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Time off and training

June 20, 2011

At this moment, I am writing this post from a friend’s apartment in Khmelnitsky. However, I spent the last six days in Kiev – an unusually long period of time for me to be there, but it was not without reason.

Conducting training at the Rada

I already mentioned that I had been asked to conduct some training sessions on a specialized research database tool. While we had a bit of a slow start with the sessions on Thursday, on Friday we had all three sessions, with a good number of people attending, and today we had two sessions, both times with full houses (in a computer lab).

However, because I had a weekend between my training sessions, and a very nice place to stay (rather than in a hostel), I was free to relax and enjoy things a bit. On Saturday when I finally got motivated enough to walk, I left E’s apartment and immediately got swept up in a crowd that, thankfully, was going in the same direction as I was. However, after I found out the event that they were all there for, I had to break free of them and go my own way – this is easier said than done when you are unfamiliar with the area and many of the walkways are blocked!

When I finally got away, I came up on a great view of the river and also walked along the back of the Lavra, then decided that I wanted to be on the other side of the complex, and went to climb up a hill via some rather rickety wooden stairs. Well, of course I fell…luckily no broken bones (wouldn’t THAT be fun, and an interesting anniversary – to break a bone a year after fracturing one) but I still have some swelling and a bruise. Ah well.

After looking at my watch, I decided to hit the bazaar E had told me about. At the bazaar I found blueberries and raspberries – a true treat! They cost a king’s ransom but they were worth it – I got a liter of each. After purchasing other produce, then going to the grocery store, my walk was over, as I did not care to walk long distances with not only my camera but many pounds of food as well. So it was a relaxing night back at the apartment, in which I had quickly grown comfortable!

On the "lovers bridge" in Kiev

Sunday was another day to see more of the city to which I have been a number of times, but never really explore. So I finally walked along the park in E’s neighborhood to the friendship arch. On the way, however, I had to cross the lover’s bridge (even Kiev has one – probably more than one). On the way across, a man who had been taking photos of his girlfriend told me I should let him take photos of me. Well…not loving having my photo taken but okay.

After seeing the friendship arch all up close and personal, I strolled down into the Podil neighborhood, along the waterfront. On the way back through the area I saw one of my favorite European shops, Naf Naf. I fell in love with Naf Naf when I first went to France many years ago. Unfortunately, though the sign in the window said 50% off everything, even with 50% off it was still too much for me, so I made a hasty exit and continued to the funicular.

This was another Kiev “thing” that I had seen but not done. Last summer when I went by it, it was out of service. Since then I had not really tried to find it, though in retrospect, last fall I SHOULD have, because when I was looking for something, took a wrong turn and got lost, if I had taken it then I would not have taken so long to see Podil.

Waiting for the funicular

So I rode the funicular back up to the top of the hill. Note to self – do not ever again ride that thing in the summer. They close it up and it is two minutes of torture.

After getting back into the fresh air, I was off to find the synagogue. Only after I found it did I realize I could not actually go inside, as I was quite inappropriately dressed. Ah well, that will be another time.

Then it was back for more relaxing, more American television (in English!) and movie recovery, as I accidentally deleted ALL of my movies the other day, when I was trying to delete ONE. I was able to recover some of them but not all of them.

In case anyone wonders why that was a big deal, it is for a couple of reasons: (1) I had more than 275 movies on my portable hard drive and (2) movies are life savers here, especially during the winter.

On another topic, after training today it was off to the train station to Khmelnitsky. Tomorrow it is off to a nearby castle/fortress, then for a few days in the Carpathians. Gotta take advantage of the nice weather and slow time of year to take a little vaca/r and r.

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