Слава Україні! Героям слава!

September 15, 2014 :: 6:27 PM

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.


Change of plans

July 04, 2014 :: 1:11 PM

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 LOVE ITALKI!

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…


Learning Ukrainian by osmosis

June 20, 2014 :: 6:35 PM

suzy-q ukie fest, 2009

Alternatively, I could’ve titled this “How I’ve learned to embrace alcoholism”

I don’t think it’s a secret that I love music, so one of the ways I’ve been learning Ukie is by listening to Ukrainian music (ska/punk/rock). Listening / learning goes a little like this:

First listen: OH! I REALLY LIKE THIS BEAT!

Second listen: Wait. I think I understand that… something, something, something LOVE! Something about reading. Birds?

And so on and so forth until I feel confident in matching the sounds and can sing along.

The newest band I’ve been listening to, TIK, is one of the headliners at the Toronto Ukrainian Festival. (Which I will be attending and hopefully conversing mostly in Ukrainian. It’s good to have goals.)

Anyhoo, my first listen to “АЛКО голізм” went something like this:

OH. FUCK. Are they saying what I think they’re saying?

My second listen went like this:

OH. FUCKING. FUCK. That’s fucking catchy as fuck. Fuck.

My third listen went something like this:

Drink. Water. Alcohol. Where. Here. People. Alcoholism. Hand. Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink! There is not. Alcoholic. Vodka and beer. Drink. Yes (so?). You cannot. I want to live. You need to drink. Alcoholism. Hand. Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink! I do not know who is and I do not know who. No drink. Morning. Day. Soviets. Communism. Alcoholism.

OH. FUCKING. FUCK. *dies*

So. Yeah. Not only do I know more than I thought I did, but… I’ve become the walking definition of irony.

The girl whose parents both died from complications due to alcoholism’s favourite song is about drinking. With a chorus that’s basically Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink!

Seeing how my translation is rudimentary at best, I think I got the wrong idea. The band’s name is an abbreviation of the Ukrainian phrase “Тверезість і культура” which means “Sobriety and Culture”, and Google (and Bing) translate also make me think my original thoughts are wrong.

Either way, give it a listen. Let me know what you think.


Tour buses and tractor trailers

April 29, 2014 :: 7:47 PM

i love martin freeman’s partner

From time to time (especially now since hockey season is long gone), it’s easy to forget that I work in an arena.

Today, I could barely get into the parking lot because of all the trucks and tour buses.

I had to flash my staff ID at a security guard so I could get into the building.

FUCKING!!!!!! AWESOME!!!!!!

I have no idea who the bands are that are playing tonight, but I heard their sound checks. Oh, sorry, “line checks”. The data sheet from the producer was very clear that they weren’t doing sound checks. Dunno. They sound about the same to me. Anyhoo… The acts are classified as EDM (electronic dance music, whatever the fuck THAT is), so we can’t sell alcohol. This type of music brings out the “Molly” (or X for us old farts) users, so we keep them hydrated. Lots of water located around the arena and nothing else available. Fascinating.

On Friday, we’re playing host to “The Justin Bieber of Country Music”. His show starts early and there’s a pre-show meet and greet which means that early Friday afternoon (3-ish?), shit’s going to get CRAZY.

Teen aged girls running amok in my building. Being teen aged girls.

Fucking. Awesome.

Seriously though, I love my job like I can’t even put into words.

When I interviewed, I asked what the vacation time was like and I was told I get 365 vacation days… I seriously thought he was joking, but I love what I do and where I do it so much that every day is like a vacation day. No false advertising there!

——

I’m halfway through my Ukie lessons.

That’s both good and bad. I’m still struggling to learn what I feel are basic concepts (nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns) because they have different spellings determined by gender and case. It’s a hard language to learn, and as I’m fond of saying, the Cyrillic alphabet is adding a new level of complexity.

*sigh*

——

There’s a new all-age drum corps starting up this year. I was interested in joining it, but I cant be bothered to fill out the paperwork and send it in.

I guess that means that I’m not as interested in joining as I thought I’d be.

I’ve been thinking about starting up my work outs again, but I don’t want to pay for the trainer and I’m not going to the gym. (I’m too self-conscious and awkward to be comfortable at the gym.)

I’ve been thinking about starting fencing again, but I don’t want to compete, so what’s the point?

I looked into grad schools again.

I don’t know what I want right now…

All I know is that I’ve got a bad case of wanderlust and nowhere I really want to wander to.

*sigh*


All hail the Cumberdork!

February 02, 2014 :: 2:33 PM

this man is pure perfection, even at his dorkiest

What a crazy week.

It is hard to learn a new job when the person training you doesn’t know what they’re doing.

I don’t mean that in a ‘he’s stupid’ kind of way, but a ‘he walked into a completely fucked up situation that he was unprepared for and has no idea where to even start cleaning up the mess and oh my Dog, what the fuck do I do with this person sitting next to me chomping at the bit to do stuff?’ kind of way.

After three weeks, he’s made some major progress and I feel like I’ve learned enough to start doing stuff on my own. I spent all of Friday at my own desk working on the few things I know how to do. It was crappy data entry - two months of catch up for two different buildings - but it was GLORIOUS. I’ve never been so happy to just sit at a desk and endlessly type random crap like “0020-000-00” and “0037-002-00” a gazillion times.

Unlike the last jackwagon I worked for, he LOVES that I’m taking notes. Good notes. None of that “if you can’t understand this, you’re stupid” kind of shit.

I honestly do not know how I could possibly be any happier. (Outside of having this exact job in the UK, perhaps… but that’s not an option right now.)

——

Found out two good friends broke up last night. It breaks my heart.

——

Also spent the last two days texting with a friend who is getting a divorce. They’re not in a good place, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that I feel like I’m on suicide watch. I’ve been so careful with what I’ve been saying, but it’s exhausting to not let them have it with both barrels. I’m glad that - despite the amount I fell apart during my unemployment - I’m strong enough to be able to be here for them over the past two days. It hasn’t been easy and it kind of ruined my night out with Black Mountain Symphony last night, but that’s what friends do right?

However, it was an emotionally exhausting two days (so far - I’m currently being ignored again), and now I know why I internalise everything and don’t unload on friends.

——

Possibly related, my phone’s internal dictionary has decided to ignore the fact that it’s set to British English and seeing words spelt the American way is annoying. It’s starting to seriously fuck with my head.

I guess that’s a sign that my employer needs to move to England sooner rather than later…

——

I’ve decided to take the little bit of both the Johnlock and Marlas 30 Day OTP Challenges I’ve written and post them on AO3. I hate when people publish unfinished works, but after driving to both Worcester and Chester, VT this weekend, the voices in my head have told me it’s time to polish and post.

I’ve never been able to argue with the creativity-related voices in my head.

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