Cliff Gardner

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I took advantage of my school being quarantined and went all over Ukraine in the last week. First I went to Konotop (a city of 90,000 north of Kyiv) and visited Jessica from my training cluster for a few days, then spent a day walking around in Kyiv hanging out and waiting for my night train back to Nikolaev, then I hopped on an early morning bus to Odessa (about three hours away) and spent some time with seven other volunteers at a "meet your neighbors" Peace Corps event designed to help us meet other pcv's in the region, and now I'm home with no school until Monday. It was all really awesome, but by the time I got back to my site it had snowed a foot and a half! I'm really glad for my Yak Trax (little snow shoe things that wrap around my boots) because they've kept me from falling about 200,000 times in the last day or so.

Oh, and since it's snowing, I've noticed something else really awesome about Ukraine. See, people here walk pretty much everywhere they want to go unless the weather prohibits it, and no, 18 inches of snow doesn't prohibit it. That means they often take their toddlers with them, and they're sometimes at the age where they're too heavy to carry but not steady enough on their feet to walk a block without falling a lot and hurting themselves despite being wrapped in every piece of clothing in the closet. The solution is really simple. Many Ukrainian parents just set the little guys on sleds and drag them with a string wherever they're going. The visual struck me as really funny at first but honestly I can't think of a better solution to the getting around problem, so at this point I just applaud the creativity and I think it's really very cute.

One more update on my egg addiction. I'm seriously considering just cutting out the middle man and buying a chicken and a hen, sticking them in my pantry, pouring some read wine into their dish and putting on my Purple Rain album. I'm all about efficiency. OH, and I got a huge package from my parents containing books and curtains--so mom and dad win! Kristen and David also win for sending me a postcard with a giant dog on the cover. Yay for mail!


  • When I was visiting my friend Johannes in Sweden (maybe you met him, he was at WU for a semester), who was an au pair in Sweden but from Germany, to take the youngest son to his school, he'd take him on a little sled! I definitely wish I had had those Yak Trax things when I was in Sweden that weekend.

    By Anonymous melissa, at 11:50 AM  

  • I'm so glad to hear that your school has a clean bill of health now and that you can go back to work! I used to own 6 chickens and it takes some time before they actually begin laying eggs (and you don't need the rooster unless you want to fertilize those eggs). But in the time it takes them to mature enough to begin laying, they are absolutely adorable. I think its a very wise investment! (and the eggs will taste better than anything you can buy!)

    By Anonymous sharl, at 5:46 PM  

  • It keeps snowing here, but nothing is really sticking. If it is going to stay this cold, I would like it to make it worth my health. I <3 traveling.

    By Blogger Paved In Gold, at 7:09 PM  

  • A chicken and a hen? I don't get it.

    And, if you bribe your students, maybe they will pull you around on a sled. You're kinda like a little kid, so it makes sense to me.

    By Blogger magic, and with love from Sam,, at 9:02 PM  

  • If you REALLY want to be efficient...Marvin Gaye. You can't fail there...

    By Blogger Natascha Nugget, at 11:26 AM  

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