Water Museum

Posted by Amanda on April 13th, 2008

I had heard from several people about the Water Museum in Kyiv. It sounded like a place Kathryn might enjoy, so I arranged to go there with a Ukrainian sister from our branch.  Besides showing me where the museum was and helping with language barriers, she helped with the girls a lot. I was so hot, tired, and sweaty when we got home. Two girls and a stroller on the metro, and stairs is not ideal. I thought, if I only had one child this would be so much easier. But the next day I took Kathryn to enrichment with me and we had a “pee-pee’s coming” experience half way home on the metro which resulted in me carrying Kathryn and running a lot and I was much hotter, tireder, and sweatier than the previous day with 2 girls. Anyway…

At the Water Museum we were able to get a guide that spoke English and seeing that we had Kathryn and Amelia, she asked if we would like to just go to the kid area instead of the 40 minute tour. I said a resounding “yes!”.

So we spent the better part of an hour feeding/looking at/touching fish, and playing with bubbles. Kathryn had a splendid time. I had been telling her for a few days that we were going to a “special place”, so it was cute to hear her talk about the “special place”. Amelia was clingy because she was missing a nap, but some cheerios cheered her up towards the end.

I had been told about the largest toilet in Ukraine (or maybe the world, I’m not sure), so I was expecting something much larger than this:

A visit from President буш

Posted by Amanda on April 5th, 2008

Usually a trip for President Bush wouldn’t interest me all that much, but since he visited Kyiv and we live here, it was a little more exciting.  I don’t know or understand everything, but I am trying to keep up a little on what is going on here.  President Bush arrived on Monday night, and there was a demonstration all day Monday very near Darryl’s office.  In fact, they marched from the square up the street where his office is, so we have some pictures.  These are the people against Ukraine joining NATO – mostly old people and a few young students, Darryl said.  People from the Communist party and the Nationalist party.

 Click here to see some pictures of the actual visit, courtesy of a friend’s website.

Happy Spring

Posted by Amanda on March 23rd, 2008

  No, I’m not trying to be politically correct.  But we’re not celebrating Easter today, because in Ukraine they celebrate the Orthodox Easter, which happens to be April 27th this year, and we wanted to celebrate with them.  I do feel a little like an Easter Scrooge today, but it just seemed like we should celebrate with the rest of Ukraine.  I know it will be a huge holiday and I want to have the festive atmosphere, Ukrainian Easter eggs, etc. 

Cake Decorating However, we have been celebrating spring.  On Thursday night a friend of mine taught me and another friend about cake decorating.  I was a little hesitant because I haven’t really even frosted cakes successfully in the past.  But it was a lot of fun and my cake turned out way better than I would have expected.  I do feel it necessary to say that I did not do the flowers on the cake.  It was especially nice just to have time to do something like decorate a cake – to be able to concentrate and take my time on something. 

In thinking about the first day of spring I realized there aren’t any flowers or blossoms in Spring Flowers bloom yet that I can see.  So I had the brilliant idea (at least I thought it was) to make some out of my scrapbook paper.  I am so pleased with how they turned out.  Darryl knew right away some were tulips.  I don’t consider myself to be very artistic or crafty, so these flowers and the cake are pretty exciting.

Amelia's cute outfit Spring Flowers3 Spring flowers2

Here is also Amelia in what I thought was a really cute spring outfit.  So Happy Spring and Happy Easter!

Chernobyl Museum

Posted by Amanda on March 17th, 2008

 We had a great day Saturday, although unfortunately I have no pictures to document it.  We forgot to take the camera.  You can see the new photo gallery Darryl added on the left sidebar.  If you click on photo gallery, it may not work the first time, but it will work the second time.

I brought a couple of babysitters home with me from enrichment on Saturday morning.  At their recommendation, Darryl and I went to the Chernobyl Museum.  First we walked around that area of the city for an hour.  Not intentionally, we just couldn’t find it!  But we finally did, and now we’re not sure how we missed it in the first place.  It cost a whopping $1 to get in for each of us.  There was a tour that had just started, with a guide in Russian (or it could have been Ukrainian) and English.

It was very interesting, but I’m sure I won’t be able to write or remember everything.  So here are a couple of particular things I remember. 

In order to cover the reactor, they brought 15,000 young men to each give 2 minutes of work.  In exchange they would not have to serve the regular 2 year requirement in the army.  However, they weren’t told what exactly they were doing, that they would get radiation, etc.  So there were pictures of these guys joking and having fun. 

No one was told what happend until a few days after, in a very short, very vague statement that appeared in the newspaper, in small print at the bottom of the page.  Contrast that to the front page headline in the NY Times.

The government finally made a statement (the same found later in the newspaper), after Scandinavian countries reported abnormally high levels of radiation in their air. 

In the hallway of the musuem were many signs hanging from the ceiling.  They looked like big road signs or something.  I asked what they represented and the guide said they were all the names of towns and villages that no longer exist because of Chernobyl.  There were 76 in total.

Two or three days after the accident, people were told to evacuate.  There was a picture of an old woman carrying what she could with her:  an Easter cake and a cat. 

 I enjoyed seeing and hearing everything, and it made me eager to learn more about the subject. 

We went for hot chocolate afterwards.  I believe I have mentioned hot chocolate before, but I hadn’t had the real thing until now.  It is literally hot chocolate – like melted chocolate.  It is served in a glass with a spoon, and also a glass of water.  It was SO good!  I couldn’t even eat my whole thing, it was so rich (and things are rarely rich to me).  Darryl got dark and white chocolate, and I got mint chocolate.  Oh, chocolate will never be the same after living here.  Even the hot chocolate mix is richer, and I even mix it with more milk than the package says.