Sunday, July 8, 2012

Break week

Kharkov's famous thermometer @ the Історичний музей metro stop
It's HOT.

Yesterday it was 80 F... at 11 PM at night. Now it's 6 PM the following day and almost 88 F. I guess if there were ever a perfect time for the city to turn off the hot water for repairs, this would be it. No AC and no fans in the apartment so for the past four days it's been either cold-shower-induced hypothermia or dazed heatstroke. Ah, summer in Ukraine :p

This is my week off from work. It was supposed to be super-productive but with the heat I can't work up enough energy to actually do much. I did manage to download about 200 book samples onto my Kindle (never too lazy too click!) and have been reading, reading, reading. To escape the heat momentarily we had another river picnic with Timur and his family.

The evening was great: just the group of us, the river, frogs croaking, badminton. At one point a strange car/truck drove up and unloaded a very pregnant wife, an intoxicated and shirtless husband, a silent thin older woman, a young boy, and a quiet industrious man who washed the car while the drunk guy waded around in the river and the pregnant wife smoked cigarette after cigarette. As the sun set a vicious army of mosquitoes emerged and lay waste to our unprotected arms and legs. I have 18 bites on my left foot and ankle. D got a couple scary-looking bites by something much hungrier than a mosquito. But still, the picnic was worth it!!
By the way, this keeps coming up and people can never seem to get enough of it-
  • what frogs say in English
  • what frogs say in Russian

What else? The 4th of July was celebrated via the ultimate act of patriotism: going to McDonalds. Then we had planned to go on an overnight canoe trip this weekend with a student of mine but, well, we ended up staying in town. This was partly because the downstairs neighbor came knocking and told us that his ceiling was leaking. We checked the floor of our bathroom- nothing. Turned off the water just in case- didn't help. So it became a bigger issue with lots of phone calls between the neighbor, my boss, and the landlord. D has been handling all of this. As the landlord said to him, "It's good that you speak Russian!" Meanwhile, I have been staying in the other room keeping an eye on our inquisitive new roommate (yes, there's now three of us, except that the new guy has big ears and four paws and doesn't pay rent.)

Finding a new apartment has been on the books for a while and the continuing plumbing drama convinced us to get serious about it. Plus it will be nice to have a change of scenery and be in a new environment. Fingers crossed, we'll hopefully be in a new place by the end of this month!

By the way, last weekend the country celebrated Constitution Day, a 4 day weekend for most workers.
On June 28, 1996, the country of Ukraine adopted a new constitution.
After Constitution Day weekend D and I walked through downtown / the park with Timur and took a lot of photos as the light began to fade.
Fountains near the opera house. The apartment we're hoping to get is not far from here!
But- to misuse the Latin- Monday now raises her nourishing light upon the suffering mortals and renews their daily grind. Back to teaching this week, still keeping a fairly light schedule: 12 hours at the school, plus several champagne challenges on the side. I'm not actually drinking any champagne yet, unless you count the small things, but this feels like the right direction.

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