of vodka with a tamed bear.

On the last day of the Great Maslenitsa, the feasting and drinking culminates with the burning down of a scarecrow symbolizing winter and saying goodbye to winter till the next year. The last day of Maslenitsa is called the Forgiveness Day. Everybody asks one another for forgiveness in order to redeem themselves from their sins before the Great Lent. They bow to one another and say, "God will forgive you." Maslenitsa is over, and so is winter, giving way to the spring.

Блины ("Bliny"): Russian Pancakes/Crepes

submitted by Aleksandr Bakhmatov, age 15
Maslenitsa (Carnival) is a Russian holiday to say goodbye a to winter and say hello to spring. Thin pancakes, or crepes, ("bliny" in Russian) are eaten during this holiday. Russian pancakes are a symbol of the sun. They are as round, gold and warm as the sun. Bliny are served hot with either butter or sour cream, jam, or caviar, or mushrooms, or sturgeon.

Flour - 2,5 cups
Eggs - 4 to 5
Sugar - 100 g (about 1/2 cup)
Butter - 200 g (about 14 tablespoons or 1.75 sticks)
Milk - 3 to 4 cups

For the simple thin pancakes, or crepes, the dough is prepared of flour, milk, eggs and salt. First thing you should do is separate the yolks from whites. Then stir the yolks with sugar slowly adding milk while stirring. Then add the salt and the melted hot butter. Then start adding the dough (very slowly), stirring the mixture and smoothing the dough nubbles. As the last step, add the stirred whites. Now everything is ready for frying crepes on the hot frying pans.

[photo credit here]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mary's New Adventures in Oregon

by Tanya Popovich, age 15

Mary lives in a neighborhood where dreams come true. Though her house isn't big, it's very comfortable, especially her bedroom. The color of it is baby purple.

One time when Rosa, her best friend, came to her house she asked Mary, "Why did you choose baby purple?"

Mary answered: “Because I love that color and I love unicorns, purple and unicorns go together! Right?"

“Yes, I agree because I like that color too,” said Rosa.

When you walk into Mary’s room you see pink, light blue, light purple unicorns. It’s such a gorgeous room. Well let’s leave her room alone and get to the fun part.

The real story begins outside. Outside of Mary's bedroom is a beautiful big tree, its green leaves shine in the golden yellow sun. Every morning the singing of the birds wakes up Mary. The sun shines in her eyes as she gets ready for school. In school the young girl and her friends enjoy the day, learning, playing, and laughing. After school they love to play hide and seek. They climb trees, hide in big beautiful bushes..... Besides their favorite game, Mary and her friends love to read stories out loud. Let's leave them alone. In the meantime, here's a little bit more about the outside: trees, flowers, grass, and more plants outside Mary's house.

But, her neighborhood wasn't always like this. There was a time when the owner of their house didn’t allow pets, but Mary really wanted a puppy. It's a long story how the young girl changed John’s, the owner's, heart toward pets. Want to know the story? Sit down, get comfortable, and let's begin.

One time a little girl named Mary was born. Years passed and the girl really wanted a pet puppy. She told her parents about it, but unfortunately they ignored her. The next day Mary tried talking to her mom again. This time Elizabeth, her mom, listened to her, because she also wanted a dog or a puppy.

The next day when Mary woke up, she saw her father looking at her.

“Hi, dad,” she said.

“Sweetie… I tried talking to John, but he didn’t even want to listen to me. I’m sorry,” answered her father.

“Oh it’s all right, I’ll talk to him. He might listen to me.”

“Go ahead and talk to him.”

“Thanks,” Mary kissed her father good morning.

What a beautiful day Mary told to the birds when her father left. The birds always brought her happiness.

At breakfast there was a call. It was John. Elizabeth talked with him for a very long time, then she called Mary. “Yes, mom, she answered.”

"Come, sweetie< Mr. John wants to talk to you.”

Mary’s heart was pounding hard when she held the phone in her hands. “Hello,” she said.

Hello, my dear girl. So I hear you want a pet dog, is that right?” John said with a laugh in his voice.

“Yes sir I…… I…. I want puppy because they're so cute and I always can play with them when I’m bored. So please let us buy a puppy, please,” said Mary almost crying.

“I’ll think about it,” came a creepy voice from the phone.

“Well, sweetie?” her parents said in one voice.

“He said he’ll think about it."

A week passed when finally they received a telephone call from John. He said that he will allow them to have dog in their home under one rule. Everything stays nice and clean in his house. Of course the house would always be clean, no need to worry.

