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........

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I want others to see...

by Y.K., age 15

I want others to see our Slavic Community as a nice and proper community. I would hate for others to see our community as druggies and as stupid people. I want to see my community as smart and caring people.

It's easy to tell that our community is turning into someone else, they don't want to keep their natural looks and languages, they want to be like someone else. They want to look like someone else.

Our community is hard to understand, because there are so many of us that are different, and most people when they see one Slavic person that has made a mistake, was rude or was smoking into peoples faces, they think that every Slavic person is like that. That's why some people say that Americans don't like Russians. Well, I wonder why? Because one person showed a bad image of our community. And then the rest of us have to suffer from the dislike and hate.

I want our community to change their ways, to be themselves and not try to be like someone else. If we showed the caring and smart people that we are and the true us, I bet that people would really enjoy our humor and really be amazed at how great we are.

Our Slavic community is changing, but our hearts aren't. That's why we need to show our kindness to others and to ourselves.

I Remember

photograph by Victoria Kharitonenko
group poem by three Azbuka Academy students

I remember the world of joy and happiness in my childhood when I played in the sand with my friends.

I remember the white, puffy bunnies.
I remember my grandma babysitting me.

I remember my grandma who talks with a powerful, squeaky voice.

I remember the really cold winters with lots of snow and the frozen snowman right in front of my house.

I remember the first small white house we had.

I remember my town, full of rumors and truth.

I remember my dog barking with a strong, deep and scary voice.

I remember the soft noise of leaves, wind and river in a forest.

I remember teachers making us memorize few-pages-long poems and telling them in front of class.

I remember staying up until morning and getting my homework done.

I remember the first day I came to this school in 2008.

I remember my teacher who acted like an army sargeant.

I remember freezing to death last year in this school.

I remember the headaches in school from last year.

I remembermy old, boring and noisy school.

I remember things that I now think of as legends.

I remember the beautiful concert in which I played the big, black, grand piano.

I remember having trouble memorizing this poem!


group poem by Cody, Dorina, and Viorel
photo by Victoria Kharitonenko

Special people in my life
who I protect with my knife.
In the late dark night
I see people in my eyes
people that aren't supposed to be there,
people who live their lives
unfair like killers
and drug users and rapists
and abusers.
I try to keep my loved ones from that
But you really can't control everyone like that.
Everyone's got their own mind.
But I still keep them in line.

My street is full of fights
All the people need to stop but
I need to make them stop
because that's what we do in life.
People laugh, people cry,
people need me in their life.
Now just open your eyes and see
that only I was there for you.
So please don't feel blue
because that's not for you.

Viorel is my name
army is my gang
No matter what
I will go in the armată
But one thing I really wanna do
is finish school and go in the army
stay there three years
then be a boss
so I can come home
when I want
and after the army
get a really good job
a dream job.

Monday, November 30, 2009


photo by Victoria Kharitonenko
group poem by Viktoriya Tsygipalo, Sergei Kuzmych, and Andrey,
age 15

Birthplace of my group and I
A year for me
Nine for him
Eleven for the other
Passing through the world on a long road trip trail.
Looking back to the place we called our home.
Looking back to the memories that we slowly left behind
Ghetto corners, silent houses, or a neighborhood
like a family get-together.
The nights are deadly to step into.
Wanted figures wander in the alleys,
breathing smoke and waiting for a pray to catch.
Yet, the glowing days are cheerful.
Laughter, loving couples and little smiles.
Dogs, cats, children scattered in the alleys,
running all around, waiting for a play.
Strict, smart talks like shooting bullets,
leaving stains on one another.
While closely loved ones grow
out of their home nests leaving only
three goodbyes.
It's Ukraine
Birthplace of my group and I.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My neighborhood is a really nice place to live

by Azbuka Academy student V.Z.
art by Tanya P.

My neighborhood's a really nice place to live.

What's cool is by my house there is
a shop where you can see the best cars ever.
Body kits and doors open up really nice.

