Friday, May 21, 2010

Comings and Goings

Sometimes people ask what I miss about home or what I'm looking forward to when I return to California. On a superficial level, I miss avocados, Mexican food, meeting in coffee shops and the availability of inexpensive, quality goods. I also have a list of the things I miss when I leave Ukraine: mineral water, extensive public transportation, purchasing food that is more locally grown and only a 10 minute walk from my apartment and other amazing food in general, to name a few.

But on a deeper level, I miss people and relationships more than anything else. Besides weddings, birthdays and graduations, I miss birthday parties and watching my friends' children grow up. I miss the people who challenge me and spur me on to be Christlike. But the same is true when I leave Ukraine. Two friends are giving birth in the next month. I will miss the opportunities to help them out. I will miss seeing the joy on their faces as I watch them and their husbands revel in having a new child in their lives. Also, two friends are getting married this summer. I will miss out on their extreme mountain-top wedding. I will miss sitting around the table and sharing our lives with one another.

Last night several youth came over for the evening. We ate a lot of sweets, drank tea and just enjoyed talking. Another girl is leaving to study abroad soon, so we talked about that. They made me a memory book full of photos from this last year. I joked about crying but will probably only do so once I'm gone.

Having two homes is good but leaving is always hard. But arriving is always great.

To those I leave behind, I will miss you and look forward to seeing you again in 7 months and all the time we will spend together again around the table drinking tea.

To those I am coming home to, I look forward to the time we will spend together. It will also be hard to say goodbye to you at the end of the year.

До встречи!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cold Water

Yesterday I came home to a brief announcement on the front door of my building: Due to some [gas?] issue there will be no hot water from 11.05.2010 to 14.05.2010.

No big deal, right? It's fairly warm outside now. It's not that I enjoy taking cold showers, but four days is better than the typical two weeks every summer when the hot water is shut off throughout the city. Plus it's better than the week in April where there was only hot water. One cannot take scalding hot showers or do the laundry in the washing machine in that situation.

Today a friend of mine arrived in town with her 10-month old son. They had just spent a week in the village with her mother where there is no running water at all. That put it all into perspective. At least I have running water.

Unfortunately, my friend had been looking forward to a nice warm shower. Oh, well.

But at least we have running water.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

Last week I decided that I wanted to treat some colleagues to some festive food, Californian food, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, even if it was a week early. So we had a dinner of beans, rice, tortillas, carne asada, and a couple of salsas. It was so good, I thought I should actually repeat the meal tonight with my friends from California. I think it was even better the second time!

I'm on my way back to California in a couple of weeks where the food will be more authentic and won't require so much work (45 minutes to make tortillas) to get the same taste. I'll begin to take it for granted and begin to miss the foods that I love here in Ukraine. But tonight I am satisfied and content to have friends nearby to enjoy it with.