Friday, June 5, 2009

One more week in Chernihiv

(1864-1913) with my PCV buddies Fran and Jud and my language teacher, Tamila. It is only a few blocks from the city center and is such a lovely place. I had been there before by myself but wanted to go back with a translator. Besides walking through his home and beautiful gardens, we also went in the modern, Soviet built museum where there was an exhibit of children’s art from around the Chernihiv oblast (an oblast is like our state). Fran, who at some point in her life worked in cultural arts organizations in D.C, was so impressed by the work and kept trying to think how she could arrange a display in the U.S. Always thinking (or maybe it is speculating), that’s us PCV types.
Afterwards the three of us (Tamila had to take off) stopped at a thrift store on the way home where I got a couple of much needed summer blouses (yes, they really are blouses), and then bought something to drink at McDonald’s so Jud could use the WiFi there. One of the three places in town with functioning WiFi. A nice day.
Sunday I went to an amazing classical piano concert in a room in the Fine Arts Museum (which is an old building that use to be a school). It only cost about 60 cents in U.S. dollars, there were about 100 people there, and I was so close I had a great view of the keyboard. I did not know who the performer was, but turns out he is a famous Ukrainian pianist, and it was probably the best classical piano performance I have ever been to. It really blew me away. He played for two hours straight with no breaks, just talking in between pieces about the history of the composer (in Russian, but that is what I was told). He played two pieces by Chopin and pieces by Listz and Grieg (I’m not sure I am spelling their names correctly). It was quite an experience.
It’s Friday now, and I am at the internet cafĂ© with my computer so I will go ahead and post this short blog. Not in the mood to write more. Am cooking dinner at my host family using the wild rice I brought from Minnesota. Should be an interesting experience….
This week we had two current Peace Corps volunteers staying with us at my host family. Kind of crowded, but fun to hang out with them and get lots of inside info. They’ve been here for a year, are posted in a city of 50,000 way over on the eastern border. Very depressed town, high HIV rate, high unemployment. They are doing good work, though, and have made some good friends. The woman of the couple is very fluent—I was impressed with how well she could talk with my family. I’ve been feeling a little depressed about how much language I have learned, but my teacher keeps reassuring me that I am at the level I should expect to be at this point. We have our language test this week—yikes!
Well, here’s this post. One more week here and then a few days in Kyiv. I plan to get another post in before I take off because there might be a delay after that, since I have NO IDEA where I will be.
Love to you all.

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