So Mary, her family and friends had a lot of fun playing with the cute fuzzy ball. One of his names was Snow because he was as white as snow. The others were Brownie, the third was Mr. Fuzzy. How much fun the young girl had now!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I remember

by Vladimir Kolombet, age 16

I am from Russia with love.
Where I come from is a dark place.
What I've seen with my own eyes will never be forgotten.
People change either into good or bad,
but from what I've heard and gone through,
I know I will stay the same.
I am from my country, not the country I am in now.
And if anyone saw that through my eyes,
they would never be the same.
I am from the green crispy hundred dollar bill.
A million-dollar ticket.
I remember the little figurines
behind glass that we had in our living room.
We also had a big rug with lots of cool designs.
It was hanging on the wall in the living room.
And in our yard, we had tomatoes and pickles growing
and me and my brothers would have to
go around the whole yard, taking bugs
off the plants, so they wouldn't eat them.
It was a lot of work.
I remember my brother found fifty rubels
in our front yard where we had flowers growing.
We went to the little store up the street
and bought lots of ice cream.
Everything I remember from Russia
that me and my brothers did was really fun.
Except when we told our mom that we found fifty rubels and spent it.
She really got mad because we didn't have a lot of money.
Then I remember when my uncle gave me a toy.
It was a truck with a trailer on the back.
I played with that toy for a very long time until it broke.
Back then I didn't know lots of kinds of food
except soup and meat.
I didn't know what a burger was or pizza
and most food I eat now I didn't know about back then.
I didn't have lots of toys,
but I do remember we had a thing that you punch
to practice fighting
and a bunch of dumbells.
If I'd had everything there that I have here,
I would have been happier.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Happy Ending

a story by Nina Yukymchuk, age 15

One rainy morning Alex woke up. He went downstairs. He was excited, singing a song while taking a shower. He then brushed his teeth, and dressed up for school. When he was by the door, his mom stopped him. She looked so pale. Her hair looked like a mess, she had black spots under her eyes. She said, “Hun, we're moving tomorrow.”

When he heard that, his heart started to beat fast. He fell down on his knees, begging her to stay. He said,“Mom, you can't do this to me. We can't move, I want to graduate here.”

He looked at her like she had stabbed him in the back with a knife. His mom looked at him. She looked so frustrated. Her voice was shaking. Quietly she said, “The baby.. it's a girl. You're going to be a big brother soon.”

He was so mad he raised his voice at her for being pregnant with her new boyfriend. They were getting married and moving to another state. Alex didn't want to move away. His life was perfect here. He dropped his backpack on the floor, went to his room and slammed the door shut.

The whole day passed and he was still sitting in his room locked. He was so confused. What would he tell his girlfriend? He loved her so much, he didn't want to break up.

Another hour passed. His mom was knocking on the door. “Alex, hun, are you going downstairs? I just made your favorite lunch.”

He didn't want to go downstairs. He thought that she was crazy for still talking to him after he yelled at her.

“I'll be there in a second.”

So his mom went downstairs.

He was sitting in his room thinking about what he should do. He got out of his bed, put the books that he was reading away.

He told his mom that he was really disappointed in her. But after that he came up to her and kissed her on the cheek and saying, “I am really happy to have a baby sister.”

She was sitting on a chair. She put her plate away, stood up and gave him a big hug. She was crying, so happy to hear that from him.

Inside he felt so sad he had to move. When he called his girlfriend, he told her that he is moving away, that he can't leave his mother alone until her wedding.

With anger his girlfriend slammed the phone to the ground and broke it. She put her coat, boots and hat on. She opened the door. The wind was blowing so hard that she almost fell to the ground.She got to her car and started to drive to his house.

When she came there, she didn't knock she just opened the door. She saw his mom in the kitchen. It smelled so delicious. His mom just made brownies. It was so warm in the house.

She said, “Hi, uhm.. Is Alex in his room?”

Alex's mom called from the kitchen,“Yes, he is I am sorry about the news.”

Alex's girlfriend smiled at her and went upstairs.

When she came to his room, she stopped. She threw her purse to the ground and walked closer to him. He threw his arms around her and kissed her.

The next day he helped his mom pack. His step dad picked them up and they moved. He didn't leave with them he told his mom that he will come to her wedding.

When his mom was driving away, he was standing by the house, waving them goodbye. Then he picked up his girlfriend. They drove to a restaurant. While driving, he told her what happened, and that he will never leave her. They came to the restaurant, ordered and he got something out of his pocket with a big smile. He looked worried, his hands were shaking.

He said, "Baby I love you. Will you marry me?"

With a smile she kissed him, "Yes, honey, I do want to marry you."

Both of them were sitting there, smiling from happiness. They were getting married.

Me, Nick and Shane: America's Most Wanted

by Vlad, age 16

So me and my friends Nick and Shane are walking to the store, right. We go in a Mini Mart we buy some chips and drinks and we leave. We go to my house which is like fifteen minutes away from the Mini Mart and we start watching the news and eating our chips. I haven't mentioned Shane and Nick are both fat. They both are obese and they like to eat and watch movies.

