Sunday, September 6, 2009

Some things I don't want to forget.

-I saw a University of Hawaii t-shirt going up the metro escalator while I was going down. I was so close to shouting something to him, but that would have been painfully inappropriate.
-Last night I used beer-scented shampoo. There were kegs on the label.
-For breakfast a few days ago, Larisa (my host mom) brought me something white, lumpy, and semi-solid on a plate, about the size of a pack of cards. My instincts yelled "Mystery cheese! Prepare your taste buds!" and I took a brave bite. What slipped down my throat was the introduction to an elevated culinary existence. This was no mystery cheese to be gagged down, this was a luscious gift from the gods. It tasted like cream cheese, but sweeter. Almost like eating the inside of a cheesecake for breakfast, except less rich, so I could eat more without upsetting my stomach. I asked my host sister what it was and she said that it's cottage cheese for kids. Let me assure you, this was no cottage cheese, and if it's for kids then I never want to grow up.
-Last night I slept over at our head teacher's apartment. There weren't enough beds, so I shared the couch. Unfortunately, I got stuck with the outside half, so I woke up at least a dozen times in the night to prevent my numb body from sliding onto the floor. This isn't supposed to be a bad story. As I fell asleep, I could hear the neighbors below us having a party. No drunk commotion could be heard, though. Instead, I was lulled to sleep by the slow plink-plunk of drowsy jazz issuing through the floorboards. A singer's voice, with words I couldn't quite make out, sounded like a falling leaf, lazy and slow.

I used this afternoon to go for a walk on my own and explore the neighborhood. I ventured far down the main road (Lesi Ukrainki Blvd), detouring down side streets, trespassing on construction sites, and reading my book at a hidden playground. Back by my apartment is a quiet mental hospital with gray grounds to explore. Even though there is a busy road nearby, the small park retains a somber solitude, guarded by trees that seem more alive than the people. It's almost as if you can see between two worlds, the park and the street, but noise can't travel between them.



I was walking down the sidewalk and the police van in the picture above was heading toward me (Everybody drives on the sidewalks! What gives?). With my stone-cold-no-smiling Ukrainian face, I veered off to the side giving them plenty of room to drive by. But then they swerved toward me, so I starting heading to the other side of the sidewalk. They swerved toward me again, and I tried avoiding them again. After three or four attempts at running me down, I finally realized that they were doing it on purpose (I'm slow, but I can be taught). It also helped that when I walked by, the two policemen in the front seat were cracking up. It's not everyday that Ukrainian police try to run me over in their van.
On a side note, I must point out that all the Ukrainian police are young and really good looking. It's hard to take them seriously; a lot of them don't look much older than me. Maybe this is just their elite Abercrombie Squad...

Apartment balconies drip ivy and ooze flowers. 

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