The 9th of May

Peace Corps / Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Yesterday was Victory Day here in Ukraine. For a while, I thought it meant it was the day WWII ended (or as they say here, the Great Patriotic War) but a student explained it as something slightly different recently and now I’m confused. The Great Patriotic War was explained as a portion of the war separate from the whole. I still celebrated, despite any misinformation.

I’ve been looking forward to Victory Day for some time now because it means there would be a party/celebration in the city center. Celebrations in the city center mean one thing that’s otherwise hard to come by unless you make it yourself: shashlik. It’s basically marinated, grilled meat and it makes me salivate, without a doubt. I might question the number of celebrations, but I never question the access to shashlik. It’s delicious.

But more importantly, we had our own party yesterday. Kim leaves tomorrow, so we gathered at Jeramie’s place to say our goodbyes. Sahra, a student at Rose’s former school, made schawarma, Jeramie made carrot cake, and I threw in a pan of homemade lasagna.

The lasagna was a feat in itself, if I do say so. I can’t find lasagna noodles here so I was forced to make them. I also can’t find ricotta cheese here, so I had to find a substitute. I thought back to the days of soccer and track banquets in high school and realized that the chefs of Whitewater would use cottage cheese (and then smother it in mozzarella to cover for it). I thought, why not. I’m certain, now, that it turned out better than ever a track banquet could produce because of two reasons. First, the cottage cheese here is much drier and therefore didn’t create a soupy, sloppy mess. Second, I followed my mom’s recipe (with the obvious substitutions).

All in all, I done good.

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