a lovely little place
Yesterday was Ukrainian Independence Day, and Uzhgorod was apparently the place to be. Wandering around for a while, I found an outdoor concert of traditional Ukrainian music and dancing, with performances from groups from all over Zakarpattia. I watched for a while, eating shashlik and cotton candy. Western Ukraine definitely does the traditional stuff well.
Slept in a wonderfully comfortable bed last night, the best I've had in quite some time (and the bathroom here is in the top five I've seen in Ukraine). Breakfast comes with the price of the room, so this morning I had homemade blinchiki (thin pancakes) with domashnii syr (sort of like cottage cheese), sour cream, and fruit preserves. It's a great place, but it's a little odd for me, after having host families, to have Ella ask, "So what time is best for you for breakfast in the morning?" I'm used to Mama Luda or Marina saying, "Breakfast is at ______," and then I make sure I'm up on time. :)
Today, I met up with Oksana, the secretary at Wesley Bible College, and she showed me around. It's quite small...they were originally in Kyiv but moved to Uzhgorod a year ago due to a fire in Kyiv, and last year they only had 5 students. But the facilities are nice, and Oksana and I hit it off well (she's a couple of years older than I am). We had tea and cookies and got to know each other a bit. She lives with her parents part-time but tends to have a lot of several-month-long house-sitting jobs, which I could relate to. The church she goes to (not the Methodist one here, but another evangelical church in town) is hosting a seminar on Israel this weekend, and she invited me to come tonight--apparently there's going to be music, perhaps dancing, and preaching. Should be interesting.
Then I came back to the center and wandered around. I sat on a bench and listened to an old street musician play his violin, bought myself a new black skirt for winter (on sale), and went to "Tortilla" for a late lunch. "Tortilla," despite its name, isn't really Mexican at all. I had the Hutsul-style pork (the Hutsuls are an ethnic group from this area) with homestyle fried potatoes. It ended up being a pork steak stuffed with hard salami, mushrooms, and what was either some sort of cheese or boiled egg white, all under a white sauce. It tasted very good, but it's so hot out and the food was heavier than I'm used to, being more Central European in style, and I couldn't manage to finish it. But it was good!