Today I returned to the city of Odessa after having spent 5 days at our summer camp. It was an amazing experience, and I am excited to go back on Tuesday. The kids saw my suitcase and were so sad when they thought I was leaving. I told them I was coming back and they just lit up. Our car took us all back to the office that I spent most of my time at last time I was in town volunteering. We had something special in store for us.
Dmytro Sysoev from the Ukrainian X-Factor, a show much like America’s Got Talent, came to our center to perform and do a Q & A with the children. He was very sweet and first introduced himself and how happy he was to be at such a wonderful establishment that does so much for the children of Odessa. That is about all of his speech I understood! Then he performed some of his songs, and answered questions. After his performance, he signed autographs and took photos with the children. I even got an autograph, because who knows? Maybe one day he will become a huge star! Well, after the concert I borrowed 50 hryvnia from one of the other volunteers at our site. I was so embarrassed to ask for money, but on my way to the office I had attempted to change money and failed to do so. The bank told me my 20 dollar bills were too old and that was that. I left the city of Odessa with 40 unusable dollars and 11 hryvnias, which is the equivalent of $1.35. He was such a life saver because there was no way I was going to get my roller bag all the way back to the hotel without a taxi.
|The kids prepared a gift|
|He gave kids tattoos that said "COOL"|
|Saying good-bye to Dmytro|
You can see a clip of him singing on YouTube here.
I made it home, did some laundry and finally connect to the internet on my own terms. It is funny how we take the internet for granted when its everywhere at home. I really just wanted to talk to Nat, my parents, my sisters, and maybe do a blog post, but all I could do was minimal chatting on Gmail if the internet didn’t act up. I talked to my parents for almost a hour, which was fantastic. I cannot wait to show my dad around the city – he is just going to love it here. I got to talk to my sister in Hong Kong for some time on Gchat. Most importantly, I got to talk to my love via video chat. I even got to see my parrot, Pearl, when I talked to my parents and my kitty, Toothless, while talking to Nat. It was not until I heard my name yelled in that familiar Ukrainian tone that I bolted off the internet and back into the reality of my world. My laundry was done.
The Ukrainian woman who did my laundry is really friendly. She talks to me in Russian and tells me that I speak well and that she understands me. She seemed to actually care when I told her I was going out to find food and walk around town. It is nice to feel like someone is looking out for me.
These are some photos I took around town. The city is lively in the evenings with people walking with their families, eating ice cream, and watching street performers. I noticed an old building was almost fully restored to its former splendor – I remember it being under construction three years ago. I later sat in on a concert in the park where I saw people dancing and carrying on. Red bull was hosting a Ukrainian Drift event, so there was loud music in the streets. Then I walked down and back up the Potemkin Steps. It is a little lonely wandering about the city alone, but people watching is definitely fun. It feels so early here since it is still light out, but its already 9:30PM. I think I will submit this post and work on my graduate school application. Hopefully I can get to sleep early so I can go for a run before the city wakes up.
|View from the restaurant where I ate dinner|
|My comfort food - I promise tomorrow I will figure out some healthy Ukrainian alternatives|
|Pretty awesome street performers|
|Concert in the Park|
|New and Improved Building|
|Forgot what this building is called|
|People making bubbles in the street|
|Full on orchestra|
|What goes down, must go back up|
|Cute little boy in the back of one of the show cars|