Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meeting the family

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to go to Ukraine was to see my Dad and meet his Ukrainian family.  I had met his wife Tanya a few times in Canada and I quite liked her.  However, I hadn't gotten a chance to really get to know her (being that we didn't speak much of the same language at the time) and I really wanted to meet her sons (oldest Andrei, youngest Roman), their wives (Tania and Lena respectively), and her grand-daughter, Masha.

Tanya arranged to have the family come over for Sheshlik (shesh-leek) which is basically the Russian / Ukrainian BBQ.  It is a ton of meat on a stick over hot coals.  Everyone gets about 1 lb of meat and it is awesome.  We all sat around, ate ourselves silly, laughed hysterically, and felt like family.

We decided we needed a picture of the whole gang.  It's not quite complete -- being that it's missing our brother, his wife, LynnieC, and The Guy -- but it was close, so we took the picture.  Both sides of the family would like to have the whole group together eventually.  We will work on that.

Meeting Tanya's family was like meeting my own family.  The boys were like brothers immediately.  Roman and I got along famously despite not being able to talk much at all.  We tried to pass information to each other with miming and such.  Then I tried to tell him I had been practising Russian words.  I said "Computer"  Roman nodded "Da."  Then I started to count in Russian -- "adeen, dva, tree, cheturny, pyat, cheest".  Roman grinned "one, two, three, four, five!"  Like Tanya said to a lady who asked if Ky and I could speak Russian "Well, they can count."

Back Row: (L-R) Ky, Lena, Roman, Dad, Andrei, Tania      Front Row: Baba Galya, Tanya, Maxim, Masha, Tania's M, me
After dinner, I showed pictures of The Guy's and my house to Andrei and Tania.  I was showing them the unfinished pictures of the backyard, trying to explain things to them in stilted English with Dad's stilted Russian.  I was going through the pictures slowly and then clicked once more.  The picture was not of my yard.  It was of a sock puppet.  Andrei burst out laughing and I died of embarrassment. 

Maxim and Masha
Maxim technically isn't family.  Yet.  He visits his Grandmother on a pretty regular basis next door to my Dad.  He and Masha are best friends and everyone (including Masha) is pretty sure they will be married one day.  They are especially adorable despite his tendency for short-shorts and her pouty lip that will certainly land a rooster if my Dad's warnings are true.

Volk (in the background) and Bobik (in the foreground)
Volk and Bobik are Dad's dogs.  They are precious, but poorly behaved.  Dad has a theory about raising dogs which he shared with me when Vicki and Monty were little.  "Dogs are a lot like kids.  You leave 'em alone and they figure it out."  Isn't it a good thing that Mom did most of the raising of us?  Ky taught them to sit almost immediately upon arriving.  They helped me not miss my own puppy as much.

Kuchma the cat
Since my new found love of cats was brought to light, I have been spotting adorable cats ever since.  Kuchma was pretty awesome.  He couldn't come into the house (stupid Ky and her exploding eyeballs -- but I cannot find that post at all!!!) so I cuddled him lots outside.  He had a spot on the side of his head under his ear that if I scratched, he would kick his back leg like a dog.  It was hilarious.  I couldn't remember his name though (he's named after a past Ukrainian political leader) so I had to call him Coochie-coochie- Kuchma!

Now I've met the whole family, I can picture things better when Dad talks about them.  I can't wait to see them all again!


  1. Your dad looks so over-the-moon-ridiculously-proud in that family photo!

    Note to self: ask Ky how your dad met Tania.

  2. Where's the picture of the sock puppet?

  3. It's my sock puppet, so I'll post a picture of it and do up a blog. Once I get the picture, that is.


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