Saturday, June 28, 2008

A visit to the docha!

Saturday we got up around 8:30 am and began to get ready for our trip to Vanya's Aunt Tanya's docha (summer home). We left and walked to the bus stop. The bus was very crowded and we rode it to Mekitivka then we were to get another bus but we missed it. We waited and waited then Vanya decided that we should get a taxi. The taxi took us out of Gorlvka and to the summer house. It was so nice out there in the country. The chemical plants and coal mines pollute the air in the city and so in the country the air is a little fresher. We walked down a rocky path surrounded by queen anne's lace and lots of other wildflowers. It was so beautiful. We passed other homes then we arrived at the docha!! There were gardens everywhere. They had potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, dill, parsley, corn, lots of other things but my favorite was the cherry trees!! Aunt Tanya, Mama (Vanya's mom) and I walked over to a cherry tree that had cherries that were more ripe. I cannot even describe how sweet they tasted!! Very YUMMY!! I ate and ate and ate. Tanya climbed the tree to get the ripe ones near the top. After we were finished we walked to Vanya's cousin's house and they had just bought a new docha. It was very pretty too. They were doing some repairs and putting up curtains outside on the patio for decoration. Vanya helped with this. It was so funny to watch the women telling him how to do things. I ate fresh apricots that there son Vlad picked off the tree. They were really good. A few hours later we went to a lake. It was a manmade lake and was full of limestone. The bottom of the lake was really gross to step on at first but after a while I got used to it. The water was freezing but beautiful. It was the most stunning blue. Vanya said it was because the limestone is white and the sun reflex off it make it the beautiful light blue color. Tanya, Vanya, his cousin and his two kids and I went swimming. It was very refreshing although I was a little cold in the water. We stayed an hour or so and then went back to the his cousin's docha. We helped with the decorating some more. Vanya got one set of curtain up and then they were the wrong one so he had to take them down. It was so funny because he was not very happy about this. We went to have dinner at his aunt's house. It was fun visiting with his family. Later Vanya had to leave to get train tickets for a couple that is coming to adopt so he had to leave. His mom and aunt wanted me to stay so we could go on a walk in a field. I am so glad I stayed although I was very hestitant because Vanya interprets for me and I speak so little Russian and they speak very little English. Tanya, Mama and I went for a walk. It was so much fun!! We went by a pond that the water for the docha's came from. They said the water had dropped very low because they haven't had rain for 2 months. We walked further through fields of wildflowers. You could see lots of green fields in the distance and there was a big hill of dirt. They have been working with the dirt for 2 years. We saw a large field of sunflowers that were almost ready to bloom. Tany took us on top this huge mound of dirt. The view from the top was so breathtaking of the countryside. A very big truck came to the top of the hill. The men in the truck were talking to Tanya and Vanya's mom. I was looking to see what was going on. It seemed they were asking what we were doing there. A few minutes later they said to get in the truck. We did. Vanya's mom told them I was American. The guys were so funny that were in the truck. I wanted to video the view from the truck so I turned on my camera they were talking and waving at the camera. Everyone that we passed on our ride in the truck they told that I was American. It was so funny. They told me "American Machines" it was Catepillar equipment they were using to move dirt. We drove some more and passed a truck then back up. They told him I was an American too. Then he offered me a beer (this is a very common gift in Ukraine). I politely declined with my Russian words "Neht Spasiba" or no thanks. They talked and laughed some more. We met a few more people then he took us back to were we had left. There we were met by Vanya's uncle and cousin and a friend. We walked on back to docha and then over to his cousin's docha. We sat around at the table. Everyone was talking and drinking too. They were having some champange to celebrate buying their new docha. They asked if I wanted some beer or champange; I said I would just have some "sok" which is juice. Aunt Tanya and Mama went to pick more cherries for me to have. The guys went to play cards and Tanya and I talked. It was very much fun trying to learn or figure out what she was saying. We talked for two or three hours. Occasionally if we would get stuck on a word that I couldn't understand she would call Vanya. He would ask me what it was and if I was okay and then we would talk more. She said that I understood Russian very well if it was spoken slowly. I do understand but it is a very hard language to speak. She asked me why I didn't drink. I told her I didn't drink in the US either just water. She told me of her trip to Thailand and about not being able to understand that language. The others finished the card game and came back to the table to join us. I talked with Lena who spoke very good English although still very little. Mama helped me with some of the translating. We laughed and talked until very late. Ira called Vanya to ask if I was ready to go and I said yes. We loaded the car and Ira said "Come back to docha next year!!" She was so kind to spend so much time visiting and talking with me. We arrived back to Gorlvka and I took a shower. We had tea (at 11 or something) and then on to bed. Today I will be going to Dherzhinsk for the beginning for the camp. I will not have internet access very much but when I do I will update. I have lots of pictures but am charging my battery so I will load later.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Some Pictures


Fun Filled times in Gorlvka!

