Friday, January 16, 2015
Happy Old New Year ... and Garry's trouble going to Zaporosia-updated
Garry had a cow to breed in the village before class that morning and he was laughing when he came home to change clothes, because the guy there insisted he come in for a drink to the new year. Garry turned down vodka before 9 am but had a little wine, and a bite to eat since they got out five salads and a couple meats, so he nibbled on some kielbasa.
Just before nine o'clock, when classes start in the morning, Garry was on the phone with someone when there was a loud banging on the door. Masha, who stayed with us Monday through Thursday this week because the schedule for the bus has changed and so it is impossible for her to come from Zaporosia in the morning unless Garry picks her up, said that she would tell the students to stop it, thinking they were just waiting for class to start. However, they were holding handfuls of wheat to throw into the house, and Valera led the recitation of the rhyme for prosperity in the new year that goes with the ceremonial wheat tossing inside the house. Garry then handed out money, (money and candy rewards is part of the process, similar to our trick or treating on Halloween.) The girls told Garry that he shouldn't pay them, which we had not realized before, it is a male thing I guess, because we had several boys and men by noontime. One little guy only got through about three lines before he forgot the rest of the verse, but he got some money anyway.
Poor Masha, I think we were driving her crazy, she kept complaining about encouraging a pagan custom, but for us foreigners it is an interesting cultural thing in the village, and we like to interact with our neighbors.
Garry told me that one guy who works for us blessed both the barn and the house... and the drunk guy from across the street came about 12:30 and was banging on the door when I was busy making lunch, so he tossed the wheat in the classroom as classes were getting over and Garry was over there with his wallet. Garry did turn down the homemade beer in a jar that guy wanted to share to toast the new year! Garry told me that Valera said that sometimes he collected a lot of money and food going door to door on old new year where he used to live.
You aren't supposed to sweep the wheat up so it can pile up the luck I guess, but Garry did after lunch, except what was on the doormat before our company returned. You remember our friends who stayed with us in the spring, we picked them up at the airport on Sunday, but they left Tuesday morning to visit with other people, and returned Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday after class, we ate lunch quick, so Garry could run Masha back to Zaporosia (we don't have classes Friday) and then we took our friends to meet the train to Kiev. We planned to eat at the Chinese place in Dnepropetroesk first, but when we finally got across the city to the restaurant, it was closed for technical reasons (not sure what reasons, but hopefully it reopens) so we ended up at Puzata Hata for some Ukrainian food instead, before helping them get their bags on the train. Then we drove downtown to go bowling, and saw some of the Christmas lights in the parks, some of the buildings and the huge tree lighting up the space where Lenin used to stand. We started out slow after not bowling for about six weeks, but were bowling well by the end of our hour and afterwards we had milkshakes at McDonalds before driving back to the village. The roads have improved some with the temperatures rising, the snow is melting, so now some the highway has both lanes open, although there are a few places where it is only one lane due to snow banks, which can be hard to see coming in the dark!
Friday the students showed up looking to get paid around 12:30 and I don't have a working phone right now, and had no idea where Garry was so I gave his number to Nastya. She got him on the phone and Garry had ended up going to Zaporosia to pick up another Canadian visitor we were expecting to come out to see the school. Unfortunately he was having trouble finding him in the apartment complex he was staying at when I talked to him.
Eventually he did find him, and started back to the village, complete with a bouquet of flowers for Karina, the student who was celebrating her birthday with a party at 4 pm (in Ukraine you throw your own party and cook the food... and clean up!)
When Garry reached to police check point leaving Zaporosia he got pulled over. He was informed that his licence plate had been flagged as having an unpaid speeding ticket and the car was being held until it was paid... so Garry tried to phone for help, but unfortunately both he and the guy he had picked up had used all the minutes on their phones trying to find each other. Luckily, Garry had bought two 40 grivna phone cards today because his phone was out of money and I need to put money on my calling Canada phone. So he put the second card on his phone (I guess I won't be calling my father until we get to town again) and called Victor and Maxim Rudei. Garry and Tim got to the house around 4 pm, after Maxim borrowed a car and went and picked them up. Victor is going to go pay the ticket ( Garry has no idea when he got a ticket he didn't pay, but it is a 220 grivna fine, like 10 dollars, so it is easy to just pay it and get the car back! ) Hopefully, it can all be worked out on Saturday and we will be driving to church on Sunday!
So we had to walk the kilometer or so to the girls home for the party with our guest, Garry carrying his flower bouquet, and Polo tagging along, causing all the dogs in the village to bark. So we went and ate, potatoes and salad and pickles and open-faced sandwiches with meat and cheese or cucumbers and sardines (I got Garry to bite mine, I just couldn't eat the tail on my fish) around the kitchen table. Following a few rounds of UNO in the living room we enjoyed tea and torte (cake). Then we walked home in the dark, trailed by Polo and a chorus of barking dogs from the yards we walked past, saying goodbye to Simeon at the boys house and dobray verchrum (good evening) or hello back to the younger people walking down the the street.
Update @ Saturday night... Even though Victor paid the fine at the bank in Dnepropetrovsk today, we are still without our car, because we can't prove that we have paid it! The bank needs to talk to their bank some head guy somewhere needs to approve it... so we hope to get the car on Tuesday now. Victor will be out in the morning to get the milk for the churches. We will go to church in the village I guess, unless we go into the city with him and take a bus back.