Missing family, making family, and visiting family abroad

I've been away from my family and friends for three and a half months. As I'm sure you can imagine, I miss them. But I wouldn't say I'm home sick. Just "people sick."

I miss lunches at Baba and Gigi's, sibling dinner dates, running around with my niece and nephew, answering my mom's technology questions (though, this is still ongoing), checking out a sports game with my dad, and laughing, eating, singing, dancing, and chatting with my friends.

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My time in Kyiv: An overview

Just as I was starting to feel comfortable in Kyiv, more into a routine, I moved. Two Sundays ago, my roommate and I sat on our couch to thank our apartment for the shelter it provided and the good times we had. (Kyrylo, someone helping organize our year in Ukraine, said it's a Ukrainian tradition to thank your home).

Though I was sad to leave, I am happy to be in Lviv, the city that made me fall in love with this country three years ago.

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Kaitlin Vitt 4 Comments
What's On Kyiv magazine relaunch

In September, the English magazine What's On Kyiv relaunched after being on a break since the Euromaidan Revolution/Revolution of Dignity in 2014. It's a lifestyle and culture magazine, highlighting issues, events, and people in Ukraine.

I'll be writing for What's On every month, giving readers my take on the Ukrainian lifestyle as someone who hasn't spent a considerable amount of time in the country, until now.

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The legendary Virsky studio floor

I’ve danced on many memorable floors.

In Hungary, there was the stage made of rotting wood, the holes hidden by fallen leaves and twigs.

In Croatia, there was the concrete stage we danced on while it was pouring rain. And then it started storming, the lightning striking as we hit a pose.

In Ukraine, just a couple months ago, I danced on a raked stage, meaning it inclined toward the back of the stage so the audience had a better view (but the dancers had a harder time).

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A day full of dance in the Virsky studio

I'm still standing.

It's been a month since I started training with the Virsky studio group, and nearly two months since my Ukraine adventure started.

After one month of dancing six days a week for three hours a day that's right, 18 hours per week my body's not broken yet. Coming from dancing up to only six hours per week back home, I was worried about how I'd react to 18 per week. But so far so good.

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Living in Ukraine and not knowing the language

I walk the walk but I don't talk the talk.

While walking the streets, ordering in restaurants, and buying groceries people have mistaken me and the other Canadians/Americans as locals. We just smile and shake our heads or offer a "Я не знаю" (I don't know) or "Я не розумію" (I don't understand).

I do my best to keep up at dance, and at times (very few times, that is) I even blend in with the other 40 dancers, if I do say so myself.

But the language, I'm not quite there yet.

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Kaitlin Vitt 4 Comments
A week in the life with Virsky studio

While we're in Kyiv, we're training with the studio group of P. Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble (commonlya known as Virsky). The studio group has about 40 dancers who train six days per week for three hours per day. There's also the Virsky school with younger dancers. Many of the studio dancers were with the school, but others have moved to Kyiv from surrounding areas.

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Starting my stay with Troyanda's tour

I was supposed to tour Ukraine with my dance group, Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, in 2014, but because of the Euromaidan Revolution, the tour was cancelled. Visiting Ukraine has been on our minds since, and this year we made the trip happen. And conveniently, our tour ended just days before the yearlong program started.

I wrote about the 15-day tour at troyanda.com/blog, so check that out for more details of what we did and what we saw, but below are some photo highlights from the trip. We stayed in Lviv, the Carpathian Mountains, Zhytomyr, Chernivtsi, and Kyiv but also made stops in other cities and villages, including Kolomyia and Mamaivtsi.

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Why I moved to Ukraine for 10 months

Привіт!

What makes a science student turned journalism student move to Ukraine to study dance for nearly a year?

Well, if you think of a good reason, let me know and I'll pass it along to my parents.

Actually, it's not so out of the blue. I've been a Ukrainian dancer for 19 years, starting out with Rossdale Ukrainian Dance School then Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, a group I joined seven years ago.

In 2014, Troyanda travelled through Croatia, Hungary, and Austria, and after our trip, I went with my mom and her cousin to Ukraine for a few days to meet our relatives. Our connection to them is my mom's baba (grandmother) who moved to Canada in the early 1900s.

I've been interested in Ukrainian culture for a while, dance sparking my interest. Through dance, I've learned about folklore, traditions, and history, but I never made studying Ukrainian culture my focus until now.

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