Friday, December 23, 2011

The Era of Ira

So the Peace Corps does many interesting things. One being that during training, our language teachers switch places. Sasha was with us for 4 weeks, left for 3 weeks, and come back for another 4 weeks. For 3 weeks, the Burty cluster was graced with the presence of an elegant, small but mighty, quick witted woman. Her name was Iryna or Ira for short. Since my host home was also host to our classroom, she and I spent many nights chatting over tea and looking at photos of of each other's families. I admired her spunk and drive. She admired the ambition of 5 Americans to live in extreme unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people while making such a place our home. Ira and I got to cook together, listen to long stories from Mama Olea, and wander around Burty to find enough cell phone coverage to call her son. Ira was a huge encouragement to my language abilities. She has worked very hard throughout her life and education, to now have a great job teaching English to crazy, mystified Americans. Her stories and photos of her family's farm and its beauty made us all eager for spring and summer and the ability to visit her. 

Once the girls and I discovered that Ira was a knitting queen (she has entered her pieces in many fashion shows and won awards), we purchased yarn and went to town. Amidst cookie making, tea drinking, learning to write with our toes, and vastly more laughter at each other, we all finished a piece. I am the proud owner of patch work knitted hat that, most likely, appear a lot in later posts. I am currently working on a matching scarf. Winter in long in Ukraine so I'm confident it will be done by spring! 

The photos below are either 1) borrowed from Ira 2) borrowed from Anna 3)mine! 

Anna offered up her Betty Croker peanut butter cookie mix and magic happened. 

With a few mugs of fresh, cold milk, a little bit of home was created. 

No one moved for several hours. Just loop, loop, loop, loop......

A rare but necessity talent. 
In addition to teaching, knitting, fluency in multiple languages, Ira is pretty good on the guitar.
She borrowed Sasha's guitar while he was gone and got a few 'Ireland's Basic Chord' lessons while she was with us.
Between Papa's accordion, Anna's voice, Mama's dancing, Sasha and Drew on their guitars, our Burty was always full of sound and movement. Sam, Caitlin, and I gladly joined in with whatever backup we could offer! 

She made all that pink and purple wonderfulness.

Giving her a proper, escorted send off. 

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