Sunday, November 25, 2012

Krakow. Auschwitz. Birkenau.

I've made the very important decision that Krakow is my favorite city of all we visited. There is something heavenly about that Polish air, I tell ya.
(Just as a sidenote, when I typed Krakow it tried to autocorrect it to 'mealworms'. Not quite, but thanks tablet.)
I was perfectly happy being there a second time.

I love these cute ladies.

So we went to Auschwitz & Birkenau on Thanksgiving.
If you want to feel more grateful than you ever have in your entire life, visit a concentration camp. Or two. On Thanksgiving.

All I can say was, it was...haunting, mortifying, still, empty in every sense of the word. My views on humans and humanity and life and living were warped. I felt disbelief and horror and completely hollow and all I could do was stare stare stare.
I'm sure everyone feels stricken and sick hearing/reading about what happened during the Holocaust, but actually being there is an entirely different thing.
I feel like I can't adequately put into words how I felt when I was there.
It was an incredible experience nonetheless and I am happy to have learned so much that day, even if it was really sad.
It almost feels like sacrilege posting pictures of it. But here's a few.



If you ever can, get yourselves over to Poland and see it. 

We did really fun stuff that night too make ourselves feel better. And ate loads of chocolate. Cause J K Rowling wasn't messing around when she made chocolate the remedy for dementors. Just sayin.

One more cheesey belated Thanksgiving sidenote. This whole being in Ukraine experience has made me really thankful for a whole ton of things. Mainly though, my family, my friends, great people, new experiences, change, and America. A big thank you to everyone that makes my life so truly awesome. Yes, I mean you. That is all.


Beautiful L'viv.
That's what people say whenever they talk about L'viv. So we had to go. We worked it out that we could stop there on the way to and from Poland. Killed two birds with one stone. It's our motto. We're masters of efficiency.

Mmm. Sleeper trains. Even better this time around cause surprise! There were no doors. Just people out sleeping everywhere. 
We saw one dude who was straight up nakey with his legs sprawled wide and just his sheet over his middle. It was a little shocking.
And rumor has it that a certain someone in our group took numerous awkward/hideous photos of us sleeping.
If they end up on Facebook.. Heads may roll.

We made it to L'viv groggy as can be at 7 am in pitch darkness. Fun right? We may have hung out in the warm and WiFi accessible establishment of McDonald's for a few hours. Don't judge. When the sun came up we did stuff I swear.

We went in some neat churches.

We had famous L'viv hot chocolate... In L'viv!! It was divine.

This here tall thing looks like a pointy sword from the side so it has earned from us the nickname "the blade of zombie death". And that there is the poet Shevnchenko. The Ukrainians love their poets.

Found the opera house.

My favorite part of the trip. We ate at the Three Broomsticks. A Harry Potter themed restaurant in L'viv, Ukraine. How rad is that. 

I didn't get very good pictures of the inside cause my camera didn't have a flash. But it was perfect. They let us wear Gryffindor cloaks while we ate and we tried on the Sorting Hat. We were absolutely geeking out.

We had loads of fun. Although we ran out of things to do on the second day we were there and would have rather spent another day (or 5) in Krakow, I'm so glad we went.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Well we've got another item crossed off our list.
Visit Pirogovo.
It's pronounced Pirahgovah. It's a museum displaying different villages & dwellings in Ukraine throughout the years. And it just so happens to be the biggest open-air museum in the world. We checked multiple websites. It's not a lie.
Erika and her Ukrainian host sister Maria and I went today.
It was absolutely beautiful. 
Never mind that it was about 1 degree, and all my limbs were basically blocks of ice dangling off of my torso, and I'm only now beginning to truly warm up. But really, it was gorgeous. Let me show you in photos.

I made a cat friend.

Here's a map.

Here's where we walked.

Here's a small cottage made of stone.

And these weird things are beehives. Neat eh??

There was also a modern-ish section. And I say ish because the inside looked pure Soviet.


These mills were my favorite.
With the grey sky and the light fog in the distance?


This blue house was from the 17th century.
We couldn't figure out how it got so blue.

Maria found this neat thing

Don't worry, we've stepped out to Ireland. BRB.

Magical or what?
That place would be so fun in the summer. But I am kind of glad we went now cause that cloudy wintry foggy-ness just kills me. We loved it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

So uhh...

We have 31 days left.
4 days are spent in Poland/L'viv.
7 days are weekends.
That means
17 more days chatting with Tanya and Andre.
17 more days walking in the foggy mornings to school.
7 more days of teaching my Elementary 6 boys.
7 more days of Basic Reading and El. 1.

Tell me, how am I supposed to leave these kids never to know their fates or what they will do or where they will go or who they will become?
It's killin' me.

Someone get me a bucket to drop all my tears in.
Cause they are gonna be flowing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Camera happy.

This us what happens when you try to take pictures with a bunch of crazy camera happy little keeeds.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reasons why this weekend was good.

1. I went to a lunch and a free art museum with lovely Alexis and Afton. We ate cheesecake. We got weirded out by modern art. It was grand.

2. We also went to the lookout at the end of Khreschatyk and ogled over this view and chatted for a good twenty minutes leaning over the edge in the crisp fall air. 

3. I skyped my family and my mom held my kitty in front of the camera for a minute.

4. We went to St. Andrews again. My third time but hey. I could look at it all day. But this time it was Andrivskiyy 2.0: night version. Stunning.

And last but certainly not least, 
5. We. Got. Shawarma. SHAWARMA. 
The Avengers nerd inside me was having a party.

It was delicious.
And Avengers approved.

Sidenote: eating in front of a mirror...was awkward.