Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ukraine, now.

I'm sure you've seen Ukraine in the news recently. Again.

This post is not about that.

It's not about political maneuvers.

It's not about doom and gloom.

It's even not about all the cool reasons you should visit the country. (And what's up with Ukraine bloggers nowadays? Why are there suddenly so many amazing ones, and where on Earth were they hiding before?)

Instead, this post is a odd roundup of things that have shown up in my inbox lately. I'd be surprised if you've heard of them... but let me know if you have!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Three good things

At the beginning of July, a friend took off to spend another summer doing research in Nizhny Novgorod. I was a bit bummed to not be there this time, so instead I set up a skype date with her (vicarious adventuring) and then made a whole bunch of plans for the month (like joining a gym + a coworking space and hiring a marketing specialist for my language blog). Halfway through July, this plan of "staying busy" is working. Here are three really nice things that have happened recently...

#1. Odin!


Odin came to town! Best summer present EVER. Now he's a sociology grad student in Alaska, but he still speaks Russian really well... and he even showed up in this Chukotka t-shirt. We had a long double date- Odin, his girlfriend, D, me- with lots of pizza + wine. Even though we only meet up every couple of years, he's still one of my favorite people on the planet. Who else would be comfortable teaching English in a remote Siberian village in 2007 and getting paid in reindeer meat when the school ran low on actual cash? There's no one like Odin. ;)

(One of Odin's stories: Life among the reindeer herders in summer 2013. Here are a few of his photos...)

Odin in the Tuva Republic, 2013.
Odin with a family of reindeer herders, 2013.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Afternoon excursions in Nizhny


How do you feel when Facebook shows you On This Day memories? It's always a bittersweet thing for me. Usually, it reminds me of a favorite place / person in Ukraine. This week, it's been all about last summer's trip to Nizhny Novgorod, which really stings when compared to my total lack of plans for this summer. (No travel, anywhere. I'm just hanging on by reading adventurous posts like this one, this one, and this one.)

Summer plans 2016.
Summer plans 2017.

On the other hand, maybe I'll become a fluent Russian-speaking, Spanish-speaking billionaire after reading all those books this summer, haha. There's always a chance!

Although the academic part of the program was a bit of a letdown, last summer was still really fun. We did things like ride the cable cars, visit a monastery, and paint our own matryoshkas. Here are the afternoon trips that I haven't yet shared with you...


 Nizhny Novgorod Planetarium


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Low tide


10 AM, Memorial Day weekend. The tide was out- way out- and we were on the beach.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Things I (don't) miss


I just found a little folder on my computer called Things I won't miss. It must be from a few years ago, just after we moved to Portland. These are 4 things I thought I would never miss about living in Ukraine....
but now, I actually have a soft spot for most of them!

#1. Handwritten signs like this one. Miss!


After years of so-so Russian, somehow my language skills got better after leaving Ukraine. Now I could actually take on the challenge of understanding these words + deciphering that scrawl. (It says "self-serve; clean up after yourself.")

#2. The water truck. Miss!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Penpal mail


Privet! And hooray, penpal mail! We got back in town to find this awesome package* waiting in the mail. I can't wait to show you everything in it!

*Minus the cat, of course :p

D's mom had a great birthday. It was a 'day at sea' on the cruise ship, so we wandered around all afternoon and then had some bday drinks. That evening, six waiters crowded around the table and sang to her. She looked so happy! And there were lots of crew members on board who spoke Russian / Ukrainian.  Several of them came over to the table to say hi.