Our first hour in Chernivtsi was slightly stressful, because our train was late getting in. We left the train station at 10am, and had approximately one hour to find a hotel, get checked in, dig through the bags for goodies Mom brought from the US, and navigate around the city to find the restaurant where we were set to have lunch with my Peace Corps friends.
Finding the hotel turned out to be the easiest part, and in record time we had a room in the Hotel Bukovina (if you’re ever in Chernivtsi, I’d definitely recommend it!). Mom quickly located the goodies, and I called my friends to tell them we were on the way. It turned out that our hotel was located very close to the restaurant we wanted to eat at, so everything turned out perfectly.
So we had lunch at a café called “Efes” with my cluster mates Tammela and Janira, and also our link mate Michelle, who works in Chernivtsi as a university professor. My friends all knew how excited I was about my Mom coming, and I know they were happy to meet her too! Mom brought them peanut butter, maple syrup, and other contraband from the US that can’t be found in Ukraine, so it was a wonderful reunion/second Christmas with some of my dearest friends in Ukraine : )
After lunch we walked around Chernivtsi for a bit, and looked for a hair salon where I could get my hair cut. This turned out to be an ongoing quest while Mom was here—looking for a salon! I hadn’t had my hair cut since before leaving for Peace Corps, and it was getting unreasonably long and unruly. We found one salon in Chernivtsi, but after waiting for a few minutes and feeling really perturbed by the stylist’s own hair style, I chickened out. So we just ended up strolling through Chernivtsi, enjoying the natural beauty of my favorite city in Ukraine : )
We even found a cute café called “Chocolate” that sold Stella Artois, which happens to be my Dad’s favorite beer. I took a picture so he could appreciate this after the fact : ) We wished you were here Dad!
So after a good night’s sleep at the Hotel Bukovina, Mom and I ventured out the next morning to the university in Chernivtsi, where my friend Michelle works. I’ve always been jealous of Michelle’s situation, because she lives in a great city and all of her students can actually speak English! (Michelle has a Masters degree, so she gets to be a university professor instead of a secondary teacher. I always refer to her as the lucky b****).
So while Michelle was teaching a class, Mom and I took a tour of the university. The only problem was that our tour-guide only spoke Ukrainian and French (which I really don’t know at all, despite 4 years of it in high school), so I had to be the translator for Mom. I’m not sure how well I did, but I could get most of the points across : ) The university in Chernivtsi is stunning, especially in spring. Here are some of my favorite photos.
After our tour, we sat in the park behind the university and enjoyed the beautiful day. When Michelle finished her class we met up for lunch and took Mom to our favorite Turkish restaurant in Chernivtsi. It was delicious, as always, and I was really sad when the time came to leave.
But Mom and I had a bus to catch, and this one was the most important because it was taking us all the way to Sokyriany, my home in Ukraine. Read on to the next blog post to find out what Mom thought of my hometown here!