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Another week

April 8, 2011

Another week has come and gone and it is once again the weekend. Yulia had suggested another excursion for tomorrow and at first I loved the idea and shared her enthusiasm. Until today, with its cold wind and rain. Perhaps not, I said. Maybe you should come over and we can watch a movie or two instead, as the forecast for tomorrow is for more of this. She still wants to go, but I told her I’ve had about enough of the cold for the year, thank you very much, and adding rain to that means I will hide inside tomorrow. So it looks like no new set of photos will appear this weekend. That’s too bad because the buds on the trees are trying to open up, and I think in the next two weeks I will see flowers.

After going shopping with my friend and her visiting friend last week, and then with my friend the other day (there is a HUGE second-hand store in the city that I showed her), I realized that this winter, some of that weight I lost last summer was found again. It was an ugly realization, when I tried on a denim skirt that, when I held it up, looked as if it would fit but under the cruel lights of the dressing are (they are curtained areas, not rooms) it was another matter entirely. Holy cow, where did THAT come from?

I cannot blame it all on my age. I mean, yes, at my age there is a certain amount of “hey you cannot avoid it” middle-agedness that affects my eating patterns. But I will admit that my sweet tooth has, of late, gotten the better of me and my penchant for the “waffli” that I found here (chocolate waffle with chocolate filling!) and the occasional bag of chips, added to all the time I have spent hiding inside during the cold months caught up with me. And I am still not at the weight I was at when I arrived here, but then again that was the heaviest I had ever been in my life and I was not happy with that fact.

Ah, so. I have to hope that my renewed exercising (and by that I mean getting out and walking to and/or from work, which is an hour one way) and determination to rein in the sweet tooth will lead to that weight disappearing again and my ability to wear the skirt I bought at the second-hand store last Spring, which I wore last summer but cannot today. I need to find that self-control I used to have when it came to my sweet tooth – it seems to have gone on some sort of extended vacation. Maybe the fact that the only fresh fruits I have had in months are apples and oranges is finally getting to me? Oh, how I look forward to the time, in about six weeks or so, when the prices of produce start dropping and I can eat something other than cabbage, onions, and carrots if I want “fresh” produce.

In other happenings this week, I hit my head against the wall regarding the grant for which I am applying/have applied, conducted a guest lecture on Social Security and Retirement in the U.S., conducted another guest lecture at another university on Civil Rights in the United States, found out my counterpart was MIA last week because she cut her fingers badly and was at the hospital (yeah, I found out on Monday upon her return and saw her fingers today. I kinda wish she had not removed those bandages…), bought my train tickets to Western Ukraine for the marathon at the end of the month (you think I am RUNNING in it?? Hah!), had to turn down a free photography excursion because it conflicts with my trip to Poland (the man said “perhaps you can convince your brother to change his travel dates?”), did some more hours of Rosetta Stone (but have to admit, have otherwise been lazy about studying this week), and worked on various other things.

Writing these things down, it seems like more than I realized while going through my day. I spent a fair amount of my interaction time with people frustrated, thus the reason I have not written in a few days. Sometimes there are things about a place that just bother you. But the people and culture won’t change, so my way of dealing with it does. Some days are better than others. On the upside, when I was at the synagogue tonight and the woman was talking, I understood a good portion of what she said. She spoke slowly enough so I could. It is always a good feeling when I think “hey, maybe I AM getting better at this language, if ever so slowly.”

Inflation is also hitting here – prices are going up, up, up. Noticeably. When I arrived in this city last June, a bus ticket to Kyiv was 65 uah. Today it is 80. The price of buckwheat has doubled, so has the price of the bread that I like. Other breads have not doubled in price, but certainly have gone up. Milk, yogurt, etc. and don’t even get me started on the produce. This should, in theory, make me eat less but all it does is continue to surprise me. In my guest lecture a few weeks ago I mentioned that in Ukraine in 2010 the inflation rate was about 9.8%. Wow.

But hey, the government is not threatening to shut down!

So on this Friday evening, as I am still running the space heater, getting ready to watch a movie and thinking of people I know, I wonder how they all are. I wonder about my future, as I have been doing a lot lately (maybe it’s that one-year mark. Nah, I just think a lot). I go to bed, as usual, intending to make tomorrow a better day.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Renate Strina permalink
    April 11, 2011 2:47 am

    Hi Karin,

    When you write of high food prices, it reminds me of the “high prices” in Innsbruck, Austria and that I mostly lived on oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables. Now mind you, I eat oatmeal raw, so just the oatmeal with milk, so to find ‘reasonable-priced’ milk was a challenge. The one thing I’m glad about is that I quit drinking pop when I was in Europe, because a Diet Coke tasted differently (well awful to me), so that I quit drinking carbonated drinks all together, a habit I have stuck to even since my return to the US! 🙂

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