Monday, January 27, 2014

The little things, part 2

D photographing a recent sunset
Thank you guys for your recent comments and emails. Reading your words and ideas means a lot to me and I really appreciate your support!!! I think it's great that you take the time to read this blog and even greater that many of you are thousands of miles from eastern Europe but you still find space in your hearts to care about this country and its future.

As you know, there hasn't been much change in what's happening in Ukraine... it's true that lots has happened- this building has been occupied, that building has been occupied, more police ordered to stand in the cold, thousands of tweets sent around the world, government officials made to actually do some work, but there's no end, no change in sight yet. There are rumors flying around about Kharkiv- "oh, they're all so lazy there, doing nothing", "the government is preparing for a mass protest", but again, not much visible to the naked eye.

After writing the previous blog post on Friday, I was twisted into insoluble knots of anxiety. Thankfully, fellow English teacher and true friend Maxine let me lean on her shoulder for a good long while. I spent the weekend wandering from one thing to the next, following the greater trend of lots of activity but no real resolutions but at least trying to focus on positives like:
  • Visiting different cafés/bars around town (6 within the 24 hours that followed writing the last post), including a brief stop for dancing. I guess sometimes you've just got to play that fiddle to forget all the burning.
  • Checking off a long-time goal of meeting a native Spanish-speaker here in town (and he was really nice to boot!)
  • Acquiring some chocolate butter. Pretty much capable of solving most world problems, it's that good.
Haven't dug into it yet but several times a day I open the fridge door just for the satisfaction of seeing it there on the top shelf.
  • Seeing a certain little guy's friendly face from his usual hang-out spot on the couch.
  • Postponing work stuff as much as possible. This probably means a scramble to prepare later on, but sometimes you just need that extra time to relax.
  • Spending an hour on the phone catching up with my parents. It was really nice to touch base and hear about their lives. My father even landed a gig recently as an extra (dressed as a carny!) on the TV show Grimm : ) It makes me smile just to imagine that! I don't know if I ever mentioned this here before, but I'm originally from Portland, Oregon and that's where most of my immediate family still lives. They're hoping we'll resettle in that area.
It's hard to get too distracted though. Everyone will continue to feel weighed down until peace is agreed upon. It's like we're all on autopilot, remembering it constantly but trying to get on with going to work, making dinner, the mundane details. Holding on to optimism while pessimism knocks louder at the door. On Saturday, as I navigated around two ancient fur-clad babushkas shuffling along the icy sidewalk, part of their conversation drifted to my ears: Then Natasha came over and started talking about going to Maidan. 'Leave it', I told her, 'Let it rest. Enough with the politics.' Yesterday a die-hard Ukrainian nationalist friend who has supported Euromaidan from Day 1, confessed in a FB message: I don't believe the opposition can make any real changes in this country.

Don't worry, this week I'll get back to the usual style of posts. Look for more on exploring Kharkiv soon : )
Like this cool art café on Darwin street that opened last March. It's a wonderful way to warm up on a 5F/ -15C day!

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