We see a news report on Most Wanted and they show a video of three dudes breaking in a store and stealing supplies and electronics worth a lot of money. So I say to Shane, "That dude kinda looks like us."

And he says, "You're right. He kinda does look like us."

Two of the guys were fat like Nick and Shane and the other one was tall like me.

So later we run out of chips and drinks and I say, "Hey, let's go to the Mini Mart and get some more food."

We end up going again and we're like half way there and all of a sudden a cop rolls by creeping and staring at us. He turns on his lights and pulls over to talk to us. We are thinking he is just going to tell us to get off the road. But instead he starts asking us if we had to do anything with the robbery at a Cricket phone store that we saw on the news.

The cop looks like he knows what he was doing. His badge is all shiny, he has a hat on and sunglasses, he looks like a professional, but really he's just a smart ass.

We start explaining how we were just watching that report on the robbery and it wasn't us. I tell him that he's talking to the wrong people. He doesn't talk nice to us. He is that kind of cop you don't want to talk to. He asks us ridiculous questions like do you have anything in your pockets that shouldn't be there? I just don't like his attitude and how he is just standing there with his eyes wide open, writing everything we say into his little book.

So later he calls in back-up and that's when we know we are going to get accused of something we didn't do. So the back up arrives and they start asking us more questions. The back up isn't so bad as the other one, he is more of happier cop--the kind of cop that likes his job and helping people out. But I can still tell what they are doing. They are playing good cop and bad cop to trick me into confessing.

And we tell them once again that we didn't do anything, that they got the wrong people. I know that they aren't going to believe us, so they start putting handcuffs on us and we are all in custody. They read us our rights and put us in the cop cars and take us to Downtown. When the cop is putting me in the car, I almost hit my head against the roof because my handcuffs are to tight and that is making me anxious.

We are all worried because we think we were going to get booked. Shane is in the other car, so it is just me and Nick. Nick starts sweating like crazy. He is really nervous and scared. Nick starts telling me how he can't get in trouble because his parents will kill him. I look at the computer that the cop is typing on and I see him putting my name in and my eye color, my hair color and I just think: what's the point of that.

I know that Nick is the one who gets scared the most about everything. Shane is the more tougher one. If Nick and Shane were not to snitch about something bad that happened, it would be Nick who would give up and snitch. So I tell him, "Dude don't worry. We didn't do it and I am sure that we can prove it. So we finally get downtown and we're driving in the cops' parking lot and Nick whispers, "I hate pigs."

They take us in the building and put us in a holding cell. It is really cold in there and the toilets are metal. Nobody is in there. I am alone and there's no sound whatsoever, all I can look at is the cement wall.

They call our parents and we are waiting and waiting. They finally let us out from the holding cell. Then one by one they take pictures of us and our finger prints. Then they put us back in the holding cell.

I ask one of the officers, one who has a mustache, what we were going to get charged with. He said, "You will most likely get charged with theft 2."

So our parents arrive to pick us up and they look mad. They start walking fast and screaming: what have you two done this time!

Nick and Shane are both scared. The officers take us from the holding cell to our parents and first thing Nick says to his mom and dad is that it wasn't us. Unfortunately they don't believe him. His mom is so angry with him, she gives him a big, painful smack on the head. And Shane's parents are just really disappointed, same as my parents. Even though I don't get yelled at, my mom still says I am grounded for a long time.

One of the officers explains to our parents what happened and gives us a court date. Then I tell my parents that it was not us.

"They have a video," I say. "I'll tell the cops to show it to you."

So our parents see the video and they tell the cops that's not our kids. And the officer says: deal with it in court. That really makes me mad. I clench my jaws and I can't wait until court.

Way later already it is almost time for court and we are all really nervous. We are worried the whole time waiting for the court. Couple of months later we go to court, we are prepared with what to say and our parents are the witnesses. We're all standing there, talking to the Judge and we're out there trying to prove that we didn't rob the store.

Next thing you know we win the court case. We walk out with angry faces because we got accused of something we didn't do. I think to myself: what if we never went to the store? And: if they had caught me later by myself I probably wouldn't have any proof or witnesses. I would have actually gotten charged with theft 2. I think I am glad we went to the store.


by Lili G., age 15

Любовь прекрасна
как белый лебедь
её удержать очень
не легкo.
Крылом ударить может
и подарить прекасный дар
тебя любить.
Любовь как птица улетит
и не вернётся
но можнo удержать
И всю жизнь
счастливo прожить.

