Ternopil has proved to be eventful from the beginning, with dull moments being a rarity. This past weekend, Jen and I spent our Saturday in Lviv perusing craft markets, avoiding downpours of rain, and exploring the historic streets. Sunday was an adventure all of its own. Jen heard of a church in town which integrated both the English and Ukrainianlanguages, so we decided to attend. Here we met a wonderful group of people who seemed to come from all over the world. Many were missionaries who are now permanent residents in Ukraine doign service work, othgers were family visitors, still others were students either studying in Ternopil or passing through town. I can't tell you how many invitations Jen and I received to visit different families' homes for some English food or just to speak english with someone new! It was wonderful.
This also happened to be my first encounter with a student named David. David is from Ghana, a student, is wheelchair-bound, and is a character all of his own. Being both black and disabled gains him quite a lot of attention wherever he goes. It amazes me that he is even able to travel around as much as he does because Ukraine is NOT a wheelchair friendly country, but he is so friendly and seems to know SO MANY people... such that he always has a willing friend to drive him over all the bumps and help him up and down stairs. Nothing stops David. His friends make jokes that his dorm room is more like a common room because people congregate wherever David is. He is an entertainer who keeps you laughing and interested. Just the other day while with David, a man approached him and started to talk and introduce himself. It was fairly eveident how drunk this man was because soon he was shaking hands with David ...then hugging him... then kissing his neck and cheek in greeting. After a lengthy conversation with David feeling uncomfortable and trying to say goodbye, the man finally said he wanted to buy David a present and would return in 3 minutes with it while we waited. Just as soon as the drunk man was safe distance from us, we booted it. Imagine two foreign Canadian girls (who stick out because of their plain clothes and hefty backpacks), with two black men (one in a wheelchair, and the other pushing the wheelchair) trying to hurriedly evade a drunken men while bobbling all over uneven streets... I couldn't help but laugh at the hilarity of the situation because we were probably the most noticed people on the streets.
On another note, yesterday (like many days in Ukraine) was a religious holiday. In order to properly celebrate, there was a party at the internat complete with games, balloons, a campfire and tictechko's (wafer treats)! Bogden, an elder gentleman at the internat, busted out his accordian as we did the Hokey Pokey, and Orest joine din the fun as well. Today was another good day as we planned another excursion with 5 new girls. Morozevo (ice cream) is always the highlight of the excursion!
I am also finding my self very torn with emotions lately. As many of you may have read from both Jen and Miri's blog, we were able to go through the file's on the girls last week...and realized more fully the heartbreak of each girl's past. It is hard to imagine that just one month from today I will be going home. I am REALLY looking forward to this because I miss everyone in my life incredibly...but also can't help but feel like the life I've built over the past two months here is wonderful as well. I know I don't have to say goodbye yet, but I can't help but reflect on how difficult it will be when the time comes.
In the meantime, tomorrow Jen, Miri and I are off to Poland. We plan to stay for the weekend complete with a day's tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Salt-mines, Wawel Castle, and exploring life in Krakow. I am really looking forward to this experience, and will tell more later! Until then....I've nothign more to say for now!