sounds right to me
I had a blast at the Ukrainian Festival. Although I didn’t speak to anyone in anything other than English, by the end of the trip, I was confident enough in my accent to shout: “Героям слава!” every time someone said, “Слава Україні!” (Call: Glory to Ukraine! // Response: Glory to her heroes!) It’s kinda the Ukie equivalent of “USA! USA!”, if you need context.
The best vendor - and the only one I purchased anything from (!!!!) - was the Toronto Ukrainian Genealogical Group. They were so helpful when it came to giving me pointers on where to start looking for information on my grandparents. Granted, I know all I need to know to get their birth certificates and pursue Ukrainian citizenship, but now I’m curious about the rest of it. It doesn’t hurt, I guess, that I started to read Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and realised that my grandparents’ families were saved because they lived on the Polish side of the border when the holodomor occurred. If they had lived in Soviet Ukraine, it might have been a different story. Then again, they got damn lucky they weren’t swept up in the insanity when Stalin decided he had to kill all the Poles…
It’s sobering to think of all the what-could-have-beens. It’s even more sobering to think that my grandparents lived through this part of history. (The key word there being LIVED.) That’s what got me curious about digging deeper and finding out more about my great grandparents in addition to anything more I can find about my grandparents.
I did learn something else. Something that I wasn’t expecting.
I’m not a Ukrainian (Roman) Catholic. I’m a Ukrainian (Greek) Catholic.
I always assumed that being a member of a Ukrainian Catholic church - and being sent to an American Catholic church for CCD - meant that I was a Roman Catholic. (At heart(?). I’m an agnostic in practice.) It turns out that the reason my American-flavoured religious education didn’t jive with the little bit of Ukrainian-flavoured religion I knew was because they weren’t the same thing. Fascinating.
Does it change the way I view organised religion? No. Does it make me want to go back to the church? No.
It’s just an interesting piece of trivia and something new to research.
So… I’ve managed to come back from Toronto with more questions than answers and yet another kick in the ass to work harder on my Ukrainian.
I was expecting one and not the other.
I’m not discouraged by either.
my current desktop on the macbook
This is all the Pronunciation Platypus’s fault.
I stopped stalling and started researching what I needed to do regarding moving forward with the claim for Ukrainian citizenship.
Found a law firm with offices in both Moscow (yuk) and Ukraine that handles citizenship. After a few emails were exchanged, it was decided that for the low, low price of 18,000 euros, I could hire them to do the legal bullshit. Three to five months of paperwork wrangling, I get to keep my US Passport, and I get to pay in two easy instalments of 9,000 EUR.
With the exchange rate today, that’s $24K. I don’t have $24K.
I feel better about life in general after receiving this news, but a little discouraged by the price tag.
Oh well. There are other law firms. Right?
Getting my MBA will be equally expensive, but more rewarding… might be time to suck it up and go back to school.
I went to a book signing last Thursday - Benny Lewis was promoting his new book, “Fluent in Three Months” (named after his popular blog.)
There weren’t many of us there - maybe seven, tops - so it was more of a hang around and chat sort of thing. He’s an awesome guy. Really sweet and he does seem to genuinely care about our language learning journeys. He and I talked in-depth for a bit about the challenges of finding a good teacher, life on italki, and how much memrise fucking rocks.
His book came into my life at a good time and he really reignited my language learning spark… I’d been so down on myself about wasting my 30 hours and my never ending struggle with the vocabulary, that it was nice to stumble upon a book that gave me new ideas on how to get started. And, yes, I bought the actual book. Found it when I was looking for a new, updated, Ukrainian-English dictionary and a newer version of Colloquial Ukrainian. I could find both of those things on Amazon, but we were at Barnes and Noble because I was desperate to walk amongst the shelves. Every once in a while, I need a book. A real paperback book. I love my Kindle, but part of me will always be a little old-fashioned.
