My new neighborhood on Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas friends! What a wonderful holiday season so far. Yesterday I moved into my own apartment, woke up to my first Ukrainian snowfall and today was able to set up internet and talk with my family and Breno during their holiday celebrations. My apartment is wonderful. I have hot water, one big bedroom/living room, a kitchen, a marvelous black & white TV on which I have to turn a dial to change the channel, a lovely balcony looking out at the neighborhood, and endless cupboards filled with old tea cups and saucepans.

Christmas eve feast: Ukrainian perogie, salad and lukewarm beer

To celebrate the holiday, my site mate John and I got together and made Ukrainian perogies (from scratch, i.e. potatoes). If you know me well, you know it is a big deal for me to cook and I was very scared that I would either blow up my kitchen or give myself the runs for a few days. Fortunately, I had a good recipe from my host mother in Chernihiv and their only fault was a little crusty burnt part. We finished the evening with some classy American poker games. The leftovers are currently stored in my handy dandy balcony that doubles as a refrigerator during the winter months.

My refrigerator

Ispent Christmas day at my counterpart Lesia’s mother’s country house outside of Romny. She prepared a marvelous feast of food that took us three rounds of eating, relaxing in the living room, sipping the homemade wine, eating, relaxing, wineing, eating, relaxing, wineing to finish and sample all the various spreads of food. Lesia’s mother also gave me a huge goodie bag filled with a winter’s supply of potatoes, carrots and cabbage for which I am extremely grateful.

My supply of cabbage, potatoes and carrots from Lesia's mother.