It's close enough to Friday as I write this, meaning that my time in Ternopil is rapidly drawing to a close. I have merely one week left in Ukraine, before Jessica and I fly out of Lviv and into Vienna. After a few days of exploring Austria, I'll be heading home sweet home - absolutely crazy to think about!
There are a million and three things that I would love to accomplish before next Friday, but chances are I'll run out of time (and probably money as well). As I'm a big fan of lists, here is a glimpse at what I am affectionately referring to as my 'Ukrainian Bucket List.' Enjoy.
1. Buy (or make?) an appropriate thank you gift for Slava - something that she will actually use and appreciate, not something that will collect dust in one of the many shellacked wardrobes in this apartment... I am going to recruit Ira for help with this project ASAP.
2. Two words: Gelato. Mafia. We've been hearing delicious rumours about this little cafe from our tutors since May... our Ternopil experience would be incomplete without a visit.
3. Visit the family dacha. I need to represent the Vos family well, and prove that I do have a green thumb (even if it's a stretch). If nothing else, it will be a yummy experience - fresh berries and vegetables galore.
4. Go bowling with Olga and Yevhan. Another thing that we've been meaning to do with our tutors since May. Nothing like the last minute, eh!?
5. Host an Internat concert. We have rearranged concert plans several times, and will end up having a casual performance and a small party with the girls on Monday. Videos to be posted later, definitely.
6. Eat an entire "roll" of Морозово. Ukrainian ice cream (otherwise known as 'Морозово') is packed in the same fashion as sausage. Jessica and I plan to eat an entire roll of ice cream at some point in the next week (preferably while watching Saved By the Bell or Flight of the Conchords).
7. At least one evening per week, Jessica and I get together to catch up with the gang from Bayside. Zack, Slater, Kelly, Jessie, Lisa, and Screech have been a major part of our lives in Ukraine; it's sad, but we reference these characters as if they are our friends back in Waterloo. The two of us are determined to finish watching Season Three of Saved By the Bell over the course of the next week. (You know your life is rough when this is a task on a to do list...)
8. My Opa has a massive collection of license plates from all over Canada, the US, and the rest of the world. I'm pretty positive that I've yet to see any plates from Eastern Europe gracing the walls of the greenhouse barn, which still houses all of his license plates. I've talked to some of my people, who know people... but I still might have to beg, borrow, or steal a Ukrainian license plate for Opa. Not sure how I'm going to explain it when I go through customs in Lviv. Have I mentioned how intimidating these ex-Soviet guards are? Is anyone else familiar with the term 'KGB...?'
9. Finish taking pictures and videos of my Ukrainian life - and somehow organize (and minimize?) the hundreds of photos I've already taken over the last few months. I'm hoping to also copy the Internat documentary that our friend Vera, a journalism student from Kyiv, has put together to show everyone back home. It will also hopefully be used as a great resource for Beyond Borders or anyone interested in future placements.
10. Finalize my Vienna plans. I've booked a hostel (Mom, it seems safe, no worries) and have a few ideas of what I'd like to see and do in Austria... but am definitely open to any other suggestions from anyone that has visited the area before!
11. Have an order of Krapka fries, one last time. Given my reputation as a French fry connoisseur, me and my taste buds have ventured into many strange little restaurants in both Ukraine and Poland in search of the perfect fry. Turns out the ultimate Фрий (fries) were on the menu of our neighbourhood bar, Kрапка. Random fact of the day: in Ukraine, I have to pay for ketchup seperately. It's not free. It's been an issue.
12. Somehow bid farewell to the people that I have met and grown to love and appreciate here in Ternopil. My Ukrainian 'family' consists of Slava, who has graciously opened up her home and her life to an overwhelmed Canadian kid; her sons, Ihor and Olleg, their wives, Iryna and Tania, her granddaughter Ira, and her sister, niece, and grand-nephew Nazarycik. Other people who have been a huge part of my life here are our friends and tutors, Olga, Yevhen, and Oksana; our translator, Orest; Gayla and Paul, the American missionaries; Jill, another American with a heart of gold; the church community of Calvary Chapel; and The Davids (David Alenga and David 'Kenya'); Miri - the Third Musketeer and fellow partner in all activities Internat-related; and countless others who have welcomed us here.