December 31st, 2008 â€“ New Years Eve
Jess tells me that New Years Eve is a pretty big deal in Ukraine. This morning, over a breakfast of coffee and peruschkey (a totally tasty poppy see laden bread. Not poppy seeds like we see on bagels here in the states. Almost paste like and really really delicious) I asked Jess what time the festivities would begin. She said some time between 5 and 7pm. I followed up with a question asking how late all the partying would go. Jess responded â€œOh, I think this will basically be a 48 hour party.â€
Prior to the party, Jess is going to make some Ukrainian â€˜browniesâ€™ which she says are a bit more like cake. I will most likely chop some more wood. Thereâ€™s still a lot left to be done.
The finished â€˜browniesâ€™ complete with cute little Christmas scene made of candies I brought over with me.
Ukraine is a â€˜traditionalâ€™ country in regards to the role of the sexes. Itâ€™s a bit of a difficult thing to get used to. At dinner the men sit and the women run around serving. At one point on Tuesday, Larissa actually hand fed Volodimir some food. Thatâ€™s their culture, though itâ€™s a bit strange for me. Itâ€™s also awkward because I want to help clean up, but doing so would be pretty much uncouth.
Last night Volodimir tried to give me a hat he made. Normally, Iâ€™m not opposed to receiving gifts of any kind, but this particular hat was made of a disobedient dog that the family killed for eating chickens.
It was a little strange to wear a dog carcass. But it really was an epic hat huh? Darn it. I should have willingly taken it back to the states.
Interesting aside about animals in Ukraine. Back in the 30â€™s there was a horrible famine in Ukraine. Lenin wasnâ€™t too pleased with Ukraine and he took away all the food from Ukraine. The people were forced to hunt for food and essentially ate all the wildlife. For this reason, itâ€™s extremely rare to see any large wild animals. All the meat that appears on the table comes from livestock. Later, Inna told me that there were really three of these famine genocides that took place. Huge percentages of the population perished. I feel so foolish for not knowing that these famine genocides ever took place. Iâ€™m going to try and do some more research on it. Iâ€™ll post what I learn in a future feature.
Itâ€™s about 3:15pm here and itâ€™s overcast. At night it is so absurdly dark. I hope we have a clear night here so Iâ€™ll be able to stargaze. Itâ€™s been snowing a lot, which Jess says is not always the case. Iâ€™m somewhat glad for the snow because itâ€™s so beautiful here with everything blanketed in white. Unfortunately, my boots never seem to truly dry out and my feet have been perpetually freezing.