The last few days of Rachel's visit, I took her back to Burty. My training site and first Ukrainian home. After all the moving I have done during my 7 months of service, Burty is the most stability I have in Ukraine. The people there - host family, neighbors, friends - freak out, literally, whenever their Americans 'come home' especially when we return with other Americans. Another volunteer, Ryan, was in Burty with his girlfriend during our visit. When Mama Olea found out about this she, literally, ran around our house and property screaming at people. Screaming at me. Screaming on the phone. Screaming at the chickens to get out from under her feet. Screaming to get people together to go meet Ryan and his visitor.
But I regress, Rachel and I arrived in Burty to visit for a few days before returning to Kyiv to catch her flight. Mama and Papa in Burty showed up us a regular dinner and showered Rachel with questions. 'Are you a volunteer too? Are you married? When will you return? How much was your plane ticket? Did you like Odessa? Why didn't Cassie tell us she had a sister? You are not sisters? You look exactly the same!' Baba Tonya showed up for dinner too so I spent more time translating rather than eating. During dinner, I told Papa Volodia that Rachel is musican - she plays the sax - to which he was very excited. I asked if he could play some music for us during our visit. His reaction, "Yeah I can. What are you doing right now?" With that, we left the kitchen house and set up to party in the living room. Rachel took a turn on the accoridon before Papa V began to play. We all danced and sang and worked off our borsch and potatoes.
Our time in Burty was simple, quiet, and smooth. I applaud Rachel for not hesitating to use the outhouse or take a bucket bath when needed. She got to love our farm cats and dogs. We even got to hitch-hike home from the grocery. (The grocery is only 3 blocks away but I have a new, old man friend who always offers to drive me.) I tried to introduce her to as many people as I could so more of the characters in my stories would make sense. We, successfully, took each mode of transport Ukraine offers: train, metro, bus, tram, car, taxi.
Just like Zvenihorodka, when Rachel left, she was missed and welcomed to return quickly.
Baba Tonya, Rachel or Me, Papa Volodia, and Mama Olea.
Papa Volodia found a new friend in Rachel real quick.
Papa Volodia told me, "So many pretty girls. I am so lucky!"
Rachel loving on the new farm cat, Regick the Second.
Evidence of a wonderful summer, day and night.