Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Shopping is easier if I can sit down

Last Thursday Tanya and I took the bus to Dnipropetrovsk to pick up the documents for our trip to Greece, including her Schengen visa.  She asked if I wanted to go with her and I said yes.  She doesn't ask much and it was good to spend time together, with me on the computer so much these days.

Tanya also wanted to buy material to make new drapes for the big south window in our front entry and a roll of wallpaper to repaper one wall in the kitchen.

We arrived at 11:00 am and rather than waste time going to McDonalds we decided to "eat off the street" and bought chibreki and tea from a street stall and ate on the fly.  Chibreki, for the uninitiated, is a thin pastry filled with spiced ground meat and fried in about an inch of oil.  After picking up the documents we started looking in fabric shops for material with no luck.

We stopped for tea and dessert (and a bathroom) at a little restaurant which I immediately recognized as one that Tanya and her friend Natalie and I had coffee in back in 2005 when I was in Dnipropetrovsk to visit her.  I remembered where we sat and what we talked about. I'd had no idea at that moment that we would be married a year and half later but that was the beginning of it.

We went to the Ozerka market finally as if it isn't there, we don't need it kind of thing.  The main building of the Ozerka is a farmers market with the best produce and meat in the city.  Surrounding it are about 6.5 ha (16 acres) of stalls in any number of arrangements.

Ozerka Market, all 7 hectares of it.
By this time we have been walking for some time.  Walking isn't bad, it is the standing that kills my feet, knees and hips.  And when shopping there is a lot of standing and waiting.  There maybe a hundred wallpaper stalls in Ozerka market.  Tanya knew what she wanted but it was hard to find.  Skimming stalls was the easy part.  Finding a stall that had maybe the right colour and pattern took the time as of course one has to look and unroll and all and all.  

We found one she sort of liked but kept going.  Then we found one she and I both liked and we hemmed and hawed for no end of time.  I needed a chair which I found in the next stall.  She bought it...at gunpoint, I might add.  "But I haven't seen all the other stalls yet and I might find something I like better".  I've been that route before so it was no deal.  I carried the 10 m2 roll for the rest of the day.  Several women stopped to say how much they liked the wallpaper so that pleased Tanya.

She had no luck finding material in the drapery stalls but at least I found the odd place to sit down.  They all wanted to sell her stringy things that looked like costumes for a belly dancer rather than drapes.  They are apparently in style now.  Tanya decided to buy the material she had seen and liked in Zholti Vody the day before.  (I told you I had been that route before.)  

So we went clothes shopping.  She looked for clothes and I looked for a chair.  I was sitting on the counter of an empty stall when the saleslady in the stall across offered to let me sit on her chair.  It did not look very sturdy.  I said I am too big;  she said she was not exactly small either, which was true.  I'd guess two axe handles three cans of tomatoes and a plug of chewing tobacco wide tall or deep.  So I sat and the chair held up quite well while we visited.

On our way to the bus depot we stopped at the big clothing market where I had got my shirts that fit at Gross Men's Wear.  Tanya wanted to buy me a new sweater for fall as my sweaters were all several years old.  We ended up with two very nice pullovers and a (black, of course) nylon sports jacket to replace the one I lost two years ago.

I am not a sweater person. I would have been much happier with a new (very loud) cowboy shirt.  But when Tanya says "You look good", what I want is not very relevant any more.  Dressing to please her is far more important and she has excellent taste...(well, she married me didn't she?). 

We were wandering around and past a new shop just opening up.  They were unpacking and had just hung up a jacket for Tanya that she had been needing for some time.  She looked awesome in it and it fit to perfection so we grabbed it. 

We are not amused.
Then she started looking for tops, blouses and such.  This takes time so I am looking for a chair. She bought a couple of things at one place and we moved on.  I found a bench in the "boulevard" and sat, while she tried things on.

There was one top she liked.  Now Caterpillar/calf scour/highway-line yellow has never been my favourite colour  but it is Tanya's and she does look good in it. Besides she says it is gold not yellow. She left the top and me on the bench and set out to "shop".  90 minutes later she came back empty handed and bought the gold top.  I told you I had been that route before. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Masha Starts Fifth Class in her New School

Today was the first day of school in Ukraine. Masha started 5th class (grade) in her new school, Lesia Ukrainka Gymnasium.  Going to school in a gymnasium makes no sense to North Americans unless you are a jock so I include the Wiki definition below for edification.

Languages and literature are Masha's strong suit, hence the transfer to a school with strong academic credentials in this area.  The math and science types go to another school called here Lycee.

It is hard to believe that four years have passed since Masha started in First Class and three years since Second Class. Since she was starting in a new school, we went to the opening exercises to give her moral support.  She isn't as excited about this first day of class as she was four years ago.  She does have friends here though.  Her neighbour Sonja was there and the two of them stuck together.  Katya and Yuri's daughter Natasha will be there but she is at a Sanitorium in Evpatoria for a month but will keep up her studies there.

I think the youngest kids in this school are Grade 5 but they look very young beside all the high school students.  There are two classes of Grade 5s with 20 students each, compared to four classes of 25 students in the school she attended previously.

The Grade 5s were all marched out at the beginning of the ceremony and welcomed to the school. All the usual suspects spoke and even a few minutes each adds up.  We left after an hour and went to visit Dasha.  Baba Natasha took her home after a few minutes as all the noise bothered her.
Masha looks a little worried.
Two students MC the ceremony.
Fifth Class students all lined up in the front row; Masha is near the far end
Masha's face side profile barely visible; Sonja with the headband

Some of the teachers
I don't recall girls like this when I was in high school
The boys haven't changed though; still awkward and geeky.
These two are well over 6'; a few more and the school basketball team ...
I just loved this red coat worn by a lady standing beside us.
gymnasium (pronounced with a […°] in several languages) is a type of school with a strong emphasis on academic learning, and providing advanced secondary education in some parts of Europe and the CIS, comparable to British grammar schoolssixth form colleges and U.S. preparatory high schools. In its current meaning, it usually refers to secondary schools focused on preparing students to enter a university for advanced academic study.