Sunday, November 4, 2012

Forty Days

Today was 40 days since Tanya's Papa passed away.  The Orthodox church believes that the soul enters Heaven after 40 days and tradition requires certain activities of remembrance   We invited the family for lunch.  Tania was not feeling well so Andrei and Masha stayed home too.  Roman and Lina came.  Roman's cousin Svetlana was here for the weekend so there were five of us. Tanya had even found a bottle of Siberian vodka for the occasion.

It was not an easy day for Lina either as it was a little over two months ago that her mom died of congestive heart failure.  Her mom was 60.  Papa was 80.

Papa had heart trouble for several years and a series of mini-strokes left him bedridden this summer.  We were in Turkey and connected to the family by Skype.  What a great invention.  Tanya had been able to talk to and see her Papa every day on Skype from May 2011 when Luda and Valerie got a computer.

Today we connected again with the family in Siberia.  Luda had her cousin Natasha and Natasha's two girls  and grandson Tolik there for dinner.  We had not seen Natasha for several months as she had been in hospital.  Her hair was starting to grow back and other than looking a bit pale, she looked like the old Natasha - full of fire and fun.  Tanya says she is to be my next wife.  She is 10 years younger than Tanya and I do not think I could begin to keep up to her.  Viagra would be like putting a new flag pole on a condemned building.

Natasha's youngest daughter Liza is a singer and performs in the clubs in Abakan.  She was in Belyy Yar (lit. White Ravine) to perform at a concert which is how she ended up at Luda's.  We had not seen her since 2006.  A very pretty young woman.

Having Sveta visit is always fun.  She is one of those people around whom it is impossible not to smile.  Sveta is a plant breeder and works for a (French) corn-breeding company, managing lab work, test plots and such, about half way between Dnipro and Kyiv.  Her mother lives in Lozuvatka which is about an hour from here so we don't see Sveta very often.  Maybe things will slow down this winter and we will see her more often but in summer it is long days and when she gets a chance she goes home.

10 comments:

  1. It is wonderful Tanya was able to stay in contact with her Papa by Skype that way. It is the next best thing to being there. I recently was on google + hangout which allows up to 9 way conversation. You could pretty well have a family reunion that way.


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    1. Skype will handle multi-way conversations but if you want video, that costs extra.

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  2. I really enjoy reading about life in Ukraine. Yes, Death is an un-avoidable part of life the world over. It is interesting how the topic of death arouses feelings of sympathy for people I have yet to meet. Siberian vodka you say. In September, I tasted the very best Vodka ever!!!!. This was in Crimea, and I did not get the name, and now our host does not remember exactly which Vodka was served that day. So I have to go back and sample every vodka I can find!!!

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    1. There are dozens of vodka brands just from Ukraine alone. Why taste matters I have no idea as one crams a dill pickle in one's mouth after a shot if one is a true Russian. I would like to try all the single malt Scotch brands of which I hear there are over 1000. But not here. anything drinkable costs $50 to $100 a bottle while local vodka is about 10% of that.

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  3. Lovely post about family connections. What else is there, eh?

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    1. Thanks, Chartreuse. It took me many years to realize family was where it all matters.

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  4. On this eve of a viciously contested election in the states, I have to say your post from over the pond has helped me regain some perspective on what is important in Life. Thank you.

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    1. Wednesday morning the storm will have passed, the wind died down and the sky will be clear and sunny.

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  5. A bittersweet time with family - you're lucky to be able to enjoy the fellowship despite the circumstances. And you made me bellow with laughter at "Viagra would be like putting a new flag pole on a condemned building." What a line! I'm still chuckling.

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  6. Crimea is one of the places really worth to spend your vacation. It has perfect nature and numerous historical and architectural monuments. But if you need medical care, you should choose a hospital carefully. Medical service in Ukraine is not very quality and it is not easy to find a good hospital in Crimea. Ukraine Vacation Guide started to create a list of good Crimea hospitals http://ukraine-vacation-guide.com/dir/hospital/crimea/814 Everyone who know there good hospitals can share knowledge and advice new hospitals to list there.

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