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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Lviv: A photographer's paradise

I think I found the winter wonderland everyone keeps singing about.

It's Lviv.

As I write this, giant snowflakes fall from the sky  the ones that are just fluffy enough that they're not too wet that they soak your clothes and not too dry that they hurt your eyes.

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St. Andrews Day and other traditions in Lviv

Happy St. Nicholas Day! (Or happy belated St. Nicholas Day to all those back home in the west who celebrate it on Dec. 9.)

Lviv is alive with the holiday spirit. The snow here may come and go (last week it was 4 C and rainy just about every day, but this week we're back to the minuses), but that doesn't mean the feeling of Christmas and New Years isn't here. The streets are decorated, the Christmas markets are full of gifts, and the skating rink in Rynok Square is open.

I've heard stories of how special it is to spend the holidays in Ukraine Lviv in particular and I'm so thankful to experience it for myself. Last week, I took part in folk celebrations on the eve of St. Andrews Day, a day full of jokes, games, and fortune telling.

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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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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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Chornobyl: Visiting the site of a disaster

The mystery around the Chernobyl disaster is fascinating.

The number of deaths linked to the April 26, 1986 explosion varies between sources. So does who's responsible.

Thirty-one people died from the explosion itself, but thousands of deaths are linked to its radiation.

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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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