Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
This is my friend Lydia.
Not everyone is friendly to foreigners, but she always was.
Not everyone wears a dependable smile, but she always did.
We met a year ago, as D and I moved into this building. She was sitting on the bench outside as he and I approached the doorway, arms filled with stuff. I later realized that she loved to watch all the comings and goings and daily dramas from that bench. She came over to meet us and turned up again later with two plants- "this one is for money, and the other is to bring you love!" she promised.
Lydia was constantly in motion. She worked at the entrance of a neighboring building and I'd see her gardening in rubber boots, gossiping from the bench, sweeping, scrubbing. She was never at rest for long. Sometimes she'd stop to tell me about the difficult parts of her life or worry over whether she should take an extra cleaning job in Gorky Park to help support her daughter's family. Other times she would break into song and reminisce over her younger days traveling the country and singing. She explained how she took up smoking in her 20s out of the worry that not knowing how to smoke would make her seem awkward on a date.
Lydia was only 63. She had blond curls like a 40s starlet and she never appeared without her trademark bright lipstick, blush, and heavy mascara. She'd go tanning and swimming on the weekends at a park near her home. Coming back to work, she'd roll up her sleeves to show off her tan and scold me for being so white. Lydia took us to this spot in April and we had a wonderful picnic lunch together. I still remember how she wore heels to our picnic :p
Monday, June 17, 2013
Friday night, 7 PM, the weekend began! I'd just finished leading 2 speaking clubs and caught a glimpse of this fading rainbow on the way out of the building. An auspicious sign, hopefully?
"Where should we go?", D shouted into the phone over the roar of the nearby traffic. The landlady was on the other end of the line. "Okay, Koshkina 15, got it!" he answered. We checked Google maps and set off down Plekhanivska street, which was pleasantly wedged between a green space and a park.
|This car looks like it's decked out for a wedding?|
Friday, June 14, 2013
The other piece of news....
... our new website is up! It's called Street Russian and it's designed for people who are learning Russian. The immersion method has its ups and downs (as we've discussed before) but one of the awesome pros of living abroad is being exposed to all kinds of vocabulary that you'd never find in a course book. I want to share those everyday moments with those who don't get to see them and could benefit from the exposure.
The site is still a work in progress but if you're learning Russian (or even if you're not!) we'd love to hear what you think. Is it useful? How would you improve upon it? We were thinking about adding an audio file for each picture in the future so users can hear how everything is pronounced. If you've got an idea or a picture that would be a great fit for the site, please drop me a line! By the way, here's the Street Russian Facebook page if you're into that sort of thing.
So thanks again, my friends! I look forward to learning more about all things Ukraine and Russia with you : )
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
|Annunciation Cathedral after a recent storm|
new apartments considered so far: 4 (2 real, 2 fake)
|Goodbye, afternoon writing sessions on the balcony!|
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Work is the greatest thing in the world, so we should always save some of it for tomorrow.
- Don Herold
The weather is fantastic now! It's time to avoid work at all costs and get outside instead!
|Time to wear sandals and eat ice cream in the grass|
|Time to ride the cable carts between Sarzhin Yar and Gorky Park|
|Time to learn how to open bottles using only the metal walls of a cable cart|
|Time for thunderstorms|
|Time for families to visit the "extreme" park together|
|Свято-Николаевский храм, or St. Nicholas church|
|It's a 6 uah ride here by marshrutka, 40 uah by taxi|
|Happy Birthday to the birthday boy!!|
Wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying June as well : )
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Yesterday I went for a job interview at a marriage agency. Whoa, Katherine!, you're probably thinking, what's up with that?! But don't worry, I wasn't the one being interviewed (if you can call it that).
My friend Y called me up last week. She's an English teacher and she's eager to get more experience speaking the language. Her students told her that a group of foreigners would be in Kharkov soon, for a social/marriage tour/whatever you want to call it, and Y hoped to sign on as an interpreter for the event. Come with me, she said on the phone, I've got an interview set up for Monday afternoon. And so I went, for who could honestly refuse getting an inside look at this kind of thing?