Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snapshots of A Quiet Few Months

So, January 12th already.

I'm not really feeling any of the good old New Year's resolve yet. Are you? Are you twelve days into some Super-Awesome-Life-changing-Goals-for-2016? I'm hoping you are :)

This year I've got a few big goals, the kind that require you to go light and get rid of old things. This week I've been going though old Kharkiv momentos- business cards, ancient scribbled notes, pictures- trying to clear them out and make space for new experiences. Between that and teaching English, here's what else has been happening here in Portland over the past few months...

That sign above totally reminded me of this fine business establishment in Kharkiv ;)

Some random Ukraine-y sightings here in Portland:

Yes! It's real Napoleon cake! :D
A gift from my mom.

Speaking of languages, a few months ago I met a really nice Chinese woman. Her husband was invited to teach Chinese at a local high school and she- being an English teacher- decided to tag along with him. After several overly polite emails, we ended up going to a local meetup for Chinese learners and speakers.

Oh wow.
I'm used to the Russian language meetup, which is mostly a mix of native Russian speakers using English and the "you know, someday I'm gonna learn me some real good russki yazik but for now I'm just gonna talk about thinking about starting" dreamers. But the Chinese language meetup was strict. There were no beginners and the first hour was entirely in Chinese. I left the event with this beautifully-decorated page (but still don't know any Chinese).

And another thing I don't know-  Recently I took the practice Foreign Service Officer Test, which confirmed that while my English isn't so bad, I know almost nothing about politics, diplomacy, and economics. Hats off to those who have passed this test, I'm in awe!

Moving on to tasty things, this last (has it really been that long?) spring we signed up for a local produce box.

A weekly box turned out to be a bit too ambitious for 2 people + 1 cat but it was still fun to try.

Borsch has been a kitchen staple these past few months. It started when I was out of town this fall. Usually this is a household rule:

"When a man is left home alone, the fridge will get up to 300 views per evening."

But 2 weeks is a long time for an unfed husband so D decided to teach himself how to make borsch. While we'd had one cooking lesson in Ukraine, I suspect he called his mom for her recipe. Every few days he would send proof-of-life photos: a full grocery cart, a pot of borsch, an empty bowl.

Ever since then that black pot is always in use. My friend came to visit last week and got the authentic Ukrainian experience:
  • make the borsch
  • go to the banya
  • stay up until 4 AM with borsch, zukuski, borsch, 2 bottles of vodka, and more borsch

Now I've got to stop typing borsch because it's one of those words where the more you see it, the stranger it looks :p Let's go with sushi instead.

Or ice cream.

And that's about it. There was one Kinda Long Trip (coming soon) and one Very Exciting Day of Winter Weather (also coming soon) but in general, most days were quiet, cloudy ones that ended with a hot bowl of borsch :p

What do your "snapshots" look like for these past few months?

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