Since I read the book for the third time - I always find something new and inspiring - I started getting up early to do a few exercises and make breakfast. Eventually, I hope to add jogging or some sort of workout (WiiFit?), to my morning routine. Why I couldn’t do this with my wicked expensive tutor? I have no fucking idea. I’m doing it now though… and I suppose that’s what matters.
I spent hours yesterday combing through blogs Benny recommended in his weekly newsletter and I have more ideas on how to move forward.
I just hope I can get through a decent conversation by September…
dancers, suzy-q, 12.07.14
First, let’s get the unpleasant stuff out of the way…
I have been keeping an eye on what’s going on in Ukraine to the point where I know what’s going on over there better than I do what’s going on in my own country. (Selfishly, yes, because their joining the EU and introducing visa-free travel is important to me, assuming I can gain citizenship. Hey, at least I’m honest.)
I have to say, I’ve been blown away by Putin’s actions since February. He knew he was losing Ukraine to the West, so he wigged out and tried to distract them. Call it a simple view of a complex problem, OK? The fact that he went after an area that was where his naval base is located was pretty obvious, but didn’t seem as important as his insistence on protecting “ethnic Russians”. I’m sorry, but that’s like Ireland invading Boston to protect “ethnic Irish people”. From what I can tell, he was “leasing” the area the Russian Navy was using from the Ukrainians. If they joined the West, he might have lost that. The rest of it? Pure bullshit.
This thing with the Malaysian aeroplane being shot down? Until it is proven otherwise, I firmly believe that Russia was behind it. There’s too many coincidences, the main one being that there was a missile being fired at a plane in an area where several planes had already been attacked. Plus, it’s not like Putin hasn’t (allegedly) been behind the killing of innocent civilians to get what he wants. (“According to the theory, the bombings were a successful coup d’état organised by the FSB to bring future Russian president Vladimir Putin to power. Some of them described the bombings as typical “active measures” practised by the KGB in the past.”)
I need to stop now before I go on an incoherent rant. I can’t stand getting into political discussions because I become all passion and less fact (even if I know exactly what I’m talking about before I start.)
In other unpleasant news, our old man has been having problems breathing. It’s to the point where I’m cancelling plans just so I can have as much time with him as possible.
The problems are intermittent and it’s been very hard to find a pattern, but when they happen they’re fucking scary as fuck. Our vet has seen him three times, we did a trip to the Emergency Vet, and we’ve even brought him to a ‘specialist’. While they couldn’t agree on the best course of action, and were not quite sure what it was being caused by, we finally landed upon a diagnosis: laryngeal paralysis. Basically, his larynx isn’t working as well as it should be and it’s blocking his airway. Once it gets bad enough, our only option is surgery. Aussies live anywhere from 12 - 20 years depending on who you talk to, and Apache is 13. Arsey died a few days before she turned 13, so to say we’re worried is an understatement. I don’t want to subject him to surgery if we don’t have to, but I don’t want him to essentially suffocate, either.
It’s not been pleasant, to say the least.
We’ve started with little things: keeping the house cool so he doesn’t overheat and pant is the main one and seems to be working well, even though it’s 100 degrees outside and the humans are bundled up in blankets when we’re home. The other big thing we did was invest in the best vacuum we could find. I did a shit ton of research before we invested in a Dyson Animal. (We paid a metric fuck ton to get the version with all the extra attachments, too so we didn’t have any excuses not to dust.) Arsey was allergic to pet dander (YES! She was basically allergic to herself.), so trying to keep the master bedroom spotless is a priority since that’s where a lot of the problems occur. The amount of dog dander in there is probably unhealthy… despite our best efforts, we have trouble keeping the room clean. Two dogs’ll do that to you.
To get back on topic:
After dropping $700+ on a vacuum - dude, my dad would keel over dead if he wasn’t already at the price - I was hoping it would live up to the hype. It sucked up like 10 canisters of fur and dust. Our 10+ year old Hoover used to get overheated, blocked, or otherwise useless after the first five minutes. I ran that damn thing for half an hour and the carpet probably has more shit in it, but I got grossed out. Seriously, the fur situation in the bedroom was so bad, the Wonder Hubby used to take the dog’s brush and literally brush the fur out of the carpet, just like it was the dogs’ undercoat.
