Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ukraine, November 2011

This was my 4th trip to Ukraine since my family moved to the United States and my first trip since I moved to Germany.  The first three visits, I always came in the summer for minimum of three weeks.  This time it was different all around, shorter, colder and quieter.  In the summer, with my cousin Irina I roam the streets during the night, when it is bearable, because during the day it is just too hot.  I love walking the city in the night, it is so perfect and alive!!!  In the fall, it is just cold and miserable and all you want to do is stay home, drink tea and eat your grandma's pilmeni.
As a welcoming feast my grandma Valya fried me some 'chebyreki'  I think she and Paula Dean would get along great, and bond over ridiculously fatty food :)
Also, this visit had a bigger purpose.  My best childhood friend Olya, who I know since the 1st grade, had her first baby, who's name is Andrey.  She asked me to be his Godmother and come for the Baptism.  I am so glad I got to be part of this important moment in their lives. 
Mom and Son!  Isn't he supper cute :)
At the Baptism there were two sets of Godparents and everyone got to hold the cute Andrey :)  He really enjoyed his 'bath'!
Olya's brother, Dima, holding Andrey after the immersion.
It was really interesting, because this was the first Orthodox Baptism I have attended, besides my own, which I do not remember, since I was only 4 or 5. 
After the Baptism in front of the Church.
After the Baptism we went to Olya's parent's place for celebratory dinner.  It was fun and merry!

Even though Odessa was pretty chilly we still did some walking around the city with Irina.
Odessa at night!

We also laughed a lot, especially Irina, she laughed so hard she cried!  This was all thanks to the PhotoBooth effects on my iPad.
My aunt Lora, my mother's sister!

Aunt Lora was going back to Reni, here with her son Milan and mother Antonina.

Milan and Aunt Lora.

Irina and I decided to also go to Lvov. I have not been there in probably 16 years or more, oh goodness I don't even want to count. We took the night train and in the morning Uncle Serezha picked us up from the station.
Apparently my brother George and uncle Serezha were big buddies.  George even gave his 3rd grade photo which uncle Serezha still keeps as a memory.

George also signed the photo and gave him a silver fork when were moving to the USA.  My brother is the best!
We had a lot of fun reminiscing and looking at old photo albums.  It is just crazy how time really flies.
Looking at the photo albums with great-aunt Raya!

In front of the Opera Building.

It was really cold and I was unfortunately sick so we ended up siting at a cafe for 3 hours drinking tea and coffee.  I think we are both obsessed with stripes ;)

Lvov is a really neat city, it is not as loud as Odessa and is a lot more quaint.
The next day we went to visit more family with aunts, cousins and babies :)
On the left is aunt Sveta and on the right is her daughter Anya with her daughter Liza. 

She has her father wrapped around her finger.  Here he is reluctantly giving his phone away..

Liza is an amazing multitasker!!!  She can go to the bathroom, used the cell phone and watch TV at the same time.  She was great, so much energy and spunk :)
Liza with her favorite blanket that she cannot live without :)

I wish we got to stay in Lvov a bit longer and that it was warmer but that is for the next time.  I really would like to take Ludwig there and show him where I come from. 
My last meal was of course my grandma Valya's famous pilmeni.  They are honestly the best I ever had anywhere from anyone. 
This picture perfectly shows how these two feel about their picture being taken ;) 
Last walk around the city!
Silly cousins :)
I am very happy I got to visit my family and be there for the Baptism, but the next time I go to Ukraine is only with Ludwig :)


  1. Tanya, these pictures are great! What an awesome experience! Thanks for sharing.

  2. wow, Tanya, you've written so much here on your blog!!! I am going to do some serious catching up this weekend.

    You are beautiful, my friend.

  3. we need to do some serious catching up ;)

  4. Tanya, that picture of George is A-MAZ-ING! So cute and funny.

  5. My brother is the best!!! We lost some of our photo albums during the numerous moves, and I really miss those old photos.