One thing I like is I have a pool table in
my hood where me and my friends always go
and play team against team.
Always after the game we have to fight each other
who wins the most and who loses.
And I have a small park in my hood where
we always go with friends and play cards
and soccer.

We love to play soccer, we are good at that sport,
it's a really good game to play
when you have nothing to do.

I really love my hood.
It's a really nice place to

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I am me

group poem by Adela Berkavich, Tanya Kulikova and Irina Sadovnik, age 15

I am me
A kid breaking to grow up
Waiting for teenage years to come
Enjoying the freedom while I can
I am from those moments
A snowflake falls from the sky
This time, only the strength of the branches can hold me
I am from the brown walls of my grandma's kitchen
I am from my mom's side of the family
I'm from the woods and the creek behind my fence
Starfish and crashing waves beneath my feet
I am from the know-it-alls
and pass-it-ons
Talk shit
"And what?" Get hit!
What you got...
is what you get...
We all go to school
acting like fools
but it's all cool
I am from those moments I'm kissing
but then I'm missing
I am me, the voice you can hear from a mile away
I am me...
I understand that we all have to die some day
I say that there's hope for the future
I dream of being on the big screen
I try my best to make good grades
I hope to graduate high school with many scholarships
Even though there's tough times
There's always a way out
I hope for the best!

We Are From......

group poem by Gennadiy S., age 19, and Artem S., age 17

We are from the Hills of Minsk and Odessa
We were Communists and Democrats at the same time
Soviet Union is the country where we were made
We are from the country which had the great wars in the past

We are from the places where sunflower seeds are grown and we eat them
We are from the Soviet Union with hot seas and cold winters
We are from the Russian songs and dances

I remember school in Ukraine
I remember the foods in Ukraine
I remember nature in Ukraine

We are from the song "Kalinka Malinka Malinka Moya”
We are from the Hills of Communism
We are from the churches of Cupola, beautiful and amazing architecture
We are from Stalin's mean and ruthless leadership
We are from Pushkin's great poetry and life
A life that is good and full

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Neighborhood

art and writing by Ekaterina Eskova, age 17

My neighborhood reminds me of myself.

It's also a place I always can come back to no matter what I do or what I did.

I will never forget those awesome days that I used to spend there till the darkness of the skies would attach itself to the roots of my hair.

I remember every morning I used to wake up, remembering those smells of the fresh meals and cookies with the still warm milk that my mom made for me and also the sounds of the morning birds who would sing for me a morning song.

But what I loved the most was the laugh and loud noises of little kids playing outside which would wake me up all the time when I was trying to take a nap. It was distracting, but I loved it though anyways.

The winter time was nice too. Very,very cold. The cold would go through your skin so deep that it made you feel like you want to stay somewhere inside.

I miss it all a lot. What can I say.

My neighborhood was where I spent the greatest times of my younger years.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I am from living without regrets

by Bogdan Blashishin, age 17
photo by Liliya Khylchuk

I am from dancing at a rave with crazy teens I don't really know
the beats that Dj Tiesto and East Clubbers bring

and 2Pac getting put 6 feet under for the way he made rap music today.

I am from “Superstars” by Ya Boy and from Lil Jon yelling, "Yeah, yeah!" and "What!"

But the one place that turns my crazy from normal to outrageous
is shopping at Lion Logo for a line called Express.

I am from watching my family make a life for all of us

coming to a new place in 1997
from where we were living hard when my sister died.
It was hard knowing she was there
on my birth in 1992, raising me from a little boy.

I am from growing up shooting hoops with my best friends to getting older
and using those skills for shooting beer pong.

Now I'm back in school, getting my
childhood skills and putting them in the game.

I am from humans living like humans and not fighting like beasts.

From living by the Bible, for it makes a person's life the way it is,
where parents know what's good from what's bad.
From living hard with my dad around
and mama giving us the best she had
with little time to watch me grow up.
I always had my brother and sister to keep me out of stuff.

I am from enjoying a walk to church,

knowing that it's gonna be boring, from not
being patient enough for the sun to set,

knowing Saturday nights are the best.

