i wish i could read that :: lviv, ukraine
I came to the conclusion today that life is supposed to be one big adventure, and if it isn’t, you’re doing something seriously wrong.
I know. It took me 42 years to fully appreciate something I should have known all along, but sometimes, I’m a little slow.
We’ve been through a lot since the first of May (*gigglesnort*) - the hubby came down for a job interview, we sold the house, went to London, and moved the hubby and the dog down here. And I bought a more Florida-friendly car.
Let’s talk about that first, since I just took delivery of my new car… My 2015 Forester wasn’t the love of my life and hadn’t been for some time. It couldn’t compare to the 2008 that had so many issues I had no choice but to trade it in. I’ve been thinking about making the jump to a new car since the combination of traction control and ABS tried to kill me during a bad snowstorm this past winter, so once the move to Florida was done, I started shopping.
An online friend recommended MINI and since that’s one of the few brands still available with a stick, it was a no-brainer to take one for a test drive. Holy mother of fuck are they slick! I fell in love immediately and since it’s me, they didn’t have one with the options I wanted on the lot. BUT, there was one available that was headed to Texas; it was going through customs when the salesperson found it. We intercepted it and, now, it’s mine.
In case you were wondering, a 95 pound German Shepherd DOES fit into a MINI Cooper 2 door hardtop.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that aligned to get me to Florida - some of those things are decisions I’ve made but come to regret, some of those are crazy fucked up decisions I probably shouldn’t have made in the first place, but the end result is that I’m happy. Really, truly, happy. The bipolar has gone to wherever it goes when it isn’t flaring (for want of a better word), and the people I work with are all kinds of awesome. For the first time in a very long time, I feel at home at my job. I always struggle to find that place, and I haven’t been able to do that for a very long time. I think I’ve managed it…
London was a blast - we checked out an Arsenal game and I sat behind the *perfect* Gunner. He was HYSTERICAL. I learnt so many new words! Did you know there are about twelve different ways to call the opposing fans ‘wankers’? I didn’t.
Then, we journeyed out to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. That was an adventure! My friend and his wife took us because they don’t live that far away. We took the Tube to Rickmansworth and whilst we waited for a cab at the train station, we chatted with the most wonderful cafe owner. He was great - drew us maps and told us all sorts of things about the Gunners / Arsenal FC.
As for the HP tour? I can’t… there aren’t enough words. It’s something you have to experience and well worth the trip from London.
We saw The Cursed Child too… not bad, but not great. It was the first night with the new cast and well, I have strong feelings about Scorpius Malfoy. The actor playing him didn’t portray him the way I saw him when I was reading the play.
And speaking of reading the play, I’d read better fan fiction, but watching the play took kind of took the sting out of the crappy story. Some of the ways they portrayed the magical bits, were… shall I say it? Magical. I don’t know if I would pay for a trip overseas just to see the play like some people had, but it was worth the trip since we were headed back to London anyway.
We also took a day trip out to Highgate Cemetery, resting place of Karl Marx and Douglas Adams. I was way more impressed by how subtle DA’s marker was. It was nice to stand there and pay my respects to someone whose work changed my life in multiple ways. As I said, both on Facebook and in person, so long, and thanks for all the fish.
The best parts of the trip were definitely those when we threw the guidebooks away and just wandered. We adventured in between revisiting favourite tourist sites and I think that made the trip so much better than the last one.
OH! I don’t know how I could have possibly forgotten this, but WE SAW THE FUCKING QUEEN.
We were walking towards Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard when a helicopter landed not too far from where we were. Then, a black car came down The Mall surrounded by cops. I noticed that it had the Royal Standard on it and looked into the car. And there she was. The Queen.
I might have actually yelled, “DUDE! THAT’S THE FUCKING QUEEN!”
There were tourists ahead of us who hadn’t even noticed. I feel bad for them - stuck in their maps and books, they had no idea what they were missing until it was too late.
So yeah - London was a huge success.
The job is a huge success.
The hubby and the dog are here.
My new car is pretty.
Life is good right now… and it’s only going to get better the closer we get to October.
rest in peace, coach
It’s been a whole lot of death and gloom around me lately.
Death apparently no longer happens in threes. It’s expanded to five, but we’re all kind of waiting for number six to show up.
It started with a co-worker’s cousin dying in a fiery car wreck. The body was so damaged, they had to use dental records.
Then, Coach Marshall died.
