It has been an interesting week. Perhaps the best part about this week of mine is that nearly everything that occurred to me was somewhat spur-of-the-moment, rather than being planned far in advance. That seems to be the best way to operate here in Ukraine, go with the flow, as whenever I actually try to plan something, inevitably the plans get changed.
I have written about most of the things that happened this week, except a couple of things that happened in Kyiv and a few “small world” or “Kirovograd may be a city but it feels like a big village” things I experienced. After all, I don’t write about EVERYTHING that happens to me…
The “Kirovograd may be a city but it feels like a big village” occurrences seem to be regular in my life here. For example, on Tuesday night I was on the bus from Kyiv to Kirovograd, and was talking to a friend of mine on the phone before the bus left. Five hours later, when we arrived in Kirovograd, the woman in front of me started talking to me, and found out that I spend part of my time at the National Technical University, where her daughter is an English teacher in the International Business and Economics department. The next day, on my way from a couple of meetings, I ran into this woman and her daughter on the street, and it turns out that they had been looking for me – they had just been at my office! The irony of running into them was I was actually taking a different route back to the office until I decided that I did not want to deal with the crowds that came with construction going on, and changed my path.
So on Thursday I participated as a judge in the department’s “Brain Ring” competition and was taken out to dinner afterward. It was pizza and crepes rather than turkey, but who was I to complain? It was nice to spend time with them and hey, a free dinner is always good!
Then there are the Danes. Last week a woman I know who works at Chervona Zirka told me that there would be a couple of gentlemen from Denmark visiting this week. She happens to be the same one who gave me my first (and probably last) taste of horse meat on Wednesday, and that same night, I asked after the Danish gentlemen, who their trip was going. She told me it was going well, and said she would propose to them to meet me. So that is what came up last night – I was invited to dinner with her and the Danes.
I am ashamed to say that because I am focusing on learning Russian and live here, my Danish was terrible. They, however, were impressed that I knew anything, since I was last in Denmark 20 years ago. I assured them that if I was to actually return to Denmark, my language would quickly return – it is just in the dormant part of my brain right now. Of course, I understood most of what they said to each other and then later in the evening, when I was not with them anymore, I remembered more. Unfortunately, it was too late to actually be able to speak with them…all the same, it was nice to spend time with them, and to talk a bit about Denmark, about traveling, about the world. They have been to many different countries as part of their work.
Possibly the best part of this unexpected week is that it helped take the “sting” away from my being so far away from family and friends over Thanksgiving. So to close the week, I am set to make dinner for a local PCV couple, in exchange for getting Rosetta Stone from them – this trade is very much in my favor, I think. That is, unless something else comes up today…