When I was born my mama taught me
to do my best and taught me life's all about
the qualities that make a person great.

I am from moments of laughter to moments of tears,

from scary dreams
I was living, hoping I would awake from.

Where loved ones, like my baby
cousin Serj, were living a hard life

and no one helping them out. From where
running next to him with a case of beer,

I say: Bro, that was really fun.

My neighborhood is cool

by Azbuka Academy high school student, photo by Liliya Khylchuk

My neighborhood is cool because it's always clean. In my neighborhood, you will see rusted stop signs. I always hear dogs barking. If you go there, you'll taste fresh air because there's a lot of trees. You can smell good food when someone is cooking something. The neighborhood is cool, because when you touch something, it's guaranteed to be clean. I've always been wondering what my neighbors' problem is. They always argue. And the cars are terrible. They always drive by on our street and it's hard to sleep.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ghetto Neighborhood

by Andrey German
photo by Liliya Khylchuk

I hear gunshots that sound scary and
I hear my family's arguments,
I see people playing soccer at the park,
I hear the train going by my house,
I see my neighbors smoking,
I hear music in my ears,
I hear the thunder and rain when I'm in my house,
I hear kids crying
in my house.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Where I'm From

by Taya K., age 16

I am from a dream of animal crackers,
early mornings pigging out.

I am from late nights,
Movie night-outs with tea
Sneaking out
BBQ and pranks!

I am from peanut butter
energy drinks and Skittles
full tummies and couch potatoes!

I am from big family dinners
cracking jokes and
making fun of each other.

I am from California cousins,
swimming, reading funny poems.

I am from long walks with family
dressed in thick hoodies, scratchy hats,
colorful knee-highs.

I am from cozy sleepovers
with friends, dressed up crazy
and taking silly pictures.

I am from morning bagels
with strawberries on the side
and the cartoon show "Clifford."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Neighborhood

by Sveta Demenko, age 16
photo by Liliya Khylchuk

In my neighborhood, you'll see a lot of different people: Russian, Ukrainian, Asian, Mexican, American, and African American.

In my neighborhood, you will always see a lot of cars parked everywhere. A lot of them are old, rusty cars, but you can always spot out the nice, shiny, polished cars.

In my neighborhood you will see the sunrise every morning, and the moon almost every night.

In my neighborhood you will see lots of different houses and buildings. Most houses are really nice-looking: grass, trees trimmed. But you will never miss the dirty weeds all over the yards of the houses standing out there.

In my neighborhood, you will see every spring flowers blooming, and the sweet smell far up in your nose bringing you joy and a smile.

When fall comes, you will see all the leaves scattered on the ground, bringing colors to my neighborhood.

How I want others to see my community

by Sveta Demenko, age 16

I want my people seen as the ones who bring good examples to the world. The ones who are positive about everything even if it's not the best thing. Also, I want them to help each other out with anything, have each other's backs, so people would see us and want to do the same.

Also, I want my people to not just be positive about everything, but to do things that are fun and good for everyone like play sports, have parties. Not the ones where you get wasted, but show people you can have fun without putting poison in your body.

I am from

by Natasha Dumitrash, age 19

I am from a powerful lightning that shocks my world.
I am from popcorn and movies.
I am from midnight parties and disco.
I am from backups and pickups.
I am from the rainbow after rain.
I am from family and friends that wipe away my tears.
I am from dark chocolates and white roses.
I am from late night walks and romance confutation.
I am from beneath the water and higher than the clouds.
I am from randomness and uniqueness, especially out of nowhere.
I am from I do what I want, and don't stay in my way.
I am from freedom and fairness.
I am from somewhere where I would want to be forever.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I am from sunny days and stormy nights

by Kristina Pleshakova

I am from...
sunny days and stormy nights
Russian foods and bar-b-q's
water balloons and hot beach guys
rock-n-roll and Christian rap
techno songs and disco nights
high inch heels and fishing rods
I am from...
A beautiful disaster with honest lies
broken promises and big regrets, but now sunshine rays with happy days
baby sis to big bro, love ya all from head to toe
I am from...
random laughs and crazy fights to pinky swears and teddy bears.
Purple shoes and pillow fights.
Having fun under the moonlight
holding hands and kissing cheeks
to whispering in ears and giggling under the oak trees
I am just me...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thoughts on how we want to be seen

by Yana Yukhimchuk, age 16
photo by Liliya Khylchuk

I want people to view the Slavic community as nice, generous, smart people, not obnoxious, mischievous cheaters. I want people to see us for the hard workers that we are. We are very creative, intellectual people.

