Monday, June 21, 2010


We went to Ukraine over the weekend, for a family reunion with Alla's cousins. They live in the town of Romny, which is on the main rail line towards Crimea. The town has changed little in recent years, though there is definitely wear and tear.
The asphalt sidewalks, for example, are deteriorating and you can see the old brick and stone sidewalks below. We speculated on how much fun it would be to see the original sidewalks restored, but of course there is no money for that right now.

It was a real joy to be with Allas cousins and other relatives, and they took really good care of us. We were met with spectacular food and a delicious lunch, and enjoyed several great meals together and a couple of great walks around the town.

Romny is a quiet place with big trees and shady avenues. The people who live there clearly love it, but it's small enough that it doesn't draw me the way Minsk does. Family, however, is a big draw.

Family members in Romny live simply, carrying on some aspects of traditional life. While they have indoor plumbing, they do still have a summer toilet and a summer shower. In the spirit of the season, I used both of them. The summer toilet is actually just an outhouse, but it's made of stone and it's cool enough that it doesn't smell. The summer shower is a magnificent wooden cabinet with a black tank on the roof, where water is heated by sunlight.

I can describe Romny much better with photographs than with words, so I hope you will click here so see my album.

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