- I found salted butter in the store — SALTED BUTTER (i.e., American-style butter)! I had been looking for it ever since I buttered my bread that first week, holding out hope despite being told it doesn’t exist here. And there it was on Tuesday, a reward for my persistent search, with the words “Salted Butter” in English on it. I think I may have audibly gasped. My bread and butter has tasted so good this week!!
- I was invited over to a friend’s apartment last Sunday after church — my first time inside someone else’s place here. I tagged along as she did grocery shopping in four tiny stores in front of her apartment building: we got bread in one, vegetables in another, meat in another, and aluminum foil (for me!) in yet another. I loved seeing inside the house, having a home-cooked meal, and spending time visiting with Oksana and her son Timmy.
- I did my first baking since coming to Ukraine. I bought a glass Pyrex dish and a few basic ingredients across the street to supplement the cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda that I had brought with me. Did you know that you can make apple cake in a toaster oven?
- I have had some really nice times with colleagues, friends, and colleague friends throughout the week. They have taken me boot shopping and vyshyvanka shopping (the traditional Ukrainian embroidered tops; both pricey items, so I am taking my time choosing the best ones); out to eat twice; and to a great park at the edge of town, with wooded walking paths, bridges, and an amusement park for kids.
- I found a food vendor across the street from the university that sells khachapuri!! If you don’t know what that is, see my post “Pink Coffee Snails and Cheesy Georgian Food.” What a gift that my basic ability in Cyrillic allowed me to read that on the side of a food hut down a side street. I used my limited but adequate vocabulary to say, ‘Khachapuri?’, ‘cheese?’, and ‘one!’ It was a cold day, and the warm disk of salty cheese bread was just awesome. I’ve decided I need to restrict myself to once a week so that this new discovery does not become a major problem!
- I met another American who lives in Cherkasy! He leads an English conversation group every Friday night, and a colleague friend took me there this week. He has been living in Ukraine for around 35 years and said that he still doesn’t speak the language, which I have to say made me feel better about my painstakingly slow progress. Wow — I’ve found the language barrier a challenge these past six weeks, and he has been coping with it since the Cold War! Amazing. There were about 15 people at the discussion group, and they asked me questions for much of the two hours. I am glad to have another place to connect with people here.
- A cashier at Delikat was very nice to me this week. This time the problem was with a tomato I was trying to purchase, which I had apparently labeled with the wrong tomato sticker (there were so many tomato choices on the computer screen, and a line behind me, and I thought it was the right one…). Anyway, when I gave my standard “I don’t know” answer, she said “Wait” and “Sorry” in English, and then went to re-label it over at the scales. When she came back, I apologized, but she was very gracious and even smiled at me. I am definitely going to her again!