There are a lot of habits that we brought to America from our home country. For example, farming, fixing cars, building construction, and our religion.

Back in Russia and Ukraine, we were raised in a culture where everyone built their own homes and most farmed, meaning they didn't have to waste much on food, because almost everything was home grown. This shows that we're hardworking people. Also, we are helpful because everyone was always helping each other out. We brought this lifestyle here with us.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I am from the oldest one

by Yana Korneychuk, age 15

I am from the oldest one
from spoiled and sour candy.
I am from the fast walker,
Grandma's house and the farm.
I am also from snow as hard as old candy.
I am from the adored one
and the first loved.
I am from “it's too dark!” at night,
from borscht, potatoes, and turkey.
I am from talking on the phone,
shopping, and making a mess in the living room.
I am from playing with dolls, strollers, and babies.
I am also from milk, love, and caring.
I am from the oldest one, spoiled, and sour candy!

I am from paper and color pencils

by Liliya Kharitonenko, age 15

I am from paper and color pencils,
From paint brushes and paint.
I am from the color purple.
I am from loved ones, family
Get togethers, and B-B-Q's,
From sleepovers and hanging out with friends.
I am from the delicious smell of baking cakes
My mom makes.
I am from swinging on swings,
and running outside.
From playing the flute.
I am from my home.
I am from the smell of Tommy Girl perfume,
From apples and carrots.
I am from staying at home, and sleeping in.
From the words art, swimming, and playing games.
I am from many things
That describe me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


by Eugene Prodan, age 17

The prettiest name in the world is Eugene,
the big green smoking machine.

I am from pop up your collar and chill it.
My name is what everyone wants, and can't resist.

It's a hot flaming fireball,
that shoots around like a shooting star

my name is like a drug you must take,
and will always come back for more

my name is like a raven,
it has its own sound.

All you haters are just jealous
because your name don't have a sound.

All the girls scream Eugene Eugene!
Damn girl!
Go get your own dream.

Where I am From

by Aleksandr Bahmatov, age 15

I am from the ants and chickens.
I am from the kitchen smell and covered table.
I am from the house where there are big gates, an army truck and a big garage where two limos can fit.
I'm from a cherry tree where watermelons grow and berries ripen.
I'm from Grandpa and Grandma that went away when I was small.
I'm from the Christmas tree that stood in the soil.
I'm from the golden sun rays that brought us happiness and sadness.
I am from the family that will care about you and won't hurt you.
I'm from the family where religion was brought from the hard times.
I'm from a country called Uzbekistan.
I'm from the city Tashkent.
I'm from an apple tree.
I'm from the city school.
I'm from a street where rich people lived.
I'm from Shtanir that tried to help people.
I'm from a family where miracles happen.
I'm from from a big family.
I'm from University Hospital.
I'm from the word that my dad spoke out.
I'm from Yella songs.
I'm from the words," Где он."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I am from chunky peanut butter, toe socks, and fleece blankets

by Yana Yukhimchuk, age 16
photo by Liliya Khylchuk

I am from tea
late nights with siblings
reminiscing of the good old days

I am from sarcasm and laughter
all-nighters and pj's
crazy pictures
and silly talks

I am from trouble
sneaking out,
getting caught
the mistakes made
the lessons learned

I am from Hallmark
birthday cards, Christmas cards
and a letter collection

I am from music
the not-scary thunderstorms
running in the rain
from board games

I am from the bookworms
toe socks and fleece blankets
chunky peanut butter and celery sticks
Jones soda, Hubba Bubba
and neverending hunger

I am from church
choir, youth groups,
prayers, worship

I am from blue like the ocean
from tulips
bright and unpredictable
I am from me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I am from the cherry tree

by L.G.

