Monday, October 11, 2010
Ukrainian Odds & Ends
Even though the wedding was the prime focus, I did end up making the rounds to everybody's houses. That's always fun. They only need the slightest excuse to crack open a bottle of vodka. Me, I was getting used to drinking it for breakfast. So in addition to the nuptials, I did take other pictures. Here are some of them:
This is Cousin Vasily and his very pretty (and extremely nice) wife, Oksana. Yes, it's true; many of my cousins have made a concerted effort to marry girls named Oksana - except for Cousin Arsen and Cousin Bogdan. They both married women named Lesa. Speaking of that, here's Arsen, Lesa, Andri, Volodya and Orest:
This is the best of several shots I took even though Andri wasn't looking anywhere near the camera. Here's me with my buddy Orest:
He's quite a fellow. Since my last visit, he's learned how to walk and how to be REALLY LOUD. Here he is at one of his louder moments:
Speaking of young folks, here are some new additions. This is Marika and Roman's (sister and Roman-in-law to Ivas, the guy who just got hitched) son, Maxim:
Cute kid. Marika's mom, Olya, told me that Marika almost died during delivery. But she didn't. So there. Next we have Cousin Bogdan's son, Yura:
That's his wife, Lesa there with him. Yura was actually born on my last day of the first trip to Peremyliv. When I left, he didn't even have a name. Here are Bogdan and Lesa with Yura's grandpa, the notoriously taciturn Cousin Hennik:
Ivas and I were driving through the village and came upon Cousin Volodya (Cousin Roman's son) out driving a horsecart of sorts:
It's funny. When people see that a good deal of farm work is still done with horses and carts and whatnot, they seem to think it's really charming - at first. Then they just get used to it, because nobody's doing it to be colorful, it's just the way they've done things for a long time. Me, I don't even notice horsecarts anymore - unless a relative is holding the reins:
It seems that I made a friend during my stay. His name is Kuchma, after the former terribly corrupt Ukrainian president. Cousin Arsen got him from his Igor-in-law who found him in a box by the side of the road:
I liked him because he was friendly and fearless.
And this guy here is by no means new to the world. He's Cousin Arsen's dog, Bari. Sure, he's 16 years young, missing an eye (and he's blind in the eye he has), deaf, almost toothless, but he still soldiers on in defense of the yard:
Well, it was quite a visit. I went for days and days without speaking English and that was just fine. But the time came for me to meet the train in Ternopil to take me to stupid Odessa. Cousin Ivan's Igor-in-law was nice enough to give me a lift. Cousin Vasily and his wife Oksana joined us:
Notice how everybody is bundled up? Well, that's because it was really cold! It was around 35 degrees. Cripes! I did get my train and thanks to the fact that I bought my ticket ahead of time, I got a place on a sleeping car which meant sleep. Yeah, the trip down to Odessa this spring was the worst. But this time it was really quite fine. Odessa itself wasn't too terrible. I still don't like it at all, but ıt was bearable. This is a shop called Mister Dog, because why not?
Here are the famed Odessa Steps. Yes, I know that they're more dramatic when taken from the bottom. But there was no way in hell I was gonna do that, because it meant that I'd have to climb back up them.
And lastly, this is the kind of urban blight that's all over town at the moment. Thank you, taggers!
And so I went off to the airport, got hassled by customs dweebs (again!) for having champagne and flew the hell away. Lord, this country sucks. But my relatives rock.