Sunday, December 6, 2009

Catching up on details.

I am knitting a scarf. It was pretty cool until I realized that the stitches are way too tight, causing it to stand up like a collar when I try to wrap it around my neck. But I am going to have a hard time getting rid of this semi-ugly collar-scarf because of the things I knit into it:

1) Sitting in "my chair" at home, talking to my sister and knitting with both cats asleep on my lap.

2) Hanging out with George while Lesya took a two-hour shower. George, sitting at the computer using an online translator to help him find the words in English. Me, trying to guess what word he was looking for. And knitting.

3) Riding the line. This is what I/we do when we need to get out of the house but there's nothing to do. In America, this is the situation where I would head to the library to read, nap, or just sit. Here, there's not really a warm, dry, free place where I can hang out and waste time. So we head down to the metro, weasel ourselves onto a bench, and ride up and down the line. We have unlimited metro passes, so it's free. It's dry. People-watching doesn't get any better than the Ukrainian metro. Riding the line encourages exploration. Sometimes I go alone and just listen to my music. Sometimes I put my headphones in without turning on my music, just so creepers won't bother me. Sometimes I just sit and listen to everything. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I knit.

4) I spend a lot of time with Camille. She is hilarious in ways that I am not, and helps me forget to worry about the little things. She is my riding-the-line companion. Sometimes, if we have good seats, I tell her to wake me up at our stop. So far, she hasn't left me asleep on the metro, and I am very thankful for that. One time, we jumped off at the Hydropark stop, one of very few stops that aren't underground. It was one of those perfect autumn days--crisp air, leaves blanketing the floor, all sounds muffled. Hydropark is an island in the middle of the Dnipro river, and I hadn't been down to the river yet, so this was my official introduction. We had no idea which way to go, so we set off down a quiet path through the thin woods, and eventually ended up at the water's edge. I stuck my finger in the water, and it didn't fall off. (The water is only radioactive at the bottom. Thanks, Chernobyl!) We sat on a ledge overlooking the river, with the gold domes of the Lavra on the opposite bank. Whenever anybody walked by, we pretended that they were giving us the Your-Ovaries-Will-Freeze-If-You-Sit-On-Anything-Cold! lecture. We shared headphones, listening to our favorite song. We talked. We listened. We sang. We knit. We got out a camera to snap a photo, but stopped. It was more than a scene, it was a situation. Too perfect for a camera.

In other news, today is December 6th. Since I got here in August, I have done my laundry three times. Count: one, two, three. I am strangely proud of that. It's not as dirty as it sounds, I promise.

Did I mention that one of our cats has a dreadlock? A real, legitimate dreadlock on its chin. Not my favorite thing.


  1. Alena, you've got to be careful about entrusting friends to wake you up. I remember riding an over-crowded bus in Brazil one time with several missionary companions. I was standing in the crowded aisle, resting my head on my arm, and fell asleep. My buddies kindly woke me up--by shouting at me from the outside of the bus as it pulled away! Took me at least one stop, maybe two, to push my way to the back of the bus and get off. When I caught up with them they were still laughing. So was I. We still laugh about that when we get together.
    Love, Dad


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