Make hay while the sun shines, hang your laundry then too, and blog while you’re taking a night off for Health and Welfare reasons.
As you might infer, I had a fairly epic Friday. We began at Amy and Sheryle’s house where we (plus Roch) watched a video in French about changing the world, from the perspectives of people involved in various CWY programs. We had a lot of fun trying to speak French afterwards.
Later I went out with Roma and his buddies. Our favourite café was closed, and all the discos in Ostroh were closed, for one reason or another (often renovations – remember, this is a university town and all the students are gone for the summer). Just before midnight we walked 45 minutes to another village on a stone road with no streetlamps. This was actually a good thing; not only was the trip more exciting that way, but we were also treated to an impressive meteor shower. There weren’t as many meteors as I’ve seen at other times, but the ones we did see were practically fireballs.
We finally reached the village and found some acquaintances outside the village store, so we sat with them and had some vodka. By “some” I mean “too much.” I was almost speaking Ukrainian, if that’s any indication. I remember one fellow in particular was a bit of a nut. “Vil, don’t listen he. Him is very drink.”
The disco was interesting – you pay 25 cents cover to get in, and they don’t serve alcohol – or anything, for that matter. You’re expected to buy what you want at the store and consume it outside. So we danced and stuff. It was okay. The real value of the night was in the walking to and from – and the walk back was surreal ecstasy. We got home around four.
This morning I felt like I’d been run over by a train. It’s been an “abbreviated day,” which sounds a heck of a lot nicer than any phrase involving “hangover.” I’m still a little off my feed, and it’s ten o’clock in the evening. Tomorrow I’m going to take it easy and write a letter to my grandmother, among other things.
Also (knock on wood), I’ve actually started writing again, to the point where I’m searching for more looseleaf. I can’t believe it; it’s been years since I wrote compulsively like this. I’ll take a bit of ridicule for writing in public any day of the week; it just feels so awesome to actually get something written. Creatively I’ve been in a black hole for the past few years. I think I might have been there because I didn’t see the value in my own narrative voice, and I just tried to copy others (in a sense everything is copying, but this was to the point where I lost any honesty or enthusiasm for what I was doing). I credit NSCAD for helping to teach me that I have to be myself in my art, no matter what the medium.
Today I went to the cybercafé and did not get much done, though I had a great chat with Tanya. It was great fun to get caught up on all the news (ie: good-natured gossip) concerning our mutual friends. I laughed a lot. And without going into specifics, it was really refreshing to see that we were of similar mind on a few things, and that these viewpoints were reached independently. Not that there was anything particularly important at stake (at least not from my perspective, as there’s a major ocean and six time zones between us – it’s almost as bad as being on opposite sides of Canada!), but the people and the situations had been on my mind more than a few times since I’ve arrived here, mostly in those little moments where you think of some little thing that reminds you of the people you know at home.
I also talked to Sophie, who’s making progress on a video that will document the last program. I can’t wait to see it. Also, Carla invited me to play soccer-baseball tomorrow in the Commons, provided that I use a private jetplane.
I think coming home is going to be a huge shock to my system. Fortunately, that’s many months from now.
Two weeks from now, we’re going to take a group trip to Kyiv. I’m terribly excited for this, and I’ve heard we might get to see a football match. I’ve never really been to one, unless you count my little cousins’ neighbourhood soccer games in Dartmouth. Not to mention that it will be Independence Day (August 24) while we’re there. I think we might also meet some politicians and tour the parliament. We are supposed to be on an e-governance program, after all.
September 1st inches ever closer. I’m trying not to expect too much, but observations from everyone around me tell of a completely different social world. I think it will mark another turning point. For now, I have to say that the walk to that village disco was a defining moment for me. It was one of those profound experiences where you think, “Wow, I’m actually here.” Ukrainian jokes, a stone road, the shadows of beautiful trees, a sky full of stars, and a meteor shower. It’s an indelible imprint.
(Sunday turned out to be another awesome day. I was out for a walk to pick up my plug adapter from Lee's house when I ran into somebody I thought I knew on the street (Yura, but I thought it was Sasha.) Well, it turned out he was going to see Sasha (long blonde hair, went to Rocky last year), so why not tag along? So I did, and I met Anya and Tanya and Yura's girlfriend Natasha. We celebrated Anton's birthday in a park overlooking the valley. A very nice evening. And to think it all happened just because I asked Yura, "Do I know you?" I love this country!)