Love is wonderful
like a white swan.
It's hard to keep.
Its wings can hit,
but give you a wonderful
gift of love.
Love can fly away from you.
But if you hold it right
it can stay with you forever
and give you the life
you want to live.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Голубцы ("golubtsi"): Ukrainian Stuffed Cabbage

recipe by Artem Stepanenko, age 17


1 large head of cabbage,
ground meat - 500 g (beef and pork in equal proportions),
rice - 0.5-0.75 cup,
1 onion
1 carrot
2 to 3 tomatoes (can substitute 2 tablespoons of good tomato sauce or ketchup)
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
vegetable oil for frying
freshly ground pepper

for sauce
tomato sauce or ketchup - 2 tablespoons
sour cream - 3 to 4 tablespoons
broth or water - 400-500 ml


Wash and clean the cabbage leaves. Place small quantities in salted boiling water. Boil the leaves for ~ 1 to 2 minutes, until tender (i.e. elastic). Remove cabbage from water, allow water to drain and cut off the stems. (stalks can be cut before cooking cabbage or after cooking). Separate the cabbage leaves.

Prepare stuffing:
Peel and finely chop onions.
Wash, peel and grate the carrots.
Fry the onions and carrots in vegetable oil until soft.
Wash and chop the parsley.
Boil the rice until half ready.
Wash tomatoes (you can remove the peel) and cut into small cubes (you can grate or chop in a blender to a mush).
Peel and finely chop the garlic or use a garlic press.
Mix with ground meat, rice, fried onions, garlic, tomatoes (or tomato sauce), fresh herbs, add salt, pepper and mix well.

In each cabbage leaf put the prepared stuffing, folding each leaf like an envelope. Fry the cabbage rolls in a pan or deep skillet with vegetable oil until slightly browned.

Prepare sauce:
Combine tomato sauce or ketchup with sour cream and water (or broth), and pour this mixture over the stuffed cabbage, so that the liquid barely covers it. Add a little salt and pepper and simmer 30-40 minutes.

Let the cabbage rolls stand for 10 minutes under the lid.

When serving, pour sauce over cabbage rolls. Decorate with sour cream and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

[Photo credit: link here]

Monday, January 25, 2010


a story by Andrey German, age 15

The phone rang. I picked up: Hello, what's up? I dropped the phone. My friend had died. It was really cold, sometime in December.

The next day I woke up in my room on the floor. I was frozen and I got a cold. I was so not myself. I felt like I was on fire just looking in the mirror. Tears started hitting the ground. I never thought he would die at the age of twenty.

I brushed my teeth, took a shower, I took some medicine because my throat felt like it was squeaking. My head was on fire and I felt weak.

I walked to school. While I was thinking about him, it brought me a sad face. Alex died on a Sunday after he went to a friend's house. His friend had a dirt bike. Alex saw it. He was really into bikes and he asked to ride the dirt bike. His friend said he wouldn't let him, but Alex kept on asking until his friend finally decided to let him. So Alex took the bike. He was speeding and there was a sharp corner. He was going about 100 miles an hour. The bike slipped, he flew off, fell and broke his neck and died.

At school, the teacher with the black hair was mean to everybody. No one liked her. The room was full of students and they were all reading a book named The Million Dollar Shot. The teacher was such a jerk to me, because I was late and because she was just trying to annoy me. She saw my sad face. I thought she would ask why or what happened. She just didn't think about that. Instead, she asked me about what happened in the book that we had to read. I told her I didn't know because I didn't have a chance to read it, so she asked me to come to the front of the class. I did. She asked me about the book again and I got really embarrassed. My legs started to move to the door I didn't want to say anything. I had a lot of bad stuff to say to her, but decided not to, and just walked out of the class.

I walked out and went in the hall for a little bit. I thought she would come ask me why I did that or to say sorry. It didn't happen and I went to the bathroom, washed my face and stared at myself in the mirror. Then I started walking home in the cold blizzard.

Every window was frozen. Many cars were stopped from going places because it was too icy. It was so cold I could barely move and I had left my coat in the class. I didn't want to go get it, because I knew if I went in the class again, I would curse at her and get in trouble. But I had too much stuff in my head.

As I was walking, I started thinking to myself about Alex. A thought came to my mind, saying: I'm in a better place. That made me feel better, but I was thinking of the places I used to go hang out with him and how he was always happy. Tears came down my cheeks. When they hit the ground, they were ice. I felt like I was going to die or faint any time.

I got home. As soon as I walked to my room, I passed out. Luckily for me, my mom was home. She heard a noise and went to see what happened. She saw me on the floor and saw that I wasn't breathing. She called the ambulance and tried to wake me up. It didn't work, so the ambulance took me and I woke up one hour later.

I woke up in a place that was unfamiliar. I didn't know where I was. I saw a lot of nurses, which told me where I was, but I didn't know what happened. My stomach was empty. I saw a doctor and asked, "What happened?"

The doctor told me that I had been in coma for one hour. He said I was so lucky to still be alive. He said it was a miracle.

