Like home, summer is over, school has started and the weather is a bit cooler, especially at night. All the schools start on Sept. 1 (First Bell Day)- elementary, high school and universities— it makes it easy for everyone! The markets have had the school supplies on sale since July – like home.
|Street vendors with school supplies|
|The students were outside cleaning the school yard three days before school started.|
|Young students, dressed in school uniforms, singing for my organization.|
I LOVE the pom-poms in the girls' hair!
|We had an activity sesson for these students- a beading day. The children made necklaces, bracelets, rings, ponytail holders, etc. The boys and the girls all had a blast! FEEL FREE TO SEND MORE BEADS from MICHAEL'S arts and craft stores!!|
|Aliona modeling her new necklace!!|
|Gala, helping with Roman and Nikita|
On Sunday, Sept. 4, the Luhansk cooking club had an end-of-summer barbecue in a park at the edge of a small town of Alexandrovsky, a very small suburb of Luhansk. Because it is illegal to barbecue and to drink in city parks and in parks around apartment buildings, if Ukrainians want to have an outdoor barbecue party, they go to outside the city to a river or a lake or the woods. We took a city bus from the center of town and about 30 minutes later arrived at the park.
|The small road into the park- just 100 meters from the bus stop.|
|PCV Cary (green shirt) and Kurt (white shirt) help Vlad light the fire for our shaslhlik!|
My Ukrainian friends are very proud of their barbequed meat- similar to our shish-kabobs- but a bit different because for Ukrainians, the ONLY proper meat for barbeque is pork! I have made barbequed chicken for my Ukrainian friends-which they like- but it ISN’T Barbeque – really!!! Therefore, our Ukrainian friends were in charge of the meat, and the rest of us brought the usual picnic food--- potato salad, brownies, raw veggies, sodas, and other beverages.
|Dr. Yuriy, one of the shashlik chefs, supervising|
|Dr. Yuriy and Dr. Andrew showing off the final, ready-to-eat, shashlik|
We had a wonderful time and I must admit that the meat, prepared by our friends, was delicious. My friends, all young doctors finishing their residencies here in Luhansk, did a wonderful job. The pork “hunks” were marinated in lemon juice, a bit of vinegar, onions, spices, and KIWIs….. And…no vegetables were allowed on the skewers that had the meat. And the idea of skewering vegetables was a “bit weird” for my friends! The pork was fabulous. I am going to try this when I am home!!!
|Some of the group ready to enjoy the picnic|
After the picnic, we tossed a football around. We taught Dr. Yuriy and Vlad how to toss the football, too!
|PCV Cary (green shirt) showing Dr. Yuriy how to hold the football|
|PCVs Kurt (white shirt) and Tim (black pants) show Vlad how to throw the football|
|Dr. Yuriy throwing a football for the first time|
While the boys played football, some of the girls walked to the other end of the park, where the old mansion of Alexandrovsky is located. The park where we had our picnic was once the orchard for the mansion. While the mansion is now in a very sad state of disrepair, photographically it is very very cool!
If you have a spare 20 Million Ukrainian Hryvna (pronounced grevna)/$2.8 million US, you can purchase this estate. And then have fun restoring it! But.... please note....
YOU WILL HAVE TO MOVE THE GAS LINE, which sits in the front yard and runs through the entire property........
Above ground gas lines, such as you see above, are everywhere in Ukraine.
The end-of-summer BBQ was great.... not much left over for the poor praying mantis that arrived a bit late to the party.
It is wonderful to start the fall this year and feel so “lost” ; this time last year everything was so new and intimidating. The symphony season starts next week; we start the season with a recital by young singers training for the opera and then a Brahms symphony. The concert is $8 well spent for terrific music!
Work, shopping, symphony, trains, cooking,English lessons, – everything is so familiar now! I have even been stopped on the street and been asked for directions; and I can do it, all in Russian!!! I guess I am “fitting in”.
Enjoy your backyard barbecues at home this fall!!! It is such a treat to watch football (or US Open Tennis), have a beer and grill all in your own back yard!!
All the best to everyone.