I am from the cherry tree by my house.
The girl who always has candy in her mouth.
The one who always hears, "Be quiet."
The one who always drags her teddy bear with her.
The one who always runs in the fields and gets a hand full of flowers.
I am from my old school, from my first ABC.
I am from the woods and river by my house that said goodbye.
I am from Ukraine, the place were my first steps were, but not the last ones.
I am from family, the one who always sings and smiles.

I Am From

by Gennadiy S., Age 19

I am from night walks
in city town
and park with benches
and theater

I am from Odessa
and Black Sea
with beach
and so many crowds on it

I'm from a mountain
and a river
and cow on land
and rabbits

I am from a house with a stove
and smoke from it
and Grandma with fresh bread
and plov and borscht

I am from loud people in the market
and joke-filled language
from Ukrainian habits

I am from a big yard
and many roses around it
from a small garden
with a swing
I am from a land
and small too-green trees on it
from a railroad
and train with a too-loud horn

I am from a street
with Va, my friend
from Shurik with a guitar
and a dog that sleeps the whole time

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I am from people who love me

by L.P.G., Azbuka Academy high school student, age 16

I am from dusty streets
I am from a Christian family.
I am from the apple tree,
I am from America,
I am from an old private school,
and tired faces.
I am from church, and nimble kids.
I am from a pretty, big and comfortable house.
I am from swing sets, well used today.
I am from paper collections,
messages from friends, and
I am from good people who
helped me with problems.
I am from the best ever
that could be!

I Am From The Best

by D.B.K., Azbuka Academy student, age 17

I am from my unforgettable country Ukraine
I am from my huge house, big family, and old school with small windows.
I am from mean teachers and best friends
I am from good and bad moments
I am from God, heaven and church
I am from really loud and Christian music
I am from the bird sounds that used to wake me up in the morning
and from frog sounds that made me fall asleep at night.
I am from green, orange, red nature, blue sky, tall trees and grass.
I am from beautifully smelling purple lilac flowers
that grew in front of my house in Ukraine
I am from a river not too far from my house
where I used to spend entire summers swimming.
I am from sweet, big grapes, red strawberries, cherries and apples.
I am from hot coffee and white chocolate
I am from library books, stories, and poems
I am from text messages,
I am from all the good stuff you could think of!

I Am From

by a Portland high school student, age 14

I am from heavy snow,
dark nights,
deep forests with trees whose tops
you can't see.

I am from my Grandparents'
with small windows and small doors
I am from my school from the Ukraine,
I am from my dog from Ukraine,
big and strong.

I am from my 1st-4th grade classmates,
who I had fun with.

I am from large empty
lands filled with green
grass and nature, beauty.

I am from cold winters and
hot summers.

I am from deep heavy snow
where kids have fun every winter.

I am from old and bad
looking cars that always break.

I am from big houses down
on our street.

I am from a place where a lot of people would enjoy
living a part of their lives.

My Great Name

by Aleksandr Bakhmatov, age 15
photo by Liliya Khylchuk

My name is Aleksandr, which means "the defending man," and the origin of the name is Greek and Russian. I was born on Friday close to sundown. It was the beautiful November when the leaves were falling and so was the rain.

It was the month that was preparing to meet the freezing cold winter that was going to burn faces with the touch of the coldest snowflakes. The weather was nice outside, the gold sun rays were falling on to the busy streets. The leaves were falling down to the ground.

That was the day when I was born. That was the day when I saw the golden sun rays and the world in its beauty, that was the day when I saw my parents and that was the day when my dad called out my name. That was the day when I accepted my name to be mine.

Aleksandr: special, incredible, windy, sunny, rainy, gold, rich and popular. None of my ancestors have had a name as great and popular as mine.