Slava has a sister.
And her sister (I have yet to learn and/or remember her name yet! Terrible, I know... but in my defense, I have had an awful lot to learn in the last four days!) has a grandson, Nazarycik.
Nazarycik has a love for the telephone, and Slava usually gets a call from Nazary (nickname) once or twice a day. She has put me on the phone with him a few times, especially since our eventful afternoon of soccer and my 'tato,' Mr. Rogers. Last night (8:30ish?), she gave me the phone with Nazary excitedly questioning me. Slava then got out our trusty Ukrainian/English dictionary, pointing to a question: 'I would like to extend to you an invitation to my home.'
Laughing, I say "Nich?" (Nich = night). Slava is taking off her apron by this point, putting on her sweater, ready to head out the door. I say "Pa pa" (bye bye) to Nazary... we are off for a visit. Igor (pronounced 'Eehorr') picks us up near the bus stop and off we go, ready to enjoy an evening of fine company.
By the time we get to Nazary's apartment, it is about 9:00. Slava's sister has been cooking (Ukrainians are ALWAYS cooking!) and Ollah, Nazary's mother, has just gotten home from work by the looks of it. Nazary greets me with a handshake, a hug, and broken English - "Hallll ooohhhh Jenneeeeeee furrrrah!" Meanwhile his Grandmother (for simplicity's sake, I'm going to refer to her as 'Babushha' until I discover her name).
Babushka has prepared us a feast. Ollah brings out a bottle of wine ('vah NOH') and five little glasses, about twice the size of a standard Canadian shot glass. Yes, this does include one for little Nazary... after we clink our glasses together in a toast (which happens multiple times over the course of this evening), he sips his little portion of wine, wrinkling his face as if it were poison (yet of course, still begging for more when we are poured another glass!).
We ate bread (slathered in butter and healthy helpings of cheese), a mystery meat (quite delicious, whatever it was), what appeared to be macaroni salad, a salad made up of mixed greens, potatoes (I think I've had potatoes at least twice a day since Sunday), kielbassa, and tort (aka... cake!).
"Yiste, yiste, yiste!" Everytime I paused, Babushka and Slava insisted that I "yiste" (EAT!) much more, no matter what kind of actions I made to portray that I was absolutely, ridiculously STUFFED from "yisting" so much.
Nazary and I played, despite my sleepiness after consuming so much food (and just being wiped out from the daily events, generally speaking). Not surprisingly, he had a mini foosball set, soccer style which kept us entertained. I scored one goal for every six (not exaggerating this!) that he scored on me. I was trying very hard, and was getting embarassed at my inadequacy... We also worked intently on a puzzle, and he helped me practice my Ukrainian alphabet - an excellent little tutor he was.
Before long, it was nearly midnight - and Slava and I needed to walk back to her apartment. I trusted Slava, assuming that we would be safe tramping through the dark streets of Ternopil at this time of night. I offered my arm to her like a gentlman would (please, no laughter) and off we went. We passed many iffy-looking characters, I prayed for our safety. We were back at the apartment within half an hour, and enjoyed our little adventure through the neighbourhood (although Mom, I promise I will not make that journey by my self anytime soon!). Slava had chatted my ear off, and I interjected with one of my 12 Ukrainian words whenever possible. A beautiful friendship is blooming :)