I got to go home. I ate some soup, because I was very hungry, then fell asleep. I didn't go to school the next day.

Three days later, I had to go and see my friend get buried in the ground. I was trying to hold myself from crying. I knew I wouldn't see him on earth ever again.

After, I went to the place where he died. It was on a hill, on a sharp corner. There were trees all around. I put some flowers down and prayed. I was reminded of the fun stuff we did together. I remembered swimming at Kah-Nee-Ta. He would do back flips and we would barbecue and play basketball and volleyball together. After that we would eat. It was always sunny and hot when we hung out. I also remembered us working together, installing tile with the music on full blast. When we worked together, it didn't even feel like we were working because he was so funny and always smiling. I never remember him being sad. He was one of the best people I'd ever met.

I left home and went to school the next day and the teacher saw me and finally asked me what happened. I told her. She felt really sorry for me and she apologized after I told her what happened. From that moment on, she respected me and was never a jerk to anyone ever again.

My friend Alex died on December, 31, 2008. Rest in peace, Alex. I'll always remember you. You will be missed. I wish you were here now.

Sofie's Life

a story by Julia Salyuk, age 15

One afternoon I came in the children's hospital where I work and my assistant told me that we got a newborn baby that is deadly sick. She said that her mother left the baby on the second day and also that her mother is a person who drinks and smokes. They told me that the baby girl has an infection in her ear and that she might die in a couple of days. They said the hospital needs to find a family to give the baby to.

They called, but nobody wanted to take in a sick girl named Sofie. So, I thought of taking her to my place because I saw that nobody cared about her. I told the workers to stop calling people for Sofie, that I am taking her. My best friend told me not to do that, but I told her straight that I have love Sofie from the first sight.

When I first saw Sofie, she looked very sad and afraid. I loved her eyes. They were blue as the ocean and her hair was black and curly. The girl didn't look skinny or chubby, just the way I like babies. When I came in her room, she looked at me and, for the first time in her life, smiled. At that moment I felt like coming up to her and hugging her. In my heart I named her Sofie because that name described her.

Soon after completing the papers and an expedited adoption process, I took Sofie home. I have only one son who is sixteen-years-old. He was OK with the idea of having a baby girl in the house.

When we brought Sofie in, she looked at everything with amazement and when I showed Sofie her room and put her on her bed she cuddled in her new blanket. In a blink of an eye she was asleep.

The first night Sofie cried almost the whole night, so I thought of having a person that could take care of Sofie. But once I told the people I called that the girl has a long term illness, they put down the phone right away. My son came in the room and said that if I keep on telling them everything, I won't find anybody. He said that it would be better if I didn't tell the people on the phone about Sofie. I decided that once they see her, I should tell them the truth because they might love Sofie the same way as I did.

So I called again and this one old grandma picked the phone up. I said that I need a babysitter and she said that we can meet. When she came she was dressed in a long dress and didn't look like she was poor. I also noticed that she had good taste in picking out outfits, her face told me that she was very nice and that she will understand any problems. I found out her name was Bella and that she is fifty and has a good experience with babies.

I asked her when she wants to start and she said as soon as possible. When she looked at Sofie, it was with love. And when I told her that she has to wear gloves when she changes her, she got the idea and said, "Why didn't you tell me right away?" But then she said that was OK with her.

One day the main doctor came and said she had a very, very happy news. She said that they did a test on Sofie and that her blood work shows signs of no infection. I had tears of happiness coming down my cheeks.

Once Sofie turned two-years-old, she had no more health problems, but we were still not sure if she is going to live long.

Then one day a lady came over to our house. She had a mini skirt and a very pale face. She was smoking a cigarette and she said these scary words: "I need my daughter back and if you don't want to giver her to me, you will have to deal with the police!"

At first I didn't believe her, but then I asked my assistant who had checked the woman's history. She said her name was Jany and she was 19 years old and she stopped taking drugs already five months ago. She also told me that Jany was already in court and they said that Jany had the right to take the girl the very next morning.

The whole night I didn't go to sleep. I was by my little girl crying. The night came by very fast. At nine in the morning Jany came. She didn't even want to hold Sofie. Sofie was crying so hard that I thought might faint when they were driving off.

That day I didn't go to work and hardly did anything except cry. The next night came and I didn't sleep. Then in the morning I had a brilliant idea, but when I told it to Abby and my son they said that I shouldn't be doing it, but all I asked from them was help. So they agreed to do that.

The very next minute I was at Jany's place. It was an old hotel where people except for drug dealers never went. When I came in, I couldn't believe my own eyes. The whole house was in smoke and Jany was on the couch smoking. The walls had holes that looked like somebody had fought there, and there was dried blood on the floor. After that I almost threw up. I couldn't see Sofie anywhere, so I started running around, looking for her.

