With the passing of my father this past year I was really worried about how I would keep in touch with the extended family in Ukraine. Not speaking the language myself kind of created a huge barrier. I really relied on him being able to contact them and then update me on how they were doing. Now that I was able to actually meet them my worries are now gone. I am so happy and grateful for the opportunity to spend time with them and get to know them in their home environment. I love them.
Lena (My Cousin) lives out in the village of Zelenyy Kut. She seemed to be more reserved, but that could be due to the language barrier. She makes sour cream and sells it in Odessa which is 4 hours away by train. I only got to spend a few hours with her but she did say I could come and stay forever if I wanted to.
Vetaly (Lena's husband) and Ruslan (Lena's son). Vetalty is so darn cute and charming. I loved to watch him move about the kitchen area preparing things. He always had a huge smile on his face. Ruslan works in the police at the train station in Kotovsk. He is not far from his father in personality.
Oksana (my cousin) and Anya (Oksana's daughter). Oksana is very polished and poised. She works long hours as a teacher in a private school. She is so good at her job. Actually she is good at everything she does. Oksana has a gift for making things beautiful. She redecorated her apartment in such a lovely way, paying attention to even the smallest details. She is very good at cooking and never ceased to surprise us with a new creation. I also loved watching her interaction with her family. I love how you could see how much she cared for each one of them.
Anya I already told you about in another post. I am sure I could write more though.
Oksana and Vova
Anya and her grandmother (Vova's mother). I loved Vova's mother. I was only with her a short time, and could not even speak with her. She had such a kind and gentle look about her. She radiated love and happiness. I just wanted to be near her.
Elya (Oksana's son). His other name was the little monkey. Elya is everything a little boy is supposed to be. Loud, funny, and mischievous. He had a cold while we were there so we did not see him as much as Anya. But he made up for it when we did get to see him. He loves to sing, especially American Christmas songs.
Aunt Lida. She is constantly making sure everyone is OK and has everything they need. She would not let us go out the door without all the proper footwear, layers of clothing, or an escort. Darilyn and I wanted to go out for a walk one morning and she just pleaded with us (of course in Russian so we had no idea what she was actually saying), not to go. She is a fantastic cook. I don't think I could even try to recreate some of them. She has some amazing stories. Some of my most memorable moments were when Aunt Lida would tell stories and Anya would translate.