Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving and... a revolution?

Kharkiv's Freedom Square at 3 PM today, now closed to the public.
As we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner, little did we know that a storm was brewing. No one brought it up that Thursday evening but within 48 hours, talk of a revolution was everywhere.

Last night the media predicted that a state of emergency would be declared today (hasn't happened so far). Hundreds of thousands continue to flood the streets of the capital and as you can see above, one of Kharkiv's gathering/protest spots was fenced off today. I took a walk through downtown this afternoon. There wasn't much to see: heavy traffic, fewer than a dozen cops milling around Freedom Square, and a forlorn, partially-assembled city Christmas tree that now sits behind several sets of fences. (And hmmm.... the Kharkov city webcam over the square has suspiciously been offline for several days...)

But you know I'm no political pundit, so back to Thanksgiving. We kept things low-key this year, as D's mother was back in town. She managed to cook the rabbit that had been lingering in the freezer for a while.

Side story: we've been grocery shopping online for a month or two and recently I decided to get all daring, ordering rabbit instead of the usual beef or chicken. I thought the rabbit would come sliced up and packaged on styrofoam. That's how it appeared in the pictures online, at least. But no- what turned up was an entire carcass that made me immediately check to make sure Кит was still alive. (Rabbits at the market, by the way, are usually sold with one foot left unskinned to prove it's a rabbit rather than a cat.) I didn't know what to do with it (other than snap a photo that will be withheld because of the gross-factor) and D refused to deal with it on principle (its catty resemblance) so we froze it into submission until D's mom could come save the day.

Obviously we'd never last long in the wild!

The holiday was a usual work day for everyone. I tried to turn down a proofreading assignment that morning but my contact replied: "unfortunately our clients don't celebrate this day." So D went off to work, I went off to classes, and we managed to fit in the proofreading task before our guests arrived.
Apologies to all Thanksgiving traditionalists, but in addition to the rabbit we had pickles, pizza, donuts, and pomegranates! But in our defense, there was a pumpkin pie last year.
Afterwards, a certain someone took his customary post-feast nap.
And a rather unhappy cat was held captive during the nap.

A day later, D's mom dragged me into the kitchen. "Prepare yourself", she said in Russian. "We're going to make syrniki."
ingredients: 1 kg tvorog, 2 eggs, 1 tsp salt, 3 tbsp sugar, 1.5-2 cups flour
The blini were a pleasure to make: mix, pour, fry, flip, done.
The syrniki have an extra step: mix, roll into a ball and flatten into a patty with your sticky hands, fry, flip awkwardly, done. The first time around we didn't use enough flour-
- so we re-mixed, re-rolled, re-flattened, and re-fried, and got a better result.
Back to the present moment. It's 8 PM, snowing outside (a wet snow, not sticking!!), dinner needs to be made (D was already fed a snack, don't worry), and I'm hitting refresh every 5 minutes on the Kyiv Post live updates page. For the moment, life here in Kharkiv goes on as usual.


  1. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR SYRNIKI. The Eastern Europeans are serious about that stuff, aren't they?

    So fascinating to keep up with all the protests and seeing how they pan out as compared to the Russian ones. It sounds like it's pretty tame, but stay safe!

  2. I tried to make sirniki once, and failed abysmally, haha.

  3. I am saddened by this picture after seeing all the great things happening in Kiev. The news in America is that Kharkov residents have been demonstrating...have we been misled then?

    1. Hi Joanne! There's been a bit here and there (a rock concert in the park one night, occasional picketing) but nothing like what's happening in the capital... My friends who are really gung-ho about this are traveling to Kyiv to participate.

  4. божевілля українці
    Щоб стати капітаном рабом?
    зростання цін,
    заплатив охорона здоров'я та освіта
    утилізація сільського господарства і priemylu
    malipulujú вас неймовірно
    вся Європа ти смієшся
    восьминіг ЄС країни в'язниця

    Веселий вітання зі Словаччини!