Monday, October 23, 2006

Such a good day today/yesterday (Sunday) - must be because of the weather, Indian Summer. One of those days when I feel so happy to live in Kyiv.

Must be also because there are very few cars here on weekends, unlike the rest of the week.

Kyiv has grown so big; night traffic at the Besarabka/Khreshchatyk corner that I see from our window is mesmerizing - all the glowing, non-stop, like an electronic music video.

I've noticed today that during the day, when the crowd on Khreshchatyk isn't too drunk yet, there's a lot of beautiful Ukrainian language out there: normally, I pay more attention to what people look like, not how they speak, but today I kept eavesdropping on the bits of relaxed weekend conversations in Ukrainian - and loved it.

Loved it so much that, on the way to the tiny and cozy courtyard of St. Sophia's, I suddenly had a craving for something Ukrainian to read. I stopped at a tiny Ukrainian-language bookstore that exhibits a selection of its books outdoors when the weather's nice (located on that tiny street that starts near Zoloti Vorota and goes parallel to Volodymyrska towards St. Sophia's). I bought Lesya Ukrainka's biography (13 hryvnias/$2.60, published in 1971, signed by the author, Anatol Kostenko, for poet Oleksa Novytsky) and a work on Petro Mohyla - read from both of them while Marta was taking her afternoon nap. Loved it, of course.

On the way back home, I passed a group of krishna/hippie/dervish kind of people who do the Whirling Dervish kind of dance on Khreshchatyk every weekend. Two girls were circling around in a trance, in those amazingly beautiful skirts of theirs, a beautifully happy-looking bearded man was beating the beat for them on a drum, and another guy was playing some repetetive tune on a flute. A dozen or so people stood nearby, watching. Among them was an old woman - a village woman, most likely, though she wasn't wearing a headscarf - and she was singing, she was sharing the beat with the whirling girls and singing in Ukrainian, the song that I think I recognized because Mishah used it to calm Marta down in the first months - but he had been performing it in that exaggerated, funny "goat" voice, while the old woman on Khreshchatyk was singing it beautifully - "Oy, u vyshnevomu sadku, tam soloveiko shchebetav, dodomu ya prosylasya, a ty mene vse ne puskav..." (Update: mp3 is here - thank you, R. Smith!!!)

A lovely day.


Two pictures from St. Sophia's:


  1. Dear Neeka, Thank you for allowing us to share in your beautiful reverie, and thank you for your daily insights, commentary, and observations. Please keep it up !

  2. I'm going to have to track down that tune now, because I've only ever heard the words sung by Pikkardiys'ka Tertsia, to the tune of "She's got it!". :-)

  3. Found it, by the way. It's here.