When I found her, she was on the bathroom floor, screaming in fright. When she saw me, she screamed, "Mommy!" and right away jumped into my arms and almost choked me hugging me.

When Sofie calmed down a little, I asked Jany, "Jany, I notice that this place must very hard to call home."

"Well, you know what? Don't get your nose in other people's problems. I can't stand seeing you because if you have lots of money and a good place to live, it doesn't mean that everybody has the same!"

Jany started to cry like a little girl and my heart sank in fro seeing how hard it is for Jany to live.

"I came to tell you that if you want, you could move in to my place, live with us and be part of our family."

Jany's eyes widened suddenly. I worried there were going to fall out the next minute.

After a long pause of silence, Jany finally spoke, "Is this some kind of a trick your trying to play on me?"

"No, it's not. I thought that it would be better for you because you would be by your daughter and have a good place to live, and it would be good for me to because I really want to be by Sofie."

Jany thought about it. I could see that because she looked at me very serious. And then said, "Okay, if you want that, I am going."

I was very happy because I was going to be by my little girl.

Jany took ten minutes to pack because she hardly had anything to pack, and after she was done, we left to my place.

I was very happy when we were driving home. When we came in, I showed Jany her room, and I also told her that she can't smoke in the house but she didn't care.

Week by week went by and I noticed Jany changing little by little. But the doctors told her that she will die because of the drugs.

Jany really loved Sofie.

One day I saw taxi in our driveway and I asked Jany why and she said that it's for her and she said that she is leaving because she doesn't want Sofie to see how she is going to die and she also said, "I am leaving because I don't want Jany to see how I am dying."

Jany started to cry, but when Sofie came in, she stopped right away. She also told me, "I want you to promise that when Sofie grows up, you will tell her how much I loved her and why I left."

"I promise you that I won't forget to tell her that."

When she packed up her stuff, she had tears rolling down her cheeks. When she was leaving, she couldn't stop crying and hugging us all.

While she was hugging me, she told me, "I want you to know that you were like a mother to me because my real mother told me she can't wait until I die. She even gave me the place where she would bury me."

She started to cry even harder and I was crying too because Jany became very close to me.

Jany's last words before she walked out the door were: "If I turned around, I would die." So she left and I got Sofie in my arms and went to the window and told her to wave goodbye to her mother forever.

The Move That Rico Will Never Forget

story and photo by Lili Garkavets, age 15

Rico was a shy boy, but very trusting. He never lied. He was a tall, skinny boy with black hair and brown eyes. One morning his parents told him that they are moving. He got up sad but did not say a word about not wanting to move. He took it how it was.

They were moving to Ohio from Mexico. They moved to a small house with two bedrooms and one bathroom. The rooms were all dark and very creepy. It smelled like bad food and old stuff. The house was the very last one and the oldest one in neighborhood.

It had been five days from the time they moved in, so it was time for Rico to go to school. The playground of the school did not have any swings or monkey bars. The school building was old and smelly, the classrooms were very small and crowded, kids crammed together like kernels of corn in a can. It even smelled like old corn in class.

When Rico checked in to the room they called office--it was big room with two chairs and a big desk--he found out that his new teacher was Mrs. Parallelepiped. His homeroom was #25. When he walked in the halls, it was dark and there was trash all over the school. The walls were all dirty, old books on the floors.

He finally found the small room with a lot of desks and a chalkboard and a teacher's desk. His teacher was a middle-aged woman, with short hair and big glassless. She was mean and grumpy. She could almost eat a kid up with her mad look. When Rico started talking, all the eyes were following his lips, his every word.

Mrs. Parallelepiped looked up and asked, “Are you Rico ?”

Rico whispered, “Yes, ma'am.”

She did not smile just said, “Go sit down by Leo."

Leo was a big guy for his age and he was mean looking he had a big scar on his face. It was like a sign that he is a guy you don't want to mess with. He had messy hair and dirty t-shirt. It looked like there was real blood on his t-shirt. Leo gave Rico the look of “don't you dare." When Rico walked down to his seat, all the eyes followed him. He started doing the class work. It was a history test. It was so easy for him, and Leo did not like that Rico was smart.

Rico did not notice how the class ended so fast. It was lunch time. All the kids circled him and told him the rules in this class: if you are a bad boy you're welcomed. If you are a teacher's pet, you get beat up.

Leo was in middle of group and said, “Let's test you and see who you are.” It was clear that he was the boss here.

Leo asked Rico to say a bad word. Rico said no. He knew that was the end for him in this class; that he will get beat up.

The kids said, "Say it or you will be sorry."

Rico said, “No.”

So they pushed him around and told him, “Get ready pet!"

After school, a group of boys followed Rico. Leo was in the middle of the group. When Rico turned onto his street, the boys caught up to him.

Leo said, “I give you one more chance. So say it and you will be welcomed to our group."

