Friday, January 23, 2009

Paka Kiev! Hejsa Denmark!

Internet at last! I've been in Copenhagen all week and and just now we're being connected to the real world...barely. Every few minutes I hear one of my flat mates groaning as their connection fades out, slows down, or stops we'll see if I get lucky.

A year's worth of adventures have happened in the past week, and there's no way that I can get it all down here, but I'll do my best. I guess the best thing to do would be to backtrack and do a continuation of my time in Kiev.

During the last 3 days in Kiev, I had eaten pure lard, had full fledged body language conversations, butchered both Russian and Ukrainian, and destroyed my feet dancing until 6am in 4 inch heels.

If the first half of my time in Kiev was all about the history, then the second half was fully dedicated to experiencing Kiev's social scene...and by that, I mean the nightlife. Thursday night, Ira took me out to her favorite club, Patipa, for its weekly R&B/Hip Hop night, where I was introduced to the European way of going out, which doesn't conclude until around 5:00 or 6:00am (very unlike Minnesota where everything is closed by 2:00). Not only did we meet up with some of Ira's old friends from school, but we managed to befriend an entire group of Nigerian rappers who wanted to make us mixed tapes the next day.

But, instead of taking them up on their offer, Ira and I spent Friday night hanging out at one of her friends' apartments, which was probably my favorite night in Kiev. There, I was the only American and without any Russian skills, had to make due with gestures and random Russian words I learned over the week to communicate with the ones who didn't speak English. Either way, everyone got a kick out of initiating me into Ukrainian culture and trying to teach me random Russian phrases, so nevertheless, it was a night full of lots of laughing.

The last day in started not at a church or a club, but at a shooting range. Where Ira showed me up by making about 95% of her shots, while I got laughed at by the Ukrainian instructor in Russian because I only made about 50%. Never having shot a gun before, I spent the whole time terrified that I would miss something between the instruction and Ira's translation and wind up shooting a person rather than a target...I left the shooting range shaking...

Again, the night was full of dancing. But this time, it began at the ballet, where we saw the one act ballets of Carmen and Sheherezade. Not only was the dancing incredible, but the venue, the Kiev opera house, was breathtaking. Of course, we ended the night dancing at a 3 storied club called Arena with all of Ira's friends. It was a perfect ending to an incredible trip.

With each day, I grew to love Kiev more . The buildings, the fashion, the night life, the language (every sign posed an alphabetic puzzle)…what’s not to love? I was asked many times "why are you here? Why would you come to Kiev?"...but despite the skepticism behind these questions, I loved every moment and will be returning again. (Plus, I made a promise to Ira's mom that I would come back after taking some Russian...and I don't want to break that promise.)

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