We also bought a second fan for the bedroom. It seems that the combination of a VERY clean carpet, fresh sheets and the extra fan to move the air around worked well last night. He didn’t wake me up with his wheezing and the room smelled better than it had in a very long time. It wasn’t nearly as stuffy as it gets, either, so BONUS! All this to say, our life is about to become housecleaning hell, but it’s worth it. HE’S worth it.
Damn dogs and their short life expectancies.
In happier news, I took over 1,100 pictures at Ukie Fest last weekend. I couldn’t get through them all, but I got a few great shots of the dancers. There was guy sitting in front of us who kept moving so I lost a bunch of shots because the camera would autofocus on him. I tried to focus the lens on one point and switch it to manual but it didn’t work well with the dancers.
I had what we jokingly called “Ukrainian-American Tourette Syndrome” - I kept yelling out the Ukrainian words that I knew. I struggled a lot and I didn’t find anyone to talk to. It was obvious we didn’t belong there - Suzy-Q is a resort and the same families have held court there for generations. I know that much from what I heard growing up… and I lost my rightful place when my mother stopped going. My proudest moment was when I bought a patch for my GORUCK Radio Ruck and the guy told me how much my purchase came to. I also said “дякую” about a thousand times. Good practice, if nothing else, for a word I struggle with. (I blame the fact that the ‘y’ is pronounced ‘oooo’ - it’s something I consistently stumble over, no matter how many fucking words it’s in.)
While I’m STILL not where I want to be with the language, I wasn’t nearly as miserable as I was in 2009. I’m making strides to regain what I lost, and I can’t be upset over that. I’m proud that I understood about half of what I heard, even if I struggle to say what’s on my mind.
There’s some stuff going on at work that I can’t talk about online, but it’s making me miserable, too.
I can’t escape the situation because of my position in the company, but I did discuss it with one of the people involved.
Will it change things?
I don’t know…
I going to stay with the company long enough to have them pay to get me out of the US, but once I start the Ukrainian citizenship ball rolling, I may lose that patience. That’s probably why I’m stalling on requesting the birth certificates…
Right now, I struggle to find my happy at work, and I don’t want to be unhappy there.
Life goes on - I’m working with Memrise, trying to stay active on italki, and failing miserably at both..
I’m writing my Drarry fan fic and while draft FIVE is still not behaving, I’m happier with this version of the characters. Are they still out of character? Yep. But they’re still close to my head canon, so I’m going with it.
Yesterday was both Benedict Cumberbatch and Jared Padalecki’s birthday. It sounds weird to say this, but both men changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. At the very least, meeting C & L at Supernatural’s BosCon got me hooked on tumblr and (re)introduced me to fan fic… which then - after travelling a very long and windy road - led to me become a ‘published’ author of Benedict Cumberbatch character focussed fiction.
It also led me to attempting GISHWHES twice. I’m forever changed by those experiences as well…
However, it’s heartwarming to be part of such wonderful fandoms. I know I’ve said this before: the SPN fandom may be as dysfunctional a family as they come, but I feel more at home with them as I had with my own family. And the Cumbercollective? Same thing. SuperLock forever, bitches!
OK… I need to stop stalling.
Off to spend time watching a bunch of language videos I bookmarked but haven’t set aside the time for. Seems like the best way to spend a Sunday…
one more week to ukie fest at suzy-q!
My grandparents were DEFINITELY citizens of Ukraine when my mother was born.
From what I can tell, my mother was still a citizen of Ukraine when I was born.
Knowing me, this will get all fucked up…
I mean, there’s this for example: For a citizen of Ukraine an affiliation to foreign citizenship shall not be recognized until the decision on his/her loss of citizenship of Ukraine is adopted.
