Here it is, November 10, and the high temperature in Kirovograd today was around 67 degrees farenheit. After a fairly cold September, and very cold October, I am thrilled to finally have a few beautiful fall days. I have been walking to work, and getting hot doing it, wearing fewer layers than I was a month ago (where is the logic?) and with it being a little warmer, I mind a little bit less that it is already dark outside as I write this (it is 5:00 p.m.).
However, I must admit, I miss fall in the Midwest. There are such a range of colors there in the autumn that are breathtaking. And sometimes the crispness of the air takes your breath away too. Going to apple orchards and picking a bunch. Working as a team with my mom to make apple pies – I have absolutely no talent for the crust, which she manages to make so it is flaky and fabulous. I tend to tear it, and she has the gentle touch that comes from years of pie-making experience. I make the filling, and she allows me some creative license in what I put in the filling – sometimes walnuts, or cranberries – along with the apples.
Of course they have apples here, but they generally are privately-owned trees, and I cannot make pies, for I do not have an oven. Oh, what the people of Ukraine are missing by my not having an oven!
Then there are the leaves. As not-fun as it is to rake leaves, it was always fun to play in the leaf pile, especially when you have family members to play with (poor Kayla, she was so tortured by her old auntie).
And I must admit, I think I am going to miss Thanksgiving. I was, in recent years, preparing a good portion of the meal and was also allowed creative license in that. The year I got the flu on Thanksgiving Day, I had pre-made these wonderful mashed potatoes,with layers of carmelized onions and cheese, that only needed re-heating in the oven. What I did not tell anyone until after they ate said potatoes was that the reason they were so creamy was the tofu I had added to them (man, my brother in law’s facial expression on hearing that was priceless. Though he lives among the soybean fields, he eschews the things when it comes to eating). Was that two years ago already?
We are to have a Thanksgiving party here, though, with the PCVs from the oblast, and I hear that we will also have a turkey. My mouth waters just to think about it – I have had turkey exactly once since I have been here. It was when I went to Ochakiv, the resort on the Black Sea, for a few days. I saw the menu and said “wait, does that say TURKEY?” Lena told me it did indeed, but I was so sad to see the portion size of the turkey was a mere fraction of when they served fish. I have also not seen turkey in the stores – while apparently people in the villages keep turkeys, the meat apparently does not make its way to the oblast centers. I must resume my turkey search soon.
Yes, there are many reasons that fall is my favorite season. I hope you are all enjoying yours.