Thursday was our last full day in Gaivoron. Like the other days, it was cold and rainy – just my luck (especially because I now have a cold, likely from the running around in the cold and rain for four days).
This day was much more slow-paced and low-key than the previous days. Our group had diminished in size, so instead of the nearly 40 people that we had at the beginning of the excursion, we were down to around 15 (maybe a few less).
After breakfast, we were told we were to go to the house of a sculptor. On the way, we decided to make things a bit interesting and did “drive by” photography. As I was in the front seat with Sergey (who was driving), I acted as the “spotter” and told the others when a photo opp was coming up. They would roll down their windows and do some fast photo taking as we drove by the chosen subject(s). It was interesting, and I hope to see the photos soon. Perhaps most interesting was the expressions on peoples’ faces when they saw us and realized we were taking photographs.
After a while, and after going over some pretty rough roads (okay, “rough” is a kind description), we arrived at the sculptor’s house, though his home was really a mini-farm with its own small pond and island. He and his wife had many of the usual farm animals, and there was even a raft to take us across the small pond to the small island.
On the island was a tiny structure, and when we went inside to find out what it was, we found out it was a sauna! Some of us went back and forth a few times, taking photos of the man while he was catching fish (with a long net – the first go all he caught was a turtle), taking photos of the other couple while they planted a nearby field. I also caught sight of the male crane bringing food back to his mate and though I was unable to capture that moment, I caught a photo of him leaving the nest for more food.
We all gathered back on the small island for an outdoor lunch, which was amazingly good. Though I bypassed the mushrooms and fish, the chicken and potatoes, salad, and everything else were so tasty! Perhaps it was the fact that we were in the open air, eating this meal, or perhaps it was the company, or the fact that we had had a very good week, but it was perhaps one of the best meals I have had in Ukraine.
After that, it was back to town, where we said goodbye to other participants, until we, the Americans, and three Ukrainians were the only ones left! We dismantled the exhibition, returned to the facility, where Theo and I moved our belongings from the comfortable bed room to the building with the heated room – we decided to trade comfort for heat.
Remember that vodka I mentioned a couple of posts ago? It was green, and we were told it was apple flavored. This in fact was not true, as we found out when we opened it that evening. Apparently it is some herb of some sort, like a stinging nettle, and they used it to flavor the vodka. Whoooooo…..it was stronger than most Ukrainian vodka, if that is possible.
Then came our last dinner at the facility, and the owner/manager of the facility busted out the Samohon. I had two “choot choot” servings, and decided that I wanted to be able to think the rest of the night and following day. After dinner we all danced in the outdoors to an accordian type instrument (I forgot its actual name).
All in all, I am so very glad I was given this opportunity to join such an amazing and talented group of people, and I hope to continue working with them.
Friday it was time to return to Kirovograd and we got on the road. The ride back was rather uneventful, except for our stopping to get photos with the varenyky monument. Kevin and David got on buses that night and were off to their next adventures (or their sites), Theo stayed the weekend, and life has been returning to normal once again.
Since returning, I have been largely recovering from two weeks of running around, doing laundry, and trying to fight off a cold that is coming on strong. I suppose that it is about time to get sick again, as I have not had a cold since last October.
Monday was Victory Day in Ukraine and as I did not know when or where the festivities were to be held in Kirovograd, I missed those in favor of relaxing. Though I did go to Dendro Park and had a “photo session” with the tulips, which are in bloom right now.
Yesterday it was back to work, and today I am staying home for the a.m., then it is off to the College. And of course, studying my language. I had another tutoring session yesterday. They help me but also frustrate me, because I am shown just how little I know of this language.
And so here I am, back in cyberspace. I wonder how many readers I lost in my absence, as suddenly I am getting few, if any, hits! Do people so quickly forget you when you are away from the computer for a while? Hmm…guess I will find out.