I’m still having a hard time processing that. I went to the memorial, and I thought that would give me the closure I needed, but it didn’t. Coach was a good man. A bit troubled, but who amongst us isn’t? The UConn hockey program wouldn’t have been the same without him and his stubbornness, that laser focus on proving that anything less than Hockey East wasn’t acceptable, the drive and determination to get the ice rink enclosed. I was fortunate to be there for so much of the early (later) days. I was instrumental in doing much of the groundwork for the fundraising of the indoor rink, and he taught me so much about kissing ass without actually needing to pucker up. I wouldn’t be the person I am without his influence…
It’s hard to think about the fact that there’ll never be another note, another email, another set of tickets left at the door because “I know you don’t have anything better to do this weekend.”
Maybe once hockey season is over, the wound will heal. At the very least, time and distance will numb the pain.
As if that hadn’t rocked my world enough, another coworker lost his son. Cancer. A bunch of us went to the memorial service, and it was suitably awkward. It’s well known that I don’t like to be touched by people, and I became the butt of a few jokes when Bob got in not one, but two, hugs. Fuck it. It made him laugh, and that’s what matters.
Found out today another co-worker lost his sister (sister-in-law?), and yet another service tech’s best friend’s sister killed herself.
Dear 2016, STOP FUCKING KILLING PEOPLE. You can make it to the end of the year, can’t you?
We’re going to Lviv in a few days. My Ukrainian is shitty, but I should be functional. I’m still missing some key vocabulary, and I’m not happy about it, but I don’t know what else to do. I’m taking lessons five days a week and cramming in homework and translating my Harry Potter fanfic whenever possible. I’m also trying to read other Ukrainian fanfics. I read a Littlefinger / Sansa pairing that was… eh. Right now, I’m working on a Littlefinger / Caitlyn Stark fic. Also ‘eh’, but beggars can’t be choosers.
The only thing that’s keeping me from totally losing my shit is the fact that my tutor thinks I’m doing extremely well.
Related - this last weekend, I wandered down to the Armpit of the Eastern Seaboard (New Jersey) for a Ukrainian genealogical conference. In a room full of 80 Ukrainians, it felt like I was the only one that understood Ukrainian. It was weird… a few of the presenters were like “Oh, this site is only in Ukrainian. Just google translate it! It’ll be close enough.”
NO. NO. NO. NO.
I’m not sure if that was the worst or if the Cyrillic handwriting class was. This woman kept trying to transliterate the letters. That’s all fine and dandy, but in my experience, leaning on transliteration when you’re first learning is terrible. You’re never going to understand the language if you don’t dive in and start using the Cyrillic alphabet. Sorry. That’s the only way to do it, if you want to do it properly.
In preparation for our trip, I even gave in and ate the kapusta and kielbasa, a vareneky, and some borscht. Unfortunately, both the borscht and the kapusta were too acidic for me (woo! acid reflux!), but I ate the entire vareneky. If you know what a fussy eater I am, you know how huge that is for me.
In other news, there’s drama at work (when is there not?). I’m not sure where I fit in, but I know what I want and I know how to get there. It’s just a matter of how many bodies will pile up as the drama continues… and I hope I’m not collateral damage. We’ll find out, won’t we?
Fuck. I just want a nice, normal, boring job.
Election Day is tomorrow.
I CAN’T FUCKING WAIT FOR THIS SHIT SHOW TO BE OVER.
OMG. I can’t even.
It was like a bad joke yesterday: a (male) Brookah, a black man, and a woman were holding signs for Trump. How the fuck can a black man support a guy who is endorsed by the fucking KKK? And let’s not even get into the whole sexual harassment / assault shit going on with the women.
To prove that the universe is paying attention, though, we have a neighbor that has a big Trump sign in his yard. Came home the other night to find that his pickup (with a massive Trump sticker) had been set on fire and melted some of the siding on his house.
I get a little weepy when I think about voting for Hillary, but I don’t know if it’s because she could be the first female president or if it’s because I’m so disgusted that she’s the lesser of two evils.
I really wonder what we look like to the rest of the world…
Святосла́в Вакарчу́к :: Океан Ельзи
We leave for Ukraine in about a month, give or take, and I am FREAKING out. I’m still not where I want to be with the language, and I doubt that I’ll ever be there. I’m working with a tutor five days a week and thinking about kicking my social anxiety in the ass and reaching out to find some language partners for the weekends.
Today alone, I worked with some flashcards in Memrise, struggled to translate a few sentences in my Drarry fanfic and am currently putting off attempting to read Harry Potter.
I think it’s safe to say progress is fucking sloooooooooooooow. But at least there’s progress, and it’s measurable.
I got a little pissed off at fencing the other night. My coach / instructor is Puerto Rican and I happened to mention that I was Ukrainian. He told me that I wasn’t because I didn’t grow up speaking the language. Oh, excuse me. I didn’t realise that not growing up in a Ukrainian household changed the components of my DNA. (And let’s not discuss the fact that he isn’t American, but thinks he is… GRRRR!) [ETA: Yes, I know PR is an American territory, but he didn’t grow up on the continent / in one of the 50 states, so using his logic, I don’t think he should be considered an American. But what do I know? I’m just pissy because he refused to acknowledge something that I’ve been working so hard to embrace.]
