Eating Horse and other Transgressions Against the Child Within

Before I left my stretch of gravel road and cherry trees, my brother came over at midnight and we burned my stuffed bunny. Like the pagan kings of old.

His name was Easter and we first met on the day I was forced to breath for myself. We had many exploits, most of which included bandages with red marker stains and mobilization to concentration camps. Right about when I became more sentimental than imaginative, Easter became torn in ways that were embarrassing to him and he took refuge in the attic (among close friends who loved him for who he was and who he had been).

As I packed my life up, he came out of hiding and sat on my dresser (his self-consciousnesses mellowed with age). I thought to bury him with a few other relics so he would not be forced to leave his homeland, but I was in a back brace and it hadn’t rained for a long time. And then I was going to burn him but burning season was over. (And, please don’t say I should have thrown him away. You do not throw away your childhood and/or those you love. You say farewell. There are rituals. There is honor.)

So…we have a barbecue.

Thus it was that my oldest brother, a father of four, business owner, and general valiant man on this earth, came and helped me wrap up Easter and joined us in the parting glass (and/or shot of vodka) and lit the flame.

I’ve always been a strong advocate for not growing up.
And I think I still am.
But there is a difference between willing retaining pieces of your early identity and wonder and pretending that everything will always be pretend concentration camps (substitute with Barbies or train engines, if that was your thing. I am very happy for you and congratulate you on your possible need for less counseling).

In one way, you must be allowed to change. In another, you must remember what it is like to hold on to what inspired you. Mocking what was dear, never gets you anywhere. (It’s also probably a deadly sin in my family’s psyche.)

I really don’t know where this is going…except to horse sausage.

You should understand that in the days of my youth I was obsessed with horses. The originality of this fixation is humiliating. I raised and nurtured hundreds of rabbits, sheep, and goats in my search for something that could be led by a halter and potentially kill you (and cost you $$$$). I owned all the books. Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West flowed from my felt pens and earned me my biggest government check to date when my hieroglyphics won Special Award at our county fair. In it angry men drove scratched and bleeding stallions to their certain doom. This was more or less the peak of my artistic career and similar drawings fill my sketchbooks.

I also learned to scorn journalist and believe good fiction was the only answer to life’s complicated problems (this is likely to be true for 6-year-olds). I also distinctly remember a vow never to become a teacher, because teachers all became a certain way, and while that might be fine for them (I was a generous child), it was not okay for me. I also whined regularly about going to our church camp…or traveling anywhere. 

Thus it is that this silly, wandering, wondering girl sits…
in Ukraine, eating horse sausage, teaching English (sorta…not really), writing a terrible blog post to distract herself from her journalist work.

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From Kyiv

Kyiv, Ukraine. Finally got some pictures once I was emotionally able to hold my phone again and take a picture without dancing a merry, holiday jig.

I’m actually not in Kyiv anymore, but I was yesterday. And I thought “From Kyiv” might give you more of a picture of where I am than if I said where I really am. (Kyiv is not in North America or Asia.)

Today is my 15th day in Ukraine. My 23rd day since leaving my home for the last time. Ever. (Please blame my parents for moving while I am gone.)

This blog may or may not continue for those of you who have asked how you will know if I am still breathing and writing while not “home.” Others who are bored are welcome to read it as well. Also, you can comment and you will make me happy and I will have warm feelings of assurance that I am not simply posting for the amusement of the phantoms wandering the world wide web.

If you have not seen the Carpathian mountains, you ought to before you die. I can’t help you because I didn’t get any pictures. In fact, the instant I hit the ground in the Ukraine I became too busy crowing at the skies, smelling the dirt, and skipping and falling on my face into gravel with children’s hands in both of mine.
(If you take my counsel and find yourself on an adventure to the Carpathian mountains and you are remotely tender of head or hoof, bring a padded suit and/or a hover aircraft. The roads are just a tiny bit bumpy. *insert understanding wink/shot of vodka* <– Whatever your convictions allow.)

After the family camp in the mountains we came back to this city in which I now live and Ye Olde Mother Hubbard (the esteemed matriarch of my kin) and others had a mini-conference on home education. It’s still sketchy and mostly unknown here in Ukraine, but, I think, a possible and important step towards stronger, solid options for Christians here.

Then we went back on the road and visited a friend and his family and church in a town. It was generally magical, but you can’t explain these things in this way. (Also I may not know you well enough to share such unexplaineable and beautiful vibes that, although you are no doubt worthy, are not meant for strangers. Also, I am lazy.)

Then…a Catholic church incident and the tables of ever reproducing food and the food in the teeth and the food on the face and food…everywhere.

From the top of lots of steps. But it was okay because it was the most glorious, beautiful weather you could imagine. The first sight seeing I remember in Ukraine without anyone dying of heat stroke. #OregonBorn
From the top of lots of steps. But it was okay because it was the most glorious, beautiful weather you could imagine. The first sight seeing I remember in Ukraine without anyone dying of heat stroke. #OregonBorn

Then I was back in Kyiv for the first time since the first time.
I sat in churches and looked at ceilings and thought about when I first looked at these ceilings on my very first day in Ukraine and how I sat on steps from the 11th century and talked to my best friend about our lives and what we wanted to do and where we wanted to be. And then I had my 2nd day in Ukraine and then my 3rd and then… (You get the idea).
And all those plans were ruined because…Ukraine.

That’s all I have to say for now, I guess.

*not pictured: a wonderful, beautiful week in Hungary with the saints and many, many giving, loving, welcoming Hungarians, Ukrainians, and Polish people. And tables laden with food and alcohol. More than you can imagine. Also, brown toilet paper and stray dogs and so, so, so much sweat.