Posts in Food
The intriguing city of Poltava, Ukraine

If Poltava were an animal, it would be an alligator.

On our drive to the city, Kyrylo from Cobblestone Freeway Tours told us a story as a way to prepare us for our next home.

I don't remember the entire story word for word, so let me tell you my own version.

There was this guy. He was from a village. Not many people left this village. But he did. He went on an African safari where he spotted countless new sights. When he returned home to his village, he told his friends about what he saw.

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Easter in Ukraine

People jump up at a willow tree in a public square, grabbing low hanging branches to be blessed in church.

A boy laughs and runs around his grandma, trying to hit his dad with pussy willows.

Hundreds of people gather, ladies with their heads covered in scarves, waiting for their turn to go into church.

These are just a few scenes from Easter in Ukraine. I saw some Easter celebrations in Lutsk, like Palm Sunday and a large pysanky display, but I went to Lviv for Orthodox Easter weekend (April 7 to 9). Cobblestone Freeway Tours had a couple things planned for us girls, and my parents joined too.

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Exploring the streets of Chernivtsi

Chernivtsi felt like home.

I've had the feeling a few times while living in Ukraine, like the time we hosted the Virsky Studio dancers over for Canadian Thanksgiving in Kyiv or when my sister came to visit in Lviv or even any day I have a fully stocked fridge (OK, maybe not fully but more so than usual) after grocery shopping.

One reason I felt at home was because of the people, most notably the Bukovyna State Ensemble of Song and Dance. Another reason is because so many Canadians are from the Bukovynian region, which Chernivtsi is in.

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A not-so-traditional Christmas

Happy New Year!

I hope your holiday season was full of health and happiness, and if you're still celebrating (like us Ukrainians), may your stamina be strong (Old New Years is today, but the celebrations aren't done yet!).

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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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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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