Ukraine - Sept 14 - Oct 13 - 2006 travel blog

Ukraine - Sept 14 - Oct 13 - 2006

 
TDK's Trip to Ukraine - Sept 14 to Oct 13, 2006 travel blog
UKRAINE - "OLD COUNTRY" - 20 Miles to the East

When I was young,(I couldn't have been older than 4 or 5),I remember my dad always throwing into his conversations with myself and other kids, in his "Ukradian" accent, the phrase "Old Country". As I became several years older, my curiosity got me to ask him once, "Where is this Old Country?". Not wanting to drown me in details, he simply said, "......20 miles that way", as he pointed eastward. Well my imagination made me look eastward, across the field and over the trees (we lived at the edge of our village), in awe and in silence. When that young, 20 miles is no different than 20 light years. The distance was greater than I could have imagined.

Well here it is some 40+ years later, my father has now been deceased for 7 years, and I am off to "Old Country" for the first time and in good company. My mother, who turns 81 later this year and my brother will be joining me, (actually I have tagged along with them). Both of them made this same trip to Ukraine in 1999, for their first time. They stayed with my uncle on my dad's side and consequently, my mother only visit her side of the family for barely 1 hour. After returning to Canada, when visits occurred, I always said to her to go again, when she would start sadly reminiscing of details she missed and would have wanted to see, of where she grew up and left at the early age of 14.

I, being born in the heart of central Canada, never did have a need, urge or other to travel to this "Old Country". So as the past several months saw their return trip culminating, in a last minute decision, I realized that a trip like this with them was my calling, my opportunity, to discover and explore the roots I have never really known, seen or fully understood.

So in honor of my dad's early phrasing, in kick-starting a little boy's imagination and sense of wonder, I thought it only fitting to give this travel journal the title of "UKRAINE - Old Country - 20 Miles to the East".

Since this turned into a "Family Pilgrimage" for me, and my travel site was open to anyone on the internet, I decided not to post any pictures of family or people in general , respecting their privacy. Believe me, there were many people who did not want me to take their picture, not knowing where I was from and what my purpose was. My purpose of course, was strictly personal and sincere.

Upon returning to Canada, I realized these 4 weeks were different and unlike any other holiday where you return exhausted. We primarily stayed with my cousins in their home town of Koropiec in Western Ukraine. This is where my mother was born and lived till about the age of 14 when the affects of the 2nd world war took over to fragment people's lives. After awhile, I didn't really want to see either L'viv or Kiev, Ukraine's 2 biggest cities, thinking, after awhile, a city is a city is a city. This was a holiday where you just meld into their local lives, live with them and do the day to day tasks they do. I really enjoyed speaking to the people, especially the retired folk who always had stories to tell you. I really longed to speak to someone in english and with only several days before returning to Canada, I finally got my 20 minutes or so, with a 15 year old student who takes english tutoring at a local teachers house. The 2nd gal was the actual teacher, who just lived across the road from my cousins place. We met in the dead of darkness drawing water from our neighbhors well, as the town water system was now down for 2+ weeks. She too wanted to talk with me in english but thought I was a visitor from Poland. Both these occurances disheartened me as I too would have wanted to ask them many questions about their lives there and gradually build up a relationship of trust and perhaps even friendship.

If you happen to be near my areas on the map or are planning to go, please e-mail me and I will be happy to correspond. I always like to hear how your trip turns out along with your observations and adventures.

Happy Travelling !

TDK
Monday, October 15, 2000

Order: oldest at top ( reverse )

 
 
 
MELITOPOL - Sunday...
 
 
 
 
MELITOPOL - Cousins...
 
 
 
 
MELITOPOL - Caves -...
 
 
 
 
KOROPIEC - In and Around
 
 
 
 
KOZOVA - 1 Hour Drive...
 
 
 
 
KOZOVA - Visiting My...
 
 
 
 
KOZOVA - My Uncle's...
 
 
 
 
KOROPIEC - Bazaar Day...
 
 
 
 
KOROPIEC - In and Around
 
 
 
 
STANISLAWA - Gift...
 
 
 
 
HOMESTEAD - My...
 
 
 
 
KOROPIEC - View From...
 
 
 
 
ZARVANYTSYA -...
 
 
 
 
KOROPIEC - Music...
 
 
 
 
KOROPIEC - A Day in the...
 
 
 
 
Keepsakes - 1 of 2 -...
 
 
 
 
School Tour - Grades 1...
 
 
 
 
L'VIV - Flying Home -...
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