In other news:
Work is bothersome. The depression still hasn’t left. Fencing doesn’t make me feel better. I’ve changed my diet and I’m not losing weight.
And I’m beyond terrified of the current situation in the States. This whole Trump candidacy feels like one big nightmare we can’t wake up from… I can’t live in a world where he’s the better choice to run this country. I can’t do it. I don’t like Hillary, either, and I think the third party candidates are wasted votes… All I can do at this point is try to figure out how to leave the States and not come back. Hopefully, the husband comes with me, but it probably wouldn’t be a deal breaker if he didn’t.
Yeah. It’s that bad.
And on that cheerful note, it’s time to get back to Гаррі Поттер.
Living on unemployment for a year has definitely taught us how to be more aware of every dollar we spend.
Working closer to home, not having to pay MA income tax on my salary, and getting a small ‘bonus’ for not needing health insurance from my employer has resulted in my finally getting to live the life I really want to live. (It doesn’t hurt that I turn 41 next month and I can’t get rid of the little voice in my head that keeps telling me that I’m getting closer to the age my mother was when she died…)
We’re taking two major vacations practically back-to-back and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s going to take FOREVER for them to get here.
First, we’re going to Ukraine. I found my grandparents’ villages and will be going to check them out, plus spending some time in the absolutely GORGEOUS city of Lviv.
I’m going to focus on getting my grandmother’s birth certificate in the coming weeks - I have a photo of it (from the researcher I hired), but I want the real thing. After I manage to get my grubby little paws on that, I’m going to apply for Ukrainian citizenship. What’s the worst they can say, no? If they say yes - and depending on the outcome of our election - I may not come home.
Then… we’re going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!
It also marks our long-awaited return to London!!!!! We were supposed to go in 2013 for a wedding and then I got laid off. Since then, we’ve put off the trip to stay closer to home and rebuild our savings. The exchange rate right now is still ridiculously prohibitive (1 GBP is almost 1.50 USD—contrast that to Ukraine: 1 UAH is .04 USD), so it’s been easier to justify putting the trip off.
In other news—
Work is getting better. Slowly. I’m being forced to spend a week in Phoenix with our Assistant Controller at some Timberline National Users Conference. We were supposed to drive together to the airport and then we were supposed to share a hotel room. We haven’t even registered for the conference yet, and she’s already driven me to the point of wanting to murder her. I got out of sharing a ride (we live in opposite directions) and sharing a room (5 AM Ukrainian lessons 5 days a week), but I’m still not overly happy that I have to go with her. To be honest, I’m still a little butthurt that she was hired and that I wasn’t promoted. It’s the third time I’ve been passed over for a promotion because I’m too good at my current position… although part of the reason they’re sending me is so that I can learn more about the software and using it for construction as opposed to HVAC service. Who knows what that means for my future with the company… I can only hope that she burns out quickly and I can jump into her job. I’m not so sure I want to work under her.
I’ve started working out again, too. Back to the gym two days a week. The end goal is to attempt a GORUCK Challenge again. The short-term goal is to lose some weight and fit back into my fencing gear. Yeah. I’m going to start fencing again. I can’t even tell you how much I’ve missed it.
The Ukrainian lessons are going well - I’ve decided to work with two tutors. I’m still using my italki tutor and I’m using one from the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. They’re about $15 USD/hr. and doing 3 days with Svetlana and 2 days with Oksana has been better than I thought it would be. I’m being forced to do more active learning (homework) and they’re actually complimenting each other. It’s insane how the class content seems to have aligned itself without any input from me. Plus, I’m supplementing those with independent work from a textbook I found on Amazon and a grammar reference book. I WILL BE FLUENT-ISH BY OUR TRIP! It feels good to say that. Really good.
Ahhhh… it feels good to be blogging again. But that also reminds me, I never wrote my New Year / Three Words post.
Obviously, UKRAINIAN is the first one. This encompasses cooking, reading about the culture, our trip, and my continued efforts in learning the language.
The second is HEALTH. That includes doing the Zombie 5K app (with the end goal to actually run a 5K), meeting with my personal trainer, and fencing. I should also add that I’m meeting with a nutritionist soon. I have the eating habits of a 5 year old… if that. The GORUCK Challenge won’t be until 2017, but I definitely need a year of intense work to be ready for it.
The third, I’ve been waffling on because I don’t want to reuse the same word over and over, but I really do want to keep focussing on my WRITING. Here, there, and everywhere!