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Posts tagged ‘Ukraine’

flying fifteen

This summer marks fifteen years since D first picked up a disc and started playing ultimate frisbee, a trajectory that has taken him from his New England college team to pick-up games in Spain and Costa Rica, tournaments throughout East Africa, and most recently the role of field captain for Moldova’s Flying Mamaligas

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Black Sea pearl

Unlike the Danube Delta, which required advanced planning and a full day of travel to reach, Odessa is so close to Moldova that we always figured we would just go. Ukraine’s storied Black Sea port is a 3-hour-drive away from Chisinau, yet we never quite managed to make our way across the border. Though to be fair, for a significant part of our tour Ukraine was off-limits for Embassy personnel. This month, we finally found a good reason to go.

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Moldovan wanderings

We recently took advantage of a friend’s impromptu visit to Chisinau to see a few corners of Moldova we had yet to visit.

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impromptu staycation

We had planned to spend last weekend in Ukraine. There was an indoor frisbee tournament at a sports complex outside Odessa, the seaside Ukrainian resort town that is just across Moldova’s south-eastern border. While D played, S intended to do some touristing with Munchkin, with the hopes that D would save a little energy to go out with her in the evenings. Among its attractions, Odessa has an excellent restaurant scene and a well-regarded opera house. Unfortunately, an administrative snafu (emphasis on the last two letters) forced us to cancel the trip just hours before our planned departure.

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on the road with the Flying Mamaligas

Uganda. Rwanda. Ukraine. And we can now add Bulgaria to the list of countries that we visited mainly for the sake of playing in an Ultimate frisbee tournament.

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a touristic taste of Moldova

With exciting tourist possibilities – the opportunity to see a pack of wild dogs polish off an impala or to watch elephants at the watering hole while hanging out with the safari camp’s pet kudu – we had a veritable parade of visitors when we lived in Kenya. Far fewer people appear to be tempted by Moldova’s wineries and pastoral idyll, but we are hoping that Munchkin’s cuteness lures at least a few friends and family to visit us in Chisinau. Thus far, we have had just one visitor – S’s mom, who helped her make the daunting trip from one little-known place in northern Maine to another in Eastern Europe.

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ice age

The wintery weather we had sought in vain in Bukovel caught up with us as soon as we headed back to Chisinau. Snow fell for most of the day and it took us three more hours to backtrack across the snow-swept country roads back to Moldova than it had taken us on the way to Bukovel. Even the Moldovans now agree that winter has come in earnest.

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The trees in Chisinau are heavy with ice. They rattle menacingly when the night wind whistles through their branches.  Read more

man makes plans and God laughs

So there we were, barreling down Bukovel’s steepest, iciest slope when a wild boar charged out of the woods right into our path. We swerved to avoid him, but D caught an edge and, as the famous Russian movie line goes, he slipped, fell, and came to in a cast. At least that was the version of the events suggested by D’s Moldovan friend. The truth, sadly, is much less exciting than fiction.

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Soviet nostalgia

In an earlier post we hinted at the faint sense of déjà vu that has colored D’s return to Eastern Europe. It is a fleeting feeling, one that usually lays dormant until it is unexpectedly triggered by a conversation, a meal, or a simple stroll along the streets. It is a feeling that is hard to convey in words; thankfully, pictures usually help where words do not suffice. Now that we have finally found the time to sort through the thousands of photographs we’ve taken since moving to this corner of the world, we’d like to share a few images.

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just as we were expecting

No sooner had we returned from Ukraine than it was time to repack our bags for another trip. It is standard State Department practice to send employees and their family members who need medical care to regional hubs where the healthcare standards are on par with those in the United States. In our case, London serves as the medevac point, and S was due for her second trimester screening. We did not yet know the gender of our baby, so D asked for a couple days of leave so that we could receive the news together, and see London besides.

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