I was fortunate enough to be granted leave from my first weekend at site to go celebrate the holidays with a bunch of awesome PCV's down in a small town south of mine called Nyzhnygorski (I think that's how you spell it).
I got to ride an electrushka, which is the same as a train, but for some reason has a different name due to it's nature of frequent and prolonged stops. What would have taken me 2 hours by bus took 4 hours on the electrushka, which was an awesome experience by all means.
The train culture in Ukraine is amazing, it's like stepping into another era. It's as if I had stepped into Soviet-Era Ukraine. The train was wobbly, creaky and old, but I found that there were plenty of benefits of this mode of transport. First of all, the ticket was 10 grvn, which translates into about $1.25. Furthermore, it was a direct route down to the town where I was going to, so I wouldn't have to do any confusing swaps at Djankoy, the main hub of transportation in the northern part of Crimea.
Hopping off that Electrushka into Nyzhnygorski, I felt very proud to have solo'd that short trip. Every small thing I do in this country feels like a huge accomplishment. After wandering around the town for a bit, with the help of Vicki, the host of the party, I was able to find her apartment.
To sum up the weekend: it was amazing. I ate sooooo much good food. I mean, I am warming to Ukrainian food, but theres nothing like food from home- Turkey, mashed potatoes, REAL leafy salad. I say real because it had actual lettuce- something very uncommon in the Ukrainian cuisine.
In addition, I got to meet a bunch of the PCV's in my region. They were all really friendly, and one of them even knew where Nevada City is! I thought no one knew where my hometown was located outside of Northern Cali. Also, I feel like I got a lot of good information about what I can expect in the next two years. Let me tell you all, it sounds pretty awesome. I've been blessed. Crimea offers a lot of awesome sites to travel to, and they are all relatively close to each other due to the Island-like nature of the peninsula.
Here are some pics from the weekend:
Colette striking a pose
Vicki wrastlin' the Turkey- one of the best turkey's i've ever had
Cortney- being Cortney... nice sweater btw.
I'm gonna get me one of these as soon as I find a shop in my town.
Colette blending into the Ukrainian bazaar.
Christmas tree time- don't think any of these ones were real- they did have a bunch of real ones all over the bazaar though.
Mmm mmm I love Vareneki (kind of like tortallini)
Had to leave this one in color- god this is making me hungry...
Nap time after chowing hard.