Rico looked up and said, “No.”

Now there was a feeling of blood coming from his nose. He saw someone hitting him more and more. Harder and harder. Stronger and stronger. He heard crying. He thought that was his mom but he had no strength to talk or open his eyes. Then he woke up home. He felt so much pain. He had blood all over his body, but he did not think that he is hurt. He felt good inside.

His mom was crying, but he said, “I did not say it. I did not." Then he said, “I want to go home."

The next day the Rico's family started packing. They ended up leaving the next month because to much work needed to be done. They will not forget that day, the day kids treated their son unfairly. But Rico was not sorry for the stuff he did. He proved to himself that he can stay strong.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Wrong Person

a story by Aleksandr Bahmatov, age 15

Chapter I: Where Am I ?

It was a hard hit on my head that took me out. I closed my eyes and everything went blank. When I awoke, I was in the hospital. I tried to sit up, but my head was locked in place and the bright white lights shined. I still couldn't get what was going on and where I was. I felt a tension in my head and before I knew it, a doctor was by my side. I could hardly see because my eyes were barely focusing and everything was a blur. He started talking to me in a soft voice to say where I was. My head was in such great pain that felt I was in hell for something, what I didn't know.

I asked with a nervous strain in my voice, "Doc, why am I here and what happened?"

Doctor said in a soft voice, too quiet to hear even for a pro, "You are in a hospital in New Jersey because you got hit really hard on your head by a terrorist. That was by the bank in June 2010."

"What, a terrorist?" I asked.

When a tall man in a police uniform came in and Doc went out, the policeman said,"Hi there, Alex. How are you doing? And, by the way, how is you head?"

"Alex," I spoke out softly. I was confused by not recognizing my name.

"Yes! Alex," he said. "That's your name. Can't you remember anything at all?"

It was there and then I realized that I can't remember anything except for when I was hit and my head cracked from the power blow.

Chapter II: Six months later after the surgery.

After six months passed, I was still feeling lost and unwanted. I was feeling lonely but I knew something now about what happened to me and who I was. And it was my first day after the accident to go back to work.

I was out walking alone and no one was out down the busy street leading to a police station, where I worked as an FBI agent. The cars passed by and no one looked at me because most of them were looking at the road and talking on the cellphone.

I walked by the apartments that were tall and by the markets that were small. Their parking lots were trashed. I stopped at the red signal and was waiting to cross the street that had four intersections of all black roads. There streets were clear, no car was left driving.

It was quiet and peaceful and, suddenly, a scene blinked in my head. Police cars had blocked the four-intersection road. Their sirens were loud, lights that were blue and red blinked one after other. But that scene went away as fast as it came.

I crossed the road, not waiting for the signal to turn. Now I was walking where there were no cars, no people and no birds had ever flown in the air before. I was thinking about the operation about which I found out from my partner. It happened when the terrorists were holding a hostage in a bank.

I was wearing a tuxedo, my black hair slicked back. I had a sports black Lance car that I was now afraid to ride in by myself.

When I was trying to get to the job ardently, a black truck with tan windows raced to me and stopped where I was. Before I knew it, a man in a black mask sprayed something that made me close my eyes and go to sleep. They dragged me into the car and raced away in a high speed.

When I woke up, I was in a dark dungeon siting on the wet floor. Some light was peering from the hall on the left. I was in a shock that gave me pain like there was a gust of wind. The pain on my wrists was from the handcuffs, fastened to a cold metal pipe that went trough the dungeon. And there before me was a man with black and tan sunglasses.

"Where am I and what am I doing here?" I asked, not knowing why I was here and what I have done wrong.

The man said, "You don't have to die painfully if you tell us where your partner lives and where his hideout is."

I was quiet because I was scared so much that I started to cry. My tears were falling down on the cold floor. They mixed with the dirty water that smelled like rats.

Then again he said the same question with an anger that gave me creeps. He showed me a photograph of a family that had two boys and women and me in it then said,"If you don't tell me, you will die and so will your family."

When he said "family," my heart tightened and thrashed in my chest and I was scared. It was more than usual, which was strange because I didn't know about the family in the photo. I still wanted to protect them, so I tried to tell the man with the black sunglasses that coved his eyes from been seen that I was in an accident and I couldn't remember anything that happened in the past. But he wouldn't listen to me. My voice was shaking and my teeth were clenched.

Then the man said, "You got thirty seconds to tell us."

Pretty soon I was being hit and kicked by ten men who came into the dungeon until blood came out of my mouth. When the man with the sunglasses went out, I tried to tell the other men what happened to me, but they did not listen to me. One of the men said," You could still save your life if you tell us what we need to know." But I couldn't say anything because I was in great pain and I didn't know anything to tell them.

