Baptist hymns are not what I would have thought to hear in Ukraine.   There is a Baptist convention down the street  where their prayers and gatherings are in huge tents – a revival of some sort I think.  The Baptists are easy to notice on the streets during this convention – the women are all wearing long skirts and very modest shirts – arms covered and shirts buttoned to their chins.  The men are wearing button down, long-sleeved shirts with ties and conservative colored long pants.  They all have neatly lettered little signs on their shirts identifying them as participants in whatever this actually is – perhaps it also includes their names – I don’t know – I haven’t gotten close enough to them to read what their shirts say.  I have been told that they all carry small booklets that they give out to people, trying to convert them, and like the door-bell ringing Jehovah’s Witnesses in the states, they have the annoying habit of ringing doorbells here at inconvenient times and not taking “no” for an answer.  Julia said they ring her bell at 7:30 AM!

I am at Julia’s now and arrived here mid-morning to catch up on emails, read all that I have been missing on the ‘net in terms of news back home.  Not much is going on apparently, aside from Sarah Palin’s newest uncovered idiocy.  She seems to be even worse in terms of judgment, ability and intelligence than I had originally thought.

This morning we had a simple breakfast – cottage cheese, sour cream and preserves, espresso and tea and honey.  After breakfast Ella and I walked to Julia’s – Ella had baked a cake already in advance of this evening’s anticipated company.  Sasha’s daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, none of whom I have had the opportunity to meet, will be joining us along with Julia, Sergey and Ilya.

We enjoyed a couple of hours of entertaining (or being entertained by) Ilya before he had lunch and Granny Ella took him for a stroll in the park.  An overcast sky, thunder and lightning sent Sergey out to bring Ilya back and to let Ella return home to finish preparing this evening’s sumptuous feast.  We will be having fish (carp I think), salad, potatoes, Ella’s cake, ice cream and fruit.  Sasha called to tell Ella that he was heading to the supermarket for carrots.  Sasha loves to shop.  He bargains with everyone and generally is able to accomplish his goal – he gets the most amazing deals on everything.  What a talent!  Ilya has been sleeping for so many hours – I think his walk with his granny tired him out!  We can’t go back to Ella’s until he wakes up.  He is so sweet, so much fun to watch and to entertain with sounds and facial expressions and silly rhymes!  He is sleeping so long that I get nervous – today is special for Sasha because Ira, Anya and Valera are having a meal with us, and I know he will be disappointed that we are late, but there is no way around it – if a baby wants to sleep, the last thing I would want to do is to wake him!

Julia and Sergey are planning to take me to a ski area in the mountains on Tuesday while Granny Ella babