It appears I'm currently collecting pictures of Will holding a watermelon. I missed an opportunity during the training seminar, but I'll try to be more on top of it! Surely watermelon-holding is a skill that should be cultivated, and one day perhaps he'll graduate to something even more exciting.
Anyhow, after the training (and some truly delicious but slightly spendy ice cream) we met up with Tina and she showed us how to get to her village. It was only about an hour away (opposite of my direction home, of course), and we enjoyed watching the boys manage to fall asleep in some truly uncomfortable-looking positions. From the bus stop, it was a quick 5 minute walk, and the heat was already considerably less than in Uzghorod. Tina's village is nestled in the foothills, and has a nice river that runs through it.
We arrived to a warm welcome by Tina's parents and brother, and met her brother's girlfriend who was also visiting. Tina's home is pretty typical for a smaller village. It is compact, full of touches that make a house a home. It also had VERY comfortable beds. Along with chickens, a rooster, two dogs (including the FRIENDLIEST dog ever...I was tempted to kidnap her!), two cows and pigs. In a more traditional set-up, the house was actually several buildings. The main house had 4 rooms and a washroom with a washing machine. The toilet was outdoors, and it was one of the nicest I've seen - it even had a light inside for at night! Across from the main building was the kitchen/storage room, which was also attached to the barn. Adjacent to the two buildings was another little building (perhaps a "summer kitchen" but not yet fully converted), the garden and outhouse.
The next morning, after a delicious breakfast of noodles and sauce, we decided to head down to the grocery store. Tina's parents were graciously preparing "Shashlyk" (like shishkabobs on steroids: meat marinaded all day, then placed on a giant skewer, spaced out with onions and salo) and fire-roasted potatoes. Hence the watermelon. Here's a picture of our band of merry travelers as we set off:
And a small peep into the store as purchases were being made:
Tina's family just got internet a few weeks ago at the house, and it was heartwarming to see her family get a Skype call from their volunteer. He's been gone for 5 years, but her parents absolutely lit up at the sight of him. He was never officially part of their house, but they well and truly adopted him. He was full of good advice, and it was good to "get to know" him.
A while later, it was decided that it was definitely warm enough to go for a swim in the river. So we put on our swimsuits and headed out.
There's a secret - or at least one must be a local to know it- spot where the water suddenly shifts from 6 inches to at least 8 feet deep. We found the bend, and the river was pretty devoid of people, at least at first. Tina and I went in to cool off, and then I placed myself in the shade. I suppose I should be attempting to "fix" my sunburn, but why chance another one??
After a few blissful hours we headed back, and were allowed to help with assembling the skewers.
It's always a little awkward to help in the kitchen, or anytime someone wants us to cut anything. They think they're keeping it easy by asking us to peel potatoes - because who can mess up THAT? - but really, we're just a constant disappointment. Or a really good laugh.
Because, of course they don't use potato peelers - they use a knife. And I'm sure your mother always said "NEVER cut towards yourself!! Always away!" Ukrainian mothers find this perplexing advice. Knives only work well to peel towards yourselves, and who even needs a cutting board when your cupped hand will work just fine?! Honestly...
I did pretty well with the tomatoes though.
Dinner was absolutely scrumptious, and we had white homemade wine for dinner. It's the first actual white (more of a gold) wine that I'd see, and was on par with a decent Muscato. It went very well with the greasy-crisp meat and potatoes. Because, one must also melt salo down to pour OVER the meat and potatoes in the bowl.
You can NEVER have enough salo!
We finished the evening by playing Catchphrase (so impressive to play with people where English is their 2nd, 3rd or 4th language!) and had a lot of fun. I also slept so well, despite a few interruptions from the dogs and chickens. After another wonderful breakfast and some downtime, we said our goodbyes and headed out. Our bus eventually came, and I was home in the early afternoon. A wonderful way to spend the weekend!
So, I've been having quite the ordeal with trying to register to live legally. However, after much back in forth, several runarounds and an extra trip, I finally received my Posvidka - my residence document. HOWEVER, this has turned out to be merely the tip of the iceberg. Because I need to get my passport stamped. But apparently that can't happen UNTIL I get my Posvidka stamp in my town of residence and then have to turn in a copy of that AND my passport for several days to them.
Which means I have no form of identification? Pretty not-cool...
Of course, I've already passed the 10-day deadline of getting the stamp (because they insisted they wouldn't start the process until they got a certain superfluous document, but then after I turned it in and waited, it turned out that they'd already created the Posvidka after all 5 days previous...what?!) after the Posvidka was processed - NOT picked up. Although apparently they COULD have provided me with a letter certifying this date was different. However, now I have to pay a 500 UAH fine. Well, I don't, but I'm still irked.
Now, this presumes that I can even GET my Posvidka stamped because apparently they don't know who owns the building, since I am apparently kind of subletting? And they need the owner to be there and to provide certain documents.
Are you confused yet?
My Director said he'll take care of it tomorrow...I hope so because I'm off to Lviv for the weekend!
I'll be spending Monday there too because we have it as a vacation day due to it being Ukraine's day of Independence from the USSR.
So there's that.
Hope all is well,