Then one bad guy took out a black gun and pointed it at me. He said, "You got ten seconds to tell me or say goodbye to yourself and your family."

When he was counting down, my body shook in pain and I was getting more and more scared as he counted lower and lower. That's when I heard a police siren and a had a strange feeling about dying by a gun or being saved by the police.

When he was on the sixth second, someone ran in and screamed loud, "Finish him off fast!"

The man with the gun raised his hand that pointed at me and his muscles tightened when he closed his eyes. I heard the click of the trigger and a bullet went into my head.

My body shook in pain and my head hit the hard wall of the dungeon. My life flew so fast before my eyes that I couldn't remember it. Before my eyes closed, there was a light that was so hard it cut my eye, so that I couldn't see anything. Then it was so dark that I lost my pain and forgot everything there was and there is. I still didn't know if I was dead or away until a time that will come and I will live. But I knew only one thing--that my son, whom I saw in the picture, will grow up, he will find the injustice, find out about my story that was spread all over the world like a jigsaw puzzle, and get the picture to reveal itself from my perspective.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Яблочный пирог ("yablochniy pirog"): Apple Turnover

recipe by Gennadiy S, age 19, from Ukraine

4 apples
1 cup of sugar
3-4 eggs
1 cup of flour
pinch of salt


Preparation: Turn oven to 400

Beat sugar together with the eggs using a mixer, put salt and flour into a mixing bowl and mix all of it.

Then peel and cut up a few apples. Grease a baking dish and put apples into it. Then pour obtained mixture over the apples.

Baking: Put into oven and bake for 25 min. It has to be golden brown.

[Photo credit: Irina]

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Recipe for plov, a traditional dish from Uzbekistan

Plov is the national dish of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, cooked in many Slavic households. This recipe is from Evelin "Vilka," age 18, of Kyrgyzstan.

1 cup of oil
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots julienne
2 lbs meat (beef or chicken), cubed
1 cup rice
1 1/4 cup water
pinch of salt, cardamom, curry spice
Serves a big family (of 6 or 7)

1. Heat one cup of oil in a wok or pan.
2. Add cubed meat, fry for about 10 minutes.
3. Add sliced onions and fry for about 3 minutes.
4. Add carrots julienne, fry for about 5 minutes.
5. Add rice, then water and season with salt and spices. Cover the wok.
6. Let simmer with a gap for steam until water is gone.
7. Season to taste and serve with catchup and ranch dressing, and tomato and cucumber salad.

(photo credit: tashkentzoo)

Monday, December 14, 2009


Azbuka Academy 9th & 10th grade English class group poem,
photo by Liliya Khylchuk

I am
the world,
and sleeping.

I get lost.

I am
a legend,
smart basketball player,

I am music,
a lot of food,
soccer ball,
tired summer,

I am Russian.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some things that need to be changed in my neighborhood

by Sergei K, age 14

I live in a Southeast Portland neighborhood in Oregon. In my neighborhood there a lot of things that should be changed.

The first thing that can be changed in my neighborhood is for cars to drive slower and more carefully. On my street the cars drive really fast and don't notice that there is a school nearby and that small kids cross the street and can get hit easily. The city should put more stops and cameras in so people would slow down, because they will be afraid to get into trouble with the cops.

The second thing that can be changed is to make people stop selling drugs. There are some people that sell drugs in my neighborhood. People sell drugs without being scared because the cops most of the time never drive down our street. Cops need to drive throughout my neighborhood more often so it will be safe to walk on the streets and not be scared that someone on drugs will be walking by.

The third thing that can be changed in my neighborhood is that people should clean up after themselves. Some places in my neighborhood are dirty because of some people throwing away gum wrappers, candy wrappers, cans and other things. If the people in my neighborhood didn't throw stuff on the street after they eat or use things, then my neighborhood would always be clean.

In conclusion, I want the people in my neighborhood to clean up after themselves, not throw stuff on street, and be careful on the street to make our neighborhood clean and safe.

I'm from Ukraine

by Sergei K., age 14

I'm from Ukraine
I'm from sleeping in one room with three sisters and two brothers when I was small
I'm from five years of hard studying in school
I'm from dirty streets and air
I'm from fun and boring places
I'm from climbing trees and falling from roofs
I'm from helping mom and dad a lot on the farm
I'm from soccer with friends
I'm from swimming in the sea during summer
I'm from making things from wood, metal
I'm from good memories of Ukraine
Ukraine that's where I'm from

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm From......

photograph by Victoria Kharitonenko
by Tanya Popovich, age 14

I'm from a summer country, where I like to play and sleep.....
I'm from a flower country, where the strawberries grow and figs,
I'm from a sunny country where I dance and sing,
I'm from that lovely place....
I like to watch movies, play games, eat sweets.....
I like winter, I like kids, I like the ocean and the waves
I'm from a country that just lives........