I don’t know if my grandparents ever gave up their Ukrainian citizenship. I don’t know if my mother did. I don’t think they ever thought about it. At least, I hope they didn’t. That would mean that they’re still citizens, which means there’s my easy in.
I just need to get the birth certificates and move forward from there. (I think I’m just going to suck it up and hire a translator. It will make life so much easier and speed up the process.)
I watched “Hope Floats” today.
I hate that fucking movie.
I mean, it’s cute and all, but Sandra Bullock’s mother dies and then her ex-husband ditches their kid for his new girlfriend. Between the one-two punch of the mother dying and the little girl screaming for her daddy, I always lose my shit. Ugly sobs. Big ugly sobs.
I was still crying when I turned on “Love Actually”.
I have friends who loathe this movie - with good reason. It’s actually quite terrible. (It’s like you have to hate it if you want to be one of the cool kids. It’s OK. I never wanted to be one of them.)
But! It has Martin Freeman as a sex body double! And his scenes are awesome. Like this one, where he asks the girl out while she’s pretending to blow him!
If that doesn’t make you laugh, I don’t know what will.
Maybe this one?
America, watch out, here comes Colin Frissell!... And he’s got a big *knob*!
Yeah. It’s a steaming pile of shite, but I love it so much.
OK… This was a whole post full of nothing, but hey! That’s why you come here. It certainly ain’t for my biting political commentary.
hey! look at that! contact cards!
I had to recreate them - after being printed! - because, of course, I don’t know how to spell in Ukrainian.
The revised version will be here too late for next weekend’s journey to Suzy-Q, but they will be ready for Toronto, and that’s really where I want to meet people.
If I can learn how to say “fuck me” in Ukrainian, my life would be complete…Of course, I can’t ask any of my new boyfriends to translate that for me because they’ll probably get the wrong idea. *grin*
I had my second tutoring session with my italki tutor. Right now, we’re just basically trying to figure out what I know and don’t know. For $6/hr, I’m not against starting from scratch. Beats $50/hr to struggle with EVERYTHING. I’m quite proud that we’ve already blown through her first two lessons because I know more than I thought I did. We’re not using video chat, either, which is making me feel more secure and less awkward. You wouldn’t think that would make such a difference, but it is - for me.
I’m also chatting with my Ukrainian boyfriends on italki. I’m not chatting as often as I should, but that’s because trying to bounce between spell-checking with google/bing translate and typing on a website in Ukrainian from my iPhone is a huge pain in my ass. It’s easier to do on a computer, but I’ve been spending more time off line after work. My laptop’s power cord has become a fire hazard and I hate being chained to the desktop. (Which I’m very glad I have, even though people think I’m weird to have both.) So, yeah, not really doing much of anything on a computer right now.
I cancelled my trip to New York tomorrow because I just wanted to stay home. I was SO excited to see Black Mountain Symphony play two shows back to back, but I’m just not interested in taking a road trip right now. I went to CT last weekend and I’m headed to Suzy-Q next weekend. Three days off of work, without the hubby, just seemed like the perfect excuse to eat crap and not get dressed in real clothes. I know. I’m a terrible friend, but, I’m doing what’s best for me. If I felt obligated to go, I wouldn’t have a good time.
I struggle to find new music because I don’t like listening to the radio, but I stumbled upon Ed Sheeran through Graham Norton’s show. It was a rough start for Ed and I - previewing all his albums on iTunes last week left me feeling kind of ‘eh’. I listened to them again this morning, and it’s taken all my self control not to buy EVERYTHING available. Who knows? It’s a nice break from the constant Ukrainian music.
The hubby and I have developed an unhealthy obsession with ‘Pitch Perfect’. It’s our go-to film when we can’t decide what we want to watch. It’s so bad, we can practically quote the whole thing. I’m actually watching it right now (3rd time this week) while I prepare to do my Ukrainian homework.
Speaking of, I should probably stop stalling and get to that Ukrainian homework…