Saturday, June 27, 2015

Taking stock

Voodoo Doughnut, a cultural landmark and proclaimed by many as a near-religious experience.

Happy Halfway-To-2016!!!

Are you freaking out? Me too. Luckily there are still 188 days to get stuff done. This clock, by the way = most motivating thing ever.

We've been in Portland so long now... long enough to have gone through a lease renewal. I had originally thought we'd be gone by now, on to more exotic ports of call, but no. It's not a bad thing, just somewhat disappointing, and I wonder how much of it is my fault. Could I have gotten up earlier, worked harder, spent less? Written a book instead of blog posts? Studied languages more?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Coastal sunset

This is sunset on the Oregon coast.

It's simple to recreate:

Start at the end of the day, just as campfires begin to blaze

Dress warmly, as summer is often a nice theory rather than an actual event

Head towards the ocean as the last surfers roll in on pink waves and the sunset-watchers dash out to the water's edge

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hidden in the city


All the apartment complexes have opened their pools. Students roam in flip flops and short shorts. Everyone walks on the shady side of the street. Even 90F weather and ice cream trucks have already made an appearance.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

But is it summer in Simferopol?

Here's something worth taking a peek at-

That was Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, yesterday as people were coming and going from the train station. I'd been dreaming of traveling looking up the weather report that same evening and got this-


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The best of Ukrainian summer

Kharkiv summers are everything a person could want from summer.

Flowers and sunshine.

Enough heat to force a person into the refuge of deliciously air-conditioned coffee shops or grab beer/kvass from street vendors under sun umbrellas.

Холодные напитки = cold drinks.

Afternoons with ominously low grey skies, only moments away from hail and thunderstorms.

Long picnics in the countryside with homemade salads, open-faced sandwiches, and watermelon.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Oregon coast, part I

We got out to the beach last weekend! Haven't been there in at least 5 years and it was good to again face the solemness of the Oregon coastline. Just one state south (California) and the Pacific Ocean feels so shiny and sparkly... but not here. It's got a muted beauty up here.

Кит had to sit this one out, but we did have some canine company along ; )

Meet Chili.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

2013 Battle of Sokolovo

Before you start scanning the photos below and thinking we ended up in trouble somewhere, please read first!

These pictures are all from a different era, an era called Spring 2013. A time when no one even had the faintest suspicion of conflict, when war was something people associated with their grandparents.

This was the 70th reenactment of the Battle of Sokolovo, the fight of a few hundred Czech / Soviet soldiers against over 2,000 German soldiers. The hero of the day- although he did not live to see the honor- was a Czech soldier named Otakar Yarosh. Yarosh was the first foreigner to receive the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and (last I heard) there's still a street named after him in Kharkiv.

Anyway, D didn't know all that history when some friends called up that March and issued an invitation to the reenactment. He came back at the end of the day, red-cheeked and chilled hands, with all of these photos. We had some complicated plan to share them on the blog... which never happened. So, two long years later, here they are.

I'm not sure what happened to the photos of the actual battle scenes... somehow those are missing from the file and I'm left with the meet-and-greet kind of pictures. If you're a history buff, there's news coverage of the entire event here (tank battle starts around minute 16) and more high-quality photos here. There were approximately 400 Ukrainian and Czech soldiers participating in costume that day. This took place near Sokolove, about a one-hour bus ride from Kharkiv.

Aaaaand, no more words- the rest of the photos!