Monday, February 16, 2009


Okay, so life is here is just starting to feel normal.  Wednesday, I had a normal moment went I was crammed on the marshuka (little bus) so tight you can stay standing even when the bus dodges between the cars on the street because there is no room to fall over.  (Personal bubbles do not exist in Ukraine.)  And since there isn't any room to go up to the front of the bus and they don't want to waste time paying the driver and then finding a spot, you go to your spot and then pass the money up.  People here are very honest and helpful to each other in that way and the bus drivers are extremely talented being able to swerve through traffic and listen for when people want to get off and see when people want to get on and give some one 48 grivna in change (all in 2 grivna notes) when they pay with a 50.  It's no wonder every bus has an icon of the saint of transportation affixed to the front of the bus.  So anyways, I was standing in the middle of the bus and people kept passing me money and telling me how many tickets it was for and then I would pass the money back.  And after five minutes I realized, "this should feel really weird...but it doesn't"  and then I felt weird.
Thursday, morning, I had to cancel my excursion because I was so stressed out about my holy terror class.  So Megan and I were really depressed as me walked to school.  Then we passed the little bakery stand that always has these donuts out tanting me.  And that day I just couldn't take it so I made Megan stop and I asked for two.  They were delicious.  They had jam inside.  And they only cost like 13 cents.  Which means I could get a dozen for like a $1.50.  That evening, I went to Russian lessons put on by someone in our ward.  We were running a bit early so we headed over to get some dinner.  We got these Kievite Corndogs.  They are hot dogs inside scones, they are quite delicious.  A bit of grochitsa (mustard) would have made them perfect.  When I got home, there was someone trying to get in the building but they couldn't figure it out.  So I buzzed up and Natasha opened the door.  I got into the elevator and they followed me but didn't push a floor button.  I got out on my floor and they followed.  I walked over to my apartment door, starting to be way creeped out and they followed me again.  After I rang the doorbell, they asked if I was going to visit Natasha,  I said yes and they laughed and said we are too.  Aparrently, one of the ladies is staying with us now.  I'm not really sure who she is or if it's permenant.   I feel really bad because she's sleeping on the floor but if she's here for good, I'm not giving up my bed.
Friday, I went to president Hyde's for game night and ate  burritos.  Yum!  Unfortunately, we got lost on the way and wandered around in the slush.  It was kind of nasty.  When I got home, I sat down for tea and Masha (mystery woman) sat on the end of the table.  She and Natasha talked straight until 12 without pause so I was stuck there listening to them but only understanding a couple of words (they were discussing something about Natasha's Down's Syndrome organization.
Saturday, I got up and was reading when Vanya came in.  He showed me this way cool book about legends.  Then he showed me his piratetology book.  He had decoded this message, but it had come out in English because the publishers hadn't bothered to translate it.  So he didn't understand it.  So we translated about half of it together then his mom called him so I finished it.  He's such a funny kid.  Now that I've been his teacher he likes talking to me so it's way fun.  All day Saturday, he was getting in trouble for talking to me when his mom needed him.  For breakfast we had candied french toast!  DELICIOUS!  Then I went to the store and got a box of chocolates for my host family for Valentines and my one month anniversary.  I also got a loaf of bread and some honey tea.  I love the bread here.  It's so good and cheap.  
I read before I came that bread is practically worshiped as the giver of life in Ukraine...I am considering joining the cult while I am here.  (I am currently munching on loaf...yum yum yum).  Bread, honey, and irradiated favorite simple things here.  You know what sounds really good...bread with honey on it with a glass of warm milk...I might have to go get some milk when I finish this.  In case you are not so fortunate as to be familiar about what is so awesome about such simple foods.  In Ukraine (in most of Europe) milk is super processed so it doesn't need to be refridgerated and it has this slightly different taste that I love, every one else thinks I'm crazy but I like it better than American milk.  Then the honey (which I kind of worship at home anyways) is slightly grainy and bright neon...and they let you eat it by the spoonful!  Now if only those darned homeland security people hadn't confiscated my peanut butter I'd be set with pb&h sandwiches.  Peanut butter is one of the things I really miss.
Alright, sorry for the wanderings of my mind...back to Saturday.  I went home and Sasha's godmother was there having tea.  Vanya came and met me at the door and told me to say "Privet!" to them because he had concocted this grand scheme where they would never realize that I didn't speak Russian.  I think my accent ruined his plan but he was sure that it was working until his mom explained who I was.  Then Styopa went down for a nap and Sasha and I pealed beets and potatoes and carrots for dinner.  We had a fantastic dinner for her birthday.  We had stuffed peppers (pickled peppers), kielbasa (not like you're a hot dog only fat), calat iz kapusti (cabbage, egg, mayonaise, and who knows whatelse), calat iz kielbasi (potato, egg, kielbasa, peas, mayonaise), plof (a rice pilaf thing), and salted fish (it looks beautiful like a dessert but DON'T take a big spoonful!  It's raw fish covered in potatoes and beets and it's a little hard to swallow).  After dinner, I gave Sasha her present.  I'd given her Hound of the Baskervilles because it was one of the few books I could find that I knew what it was and had actually read.  Her mom was really excited and said it was a good book.  I also made her a book mark and a CD of English folk songs like Lord of the Rings stuff.  And I painted her wrapping paper with fairies.  She put it up on her wall which made me happy.  Then we had chocolates, tea, and cake (like coffee cake with berries and apples and stuff in it but no spices).  Everyone came over so we had like 17 people in our kitchen...crazy!  I drew Volodya.  Vanya saw so when his dad went to bed he snuck into his spot and combed his hair and made cute faces at me until I drew him.  It was hard though because the kid does not hold still.  Finally, I went to bed.  
Sunday, I went to church.  Taught nursery.  I taught about the loaves and the fishes and used little duck crackers.  It was fun.  Then I went to the Muller's (they are true saints letting us invade their apartment every Sunday).  Then I went to Megans.  We made brownies for her host family. They asked us if it was a traditional American food.  I guess it is...brownies from a box...pretty American.  I also talked to Anna about how to help the kids.  She gave me some good ideas and some books.  Sadly she said her really good books are all in German.  Then I called my family to talk to Erin because.  SHE GOT INTO BYU!!!!!!! Next year is going to be amazing.  
Monday morning, Megan and I went to the store.  I got my bread and a thing of honey.  Then we went dumpster diving for things for shop.  It was awesome.


Sarah said...

So is your sister gonna be rooming with us too? That would mean nine of us... how would that work? If only I could convince Shanelle to come down here too...

Missing you tons. Don't eat too much mayo... it looks like that could be pretty easy to do ;-)

Hannah C said...

i like how brooklyn shows up on your "traffic map".

brooklyn is awesome, you should visit me :)

i wonder how they know where people are. IP addresses maybe?