I feel like I’ve been slacking on the blog posting – I promise to do better and blog more! I feel like so much has happened since my arrival post! I am fully adjusted from the jetlag (thank God!) and have explored some more. I can definitely cross getting lost off my list of things to do in Kyiv as I got lost trying to find a building at my campus and wandered around the area for about an hour. At least I got some great pics out of it!
This afternoon marked the beginning of one of many exploration days (tomorrow will be number 2 as Kaley, another Fulbrighter named Luke, and I plan to have a “photo day” in the heart of the city). Kaley and I went to one of the museums next door to our apartment building, the Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko Museum of Art. There was tons to see from Byzantine pieces to works from Japan, Turkey and Iran. The most remarkable thing about the museum wasn’t its exhibits though, it was who we saw there. Apparently, this is the place to be if you’re getting married. We saw 4 different wedding parties taking pictures and we were only there for about an hour and a half!
After the museum, we wandered across the street to Taras Shevchenko park to people watch and take pictures. Brilliant idea on our part. While walking around the beautiful park and eating some really yummy ice cream, we saw children running around at the playground, old men playing chess, cards and dominoes, a fundraiser for stray animals (Kaley and I both bought something), and children being led around on ponies. Wait, wait…ponies? Yup, that’s right. If you’re in the mood for a miniature horse ride, then head on over to Taras Shevchenko park. Ponies not your thing? That’s ok, you can also rent a big wheel type cart or one of those little Jeeps we all loved so much as kids (sadly, there were no Barbie ones). Just another day in the park, I guess.
After getting over my initial amusement with the ponies and the big wheels, it was time to check out the rest of what the park had to offer. Fittingly there is a huge statue of Taras Shevchenko in the center, right across from the university named after him. While wandering, Kaley and I made some new friends, too. We started taking pictures of the gentlemen playing chess and cards and a few of the men came over to talk to us. One thing I am definitely learning how to get better at is communicating despite a language barrier. This typically involves lots of gestures and pointing but it always works out for the best. This time, we were able to exchange names, get their blessing to take pictures and shake hands without much of a language problem.
Tomorrow I will post about our photo day adventure – till then, pro-shya-váy (bye) and dyá-koo-yu (thank you) for reading!