A year in Dnepropetrovsk

An American volunteer in Ukraine

Archive for New Year

My very own yolka!


She’s little, but she’s still beautiful. As you can see, she’s a Christmas tree, except for the fact that there is no “Christmas” around here as we think of it in the States. New Year’s is Christmas and New Year’s, all rolled into one, but secular (there’s a religious holiday a week later, but really New Year’s is the big deal). Every family gets a yolka, whether Christian, Jewish, or other. I bought mine on Karl Marx Prospect (the main road of Dnepropetrovsk) off a street vendor for 20 grivnas (about $3). She’s really too small to decorate, but she fits nicely in my apartment, and she’s bringing me New Year’s cheer!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

Dear Lena,

Your New Year’s plans sound really nice. Family and then friends. What more could you want? Unfortunately, I don’t have any plans yet. New Year’s is a big family holiday here. I thought I was going to go to my friend Lena’s house, since I know her mother and we get along really well, but for various reasons, it seems that I won’t be able to commandeer an invitation. My boss Amir leaves for Israel tomorrow and won’t be back for another few weeks, and although Sharon invited me over to spend New Year’s with her and the kids, she indicated that it won’t be so much fun. Ori is scared of fireworks (and people go crazy lighting their own fireworks here!), so they’ll be hiding indoors all night, and they have to go to sleep early. I’m going to a Shabbaton with Hillel kids this weekend, so we’ll see if any of them are family-less, as well. If not, I’ll think of something fun to do. I’m not the type to sit and mope, and certainly not on the biggest night of the year!


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