Visiting Family
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The Christening Visiting Babushka

The last time I came to visit I was the guest of honor at a very large dinner put on by Tamara's mother's brother's family, Uncle Vidya (Victor). This time was no exception. As you can see in this photo, they put on quite a spread! There was even more variety than I recalled at the last big dinner over four years ago. There were a couple kinds of salads, meat and potato dishes, various mushrooms, stuffed peppers, pickles, golubtsi (cabbage rolls), varenki (sort of a sweet stuffed pastry), katletya (a spicy meat patty), and of course some champagne and horilka (Ukrainian vodka) to wash it all down with. For desert we ran to the market to get a couple of big ice cream cakes! I know it sounds like a lot of food (and drink!), but typically these dinners spread over 2 or 3 hours so you have plenty of time to digest along the way. We just won't even talk about the calories...

The Big Spread
Tamara's Sisters

Since I had anticipated this reunion dinner before we even came to Kyiv, and I knew there would be plenty of toasting, at home I had prepared a short speech to give myself, ... in Russian. I toiled over that speech for hours it seemed and even after a couple of belts of horilka I was not sure I could pull it off. It was a toast to family and the main theme was how we now spanned two worlds, two cultures, but were one family. I ended it by ripping off an old Irish toast that goes, "When you marry a Ukrainian girl, you marry Ukraine!" It was a big hit, whew.

In this photo, left to right, is yours truly, Tamara's cousin Tanya, Sasha, who is Ludmilla's husband, she is on the far right. Tamara grew up with Tanya and Ludmilla and always refers to them as her sisters.

On the left you can see Uncle Vidya. Moving right, the first boy is Vidya also (we call him Vidya malinki or "small Vidya"). The bigger boy (who is the same age as Vidya) is our son Michael (Misha) who is holding up Seanushka. Children