Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Today was a monumental day.

A man asked me for directions to the metro. In Russian. I answered.

On a slightly less mind-blowing note, strange things have been happening to me.
Number one: I took a shower/bath with HOT water last night! Yes folks, our building got the hot water switched on yesterday! No more boiled water required for showers. At least for a while.

Number two: The power went out around 11pm and I felt like I was back in San Jose, a little kid excited to light candles. One of the cats got a bit too curious and burned its tail on the candle. The smell of burning cat is not a pleasant one. Usually one's pet catching on fire is not a humorous matter, but for some reason it struck us as hilarious. Lesya and I went to bed laughing in the flickering candlelight. 

Number three: Lynsie (one of the two girls I teach with) and I found ourselves at the head teacher's apartment at 10pm the other night. Curfew. And we were still an hour away from our homes. We caught a bus back to the metro, but in the dark we couldn't tell exactly where to get off. Fortunately, an older Ukrainian woman (around 60, white hair, well put-together) looked at us as she disembarked and said, "Palat Sportu?" That was the metro we were looking for, so we literally jumped off the moving bus before the doors closed. On the sidewalk, we wanted to thank the woman who helped us find the right bus stop, so we walked by her and waved "Spasibo!" Instead of just ignoring us like an ordinary Ukrainian, however, she stopped us on the sidewalk. Lynsie and I both had backpacks on, and the woman patted our backpacks and started chattering. I thought she was lecturing us about being targets for pickpockets (backpacks are just asking for it) so I explained that we were English teachers and had to carry supplies to the school today. She didn't pause to listen to me, but just continued chattering away. She finally paused and pulled out a package from her purse. She tore the wrapping off it and pulled out two fat pads of lined paper. Smiling and speaking again, she handed one to each of us. More unintelligible chattering again and some "Me-You" gestures. The woman then grabbed us each by the head, planted a big kiss on our cheeks, and sent us packing to the metro. Ten minutes later, we saw her again and she didn't even smile. We still don't know what happened.

1 comment:

  1. Alena, your writing is absolutely stunning. If prose can be poetry, this is poetry. Rich, vibrant, funny, tender, and entertaining to the core. Keep up the good work, my YPIT.



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