Wednesday we had fried fish and zuchinni with tomatoes and sour cream. They were all delicious!! I am trying to post pictures but it is taking a while. On Thursday I spent the day with Vanya's Granny making Palmeny which is a pasta with meat inside. First Vanya had to grind the meat "meatsa" three times. Later Vany left for the university. It was a lot of fun and very interesting to be with Granny because she speaks Russian and I speak English. We were able to understand each other very well though. Vanya was gone because he had to study for a final exam in English. We worked on the Palmeny for 2/1/2 hours and then Vanya arrived home. His aunt arrived a little later and helped us and Vanya's mama too!! It was a family event!! Later we had more company arrive some friends of theirs from Moscow. We all had dinner and they had lots of laughter and conversation. I understood some of the conversation and Vanya interpreted the rest. I know it must be exhausting to here in one language and change it into another. He does a wonderful job though. His girlfriend (and future wife) joined us for dinner. She was very beautiful and very tall too. She did very well speaking English and Vanya is working with her so I am sure she will get even better. We watched futbol (soccer) two nights. Today we had a nice walk to the university that Vanya attends. Then had another wonderful dish with cabbage and dough on the outside prepared by Vanya's mama. It is very hard to describe these dishes. Vanya's granny keeps trying to get me to eat more and more. It is very hard because it is soooooooooooooooo much food!! But it is good "Vukushna" meaning tasty. We will travel to Vanya's aunt's "docha" meaning summer home tomorrow. I think it is an hour away. I will go to church on Sunday with Vanya and then on to Dhzerzhinsk.

** My pictures are taking a while to download so I will try again another day. It is 12 am so I should go to bed. It will be a busy day tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trip to Gorlvka

Hi to all! It's Vanya! Sara made me make this post saying that otherwise I would never get my peanut butter. Now I am trying to think of a Bible verse that says blackmailing is a sin! :)

Anyway, yesterday I came to Kiev to pick up my dear friend Capa and take her home with me to Gorlovka. We made a short tour around Kiev and Sara showed me all the churches and made me pose in front of almost each one. I guess she just had a new camera and can't have enough of it! By the time we finished with sightseeing, shopping at Andreyevsky and had lunch it was time to go pick up the luggage from Vitaliy's apartment. When the word luggage was mentioned I noticed Vitaliy go pale and the smile dissapeared from his face. I understood why when we arrives at the apartment. Before I came Sara asked me to pack light because she had failed to do the same. Well, I have travelled a great deal with people from the US so I wasn't afraid. I should have!!! One of the suitcases had an airport badge "HEAVY get help to lift". Everybody on the train thought that we were moving from the States to Ukraine! But for the weightlifting the train ride was alright, the a/c worked every now and then and Sarah and I occcupied the two upper bunks and we had a great conversaton while eating chips and cookies (we only eat healthy food in Ukraine:) Then we went to bed because we figured that those two people downstares deserve to get some sleep too! We slept ok, actually it cannot be called sleeping - it's more like a series fo short naps that you take between the numerous stops that the train takes. We took a cab to my place and my mom and Grandmother met us very warmly (I don't know whether they were happy to see me or Sara... or the suitcases).

Now we are just taking it easy fixing, Sara is resting, because tomorrow Granny will be teaching her to cook Pelmeny! I'm pretty sure Sara will tell you all about it tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A quick tour around Kiev

Sophie is the blue church. The big building used to be the golden gate to the city.

A mime by the blocks

St. Andrews church on Andriesky
We were posing like the statue.

Vanya arrived this afternoon and we took a quick tour around the city center of Kiev to see the churches and buy a few things. We took pictures by everything. This statue we have taken a picture by every year. Then we had lunch. It was fun. Now we will take my heavy luggage on metro to the train. Should be interesting...

Although I went to bed earlier last night. I was still awake with the TV on and then some snoring. I tried my ipod but it didn't work to drown the noise. Oh well, finally I went to sleep but don't feel that great this morning. I am extremely sore from all the bowling. I think that was way too many games for one evening. My arm and my neck are just throbbing. I will meet with Vanya in a few hours for a long train ride. I will be in Gorlvka until Sunday when the other Americans will arrive in Dhzerzhinsk.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Traveling around Kyiv!

Me and Tanya in front of an old church "zherkov" in Russian.

Tanya in front of the mills!
Hello!! Everyone!!

Birch Trees. They were so pretty.

Caught you Tanya, picking cherries!!

Tanya is using Vitaliy's "new" sunglasses to put on her lip gloss.

Tanya still putting on lip gloss.
Pecherska Lavra-This was taken from a bus but is a monestery in Kyiv. It is really beautiful.
Another of this building it is the one with gold roofs.

Dniper River

Eating "moroshonae" which is ice cream. It is called "stop narcotica" and is a ice cream with poppy seed coated in a hard white chocolate shell. It is my favorite!


Today we left the apartment and looked for Vitaliy a new pair of sunglasses. It was pretty funny because Tanya, Anton and I were all telling Vitaliy "yes" or "no" as he was trying on the glasses. Finally, he found a pair of glasses. Then we waited in line for a bus. We went to take Anton to his girlfriend's apartment. Then we passed a McDonald's (there are lots in Kyiv). I had to snap a picture. This evening we went to a museum that was outside. Each region of Ukraine was represented at this museum. We walked all over this museum. It was a nice afternoon. I took lots of pictures. None of the houses were open to look inside but it was still very beautiful. The fresh air was nice because it was a little outside the city!! We are back at the apartment relaxing.