Pink Coffee Snails and Cheesy Georgian Food

As mentioned in my last post, I was in Kyiv last week for my Regional Orientation with seven other co-fellows from Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia.  What a group of countries that most folks have never planned a trip to see! There is something I find quite exciting in exploring a city I’ve never really considered, and eating food I’ve never even thought of.  This week afforded me both.

My first night in Kyiv, four weeks ago when I arrived, did not leave me with the best impression of the city, as it was all too much a jolt to my senses.  But now I am able to see beauty where I previously did not, and that is a good landing to reach on Acculturation Mountain.   Three times, colleagues and I walked the distance between our hotel and America House, about 2 miles, and got to see the jumble of shops, hotels, churches, and restaurants that populate the city center.

Melanie, Nick, and I set off through Independence Square
Melanie, Nick, and I set off through Independence Square
This car is a native Ukrainian.
This car is a native Ukrainian, I think.
I read this summer in the Chicago Tribune about these mobile coffee vendors popping up all over Kyiv, and was excited to see them for myself!
I read this summer in the Chicago Tribune about these mobile coffee vendors popping up all over Kyiv, and was excited to see them for myself!
On the way there, Melanie introduced us to khachapuri, cheese-filled Georgian bread. It is salty and tasty and oh my! We were all hoping for more for the next few days. Clark almost cried when we finally passed by this place again and they were all out.
On the way there, Melanie introduced us to khachapuri, cheese-filled Georgian bread. It is salty and tasty and oh my! We were all hoping for more for the next few days. Clark almost cried when we finally passed by this place again and they were all out.

America House is a fantastic new facility where we spent a good bit of time; one evening Thaddeus, Lisa, and I took turns leading activities for the group of over 100 adults who came to practice their English, and on another day, we worked with a large group of 13-15 year-olds from the Microscholarship Access Program.

Beanbags abound at America House.
America House
America House

On Saturday, the last day that we were all together, we took a three-and-a- half-hour boat ride on the Dneiper River with the Fulbright Scholars in Ukraine.  It was very nice but, uh, kind of a long time to be on the boat.

Back row: Seneca (Ukraine), Lisa (Ukraine), Melanie (Georgia), Thaddeus (Ukraine), Ryan (Armenia), and Kevin (our RELO; i.e., our handler). Front row: Clark (Belarus) and me.
Back row: Seneca (Ukraine), Lisa (Ukraine), Melanie (Georgia), Thaddeus (Ukraine), Ryan (Armenia), and Kevin (our RELO; i.e., our handler). Front row: Clark (Belarus) and me.

2015-09-26 15.16.48

We were so happy to move around after we got off the boat that we decided to walk back to our hotel.  What a great decision!  We walked up St. Andrew’s Descent, an old windy cobblestone road that reminded me a bit of Prague. Handcrafts lined the way on both sides.

Walking up St. Andrew's Descent with Fellows behind me...
Walking up St. Andrew’s Descent with Fellows behind me…
...and in front of me.
…and in front of me.

At this point, we were ready to eat, so you can imagine our joy when we happened upon a Georgian restaurant!  Melanie took charge in helping us order, and we spent what I would consider a truly Eastern European/Caucasus evening together, talking, laughing, and starting our march together up Fellowship Ascent.

A lovely presentation of sheep's cheese (I think) and salad.
A lovely presentation of sheep’s cheese (I think) and salad.
khinkhali, Georgian dumplings that are filled with meat or cheese. These had a mixture of pork and beef.
Khinkhali, Georgian dumplings that are filled with meat or cheese. These had a mixture of pork and beef.
A different style of khachapuri, but still AWESOME! One cheese, one three-cheese, and one I didn't try. We also ordered a traditional one with an egg on it that they mix with the cheese, but they forgot to bring it and we were too full anyway.
A different style of khachapuri, but still AWESOME! One cheese, one three-cheese, and one I didn’t try. We also ordered a traditional one with an egg on it that they mix with the cheese, but they forgot to bring it and we were too full anyway.  Next time!
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2 thoughts on “Pink Coffee Snails and Cheesy Georgian Food

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