Women’s Day Part II

Posted by Amanda on March 11th, 2008

A senior missionary couple lives near us, and attends the local branch.  We saw them last week, and Sister Lackey invited me to come to the branch’s Women’s Day celebration on Saturday.  I avidly agreed.

I met them at the metro stop one away from our stop, and we walked 5 minutes to the building.  That was the first thing that made me want to attend this branch – it is so close!  We walked into the kitchen and I saw little slices of bread with mayonaise (or some kind of spread) and large, orange caviar eggs.  Later, the plate that was served to each woman also included a slice of bread with raw fish on it.  I never planned to eat it (and didn’t have to because I left early to entertain some dinner guests we were having), but I was actually delighted that it was served to me – what culture!

As we waited for things to get started, Sister Lackey showed me around the building and we met the members coming.  So many women – at least 20!  It was so fun to see all the Ukrainian members.  A couple of them spoke very good English, and many others could say a few words.  I tried to talk to some of them, and it was so much fun.  That is the kind of thing I need to really be able to learn Russian. 

Then the program started.  All the men filed in (there were 5 Ukrainians, 4 young missionaries, and one senior missionary).  The branch president talked about how wonderful women are (at least that’s what I was told), and then they sang some songs.  They gave each sister a flower.  Three of the men sang a song that to me seemed to be with different words they had written, appropriate for the occasion.  The women really got into this one – clapping to the beat, laughing, etc.  I couldn’t hardly understand a thing, but it was a lot of fun to watch everything. 

Then the children came out – 4 girls.  Each said a little poem or something, then they all sang a song together.  One girl (about 10 years old) did a belly dance!  I’m not really into that sort of thing, but I could tell she was very good.  Someone had painted pictures of 6 women (members of the branch), and we had to guess who they were.  They had a great time guessing, and again, it was so much fun to see everyone enjoying themselves so much.

 I was sad to have to leave before the activity was over.  I realized the experience I have had so far in Ukraine has not been exactly what I envisioned culturally.  Now that I’ve had a little taste, I want more!

Women’s Day Part I

Posted by Amanda on March 9th, 2008

March 8th is Women’s Day in many countries, including Ukraine.  I didn’t realize what a big holiday it is until Katya told me she had school off both Friday and Monday, and we found out Darryl has work off Monday! 

One might think this holiday is kind of like Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s Day.  But Darryl’s coworker pointed out that it is actually much more.  This coworker said besides his mother and wife, he needs to recognize sisters, aunts, female cousins, coworkers, basically any woman that you know on this holiday. 

I went outside shopping on Friday and there was such a festive mood at the market.  I had a great time just walking around.  Usually there are people selling flowers right at the metro entrance.  Well, this day (and for the rest of the weekend) there many times more people selling flowers.  They lined the walkway the whole way from the metro to the end of the market.  Men were lined up buying flowers!  And everyone was buying cakes.  It was just so fun to watch.

It seems to me that holidays are such a big deal here.  Not that they aren’t back home, but it is different.  There isn’t as much buildup (at least that I can see – so I think that means less commercialization).  But there is such a feeling of celebration on the holiday, and it is really a big deal. 

New Food and a Joke

Posted by Amanda on March 3rd, 2008

On Saturday Darryl and I went to Costco, I mean Metro Cash and Carry.  It is just like Costco!!!  We had a babysitter come watch Kathryn and Amelia, and our friend Tom (an embassy person) took us to the store.  You need a card/membership to get in (which Tom has), and you also need a car to get all the food/stuff home (which Tom also has).  So we are very grateful for his assistance!

img_1548-large.jpgWe are trying to actually have some food storage (our food storage is currently in storage).  I am so funny!  In fact, let me write something I said the other day that was really funny.  Darryl was looking on iTunes at the movies you can rent.  He was looking at Westerns.  He said, “Maybe we can watch a Western tonight.”  I looked at the computer screen and saw “The Hunt for Red October” and said, “That must be an Eastern.”  Anyway, we bought lots of food and it feels so good to have it.  We also love that we have a storage closet in our apartment.  Next to the puree (instant mashed potatoes!) in this picture are some jars of peanut butter.  There are different flavors of peanut butter!  One is sweet – very tasty, one is dessert (different than the sweet one), and one is regular.  I like the sweet one, and it is good for baking.  Darryl likes the regular.  All are creamy, no nuts.  I think that’s for the best.  We also bought four folding chairs.  Now we don’t have to use the computer chair and arm chair when we have people over for dinner.

Valentine Celebration

Posted by Amanda on February 18th, 2008

Darryl got home from work about 8pm on Valentine’s Day.  He called to see if Kathryn was still up (which she was).  He walked in with a red heart balloon for her.  From the way she squealed and ran around with the balloon, he concluded it had been a good idea!  Darryl and I had already planned to go out to dinner Saturday night (but he also brought tulips and a chocolate candy bar for me.)  Later that evening Amelia took her first steps!  She took 2 and 3 steps, and has done so a few times each day since.  She was 2 days shy of being 9 months old. 

Saturday we had a couple of the ILP teachers come over to babysit.  Darryl had made a reservation at a restaurant recommended by one of the partners at KPMG.  He ended up eating there twice during the week for work things, before we went there!  So by then he could recommend it himself.

It is a French restaurant, very small (about the size of our living room), and is on Andrievskiy Sputsk, a very old street lined with souvenir vendors.  That street alone is on my list of places to go to in Kyiv.  I’m always glad Darryl speaks Russian, but the woman offered us English menus which was nice.  The partner that recommended the place mentioned that one reason it is so nice is there are no TVs in the restaurant.  Even Mcdonalds has 3 or 4 big TVs.  The only thing I would change is the smoking.  By the time we left it was getting to me, and when we got home my sweater was extremely smokey. 

While we were still discussing the menu, I saw the server bring out someone else’s food.  To me it looked like raw meat shaped into a hamburger (without bun), but with a raw egg on top.  I thought surely this was on its way to some oven at the other side of the restaurant.  Not so. 

We shared a salad – pretty much a novelty because lettuce is very expensive and bag salads are non-existent.  It was delicious and included duck meat.  I have to say I really like duck – I had it a few times in China.  I got a steak shashlik (shish-kabob) which was very tasty, and homemade puree (which is mashed potatoes).  We also had carpaccio as an appetizer.  It was quite tasty – especially when we sprinkled it with lemon juice.  The whole meal was very delicious, and just as nice was not having to feed Amelia, jump up for something for Kathryn, wipe up the spills, and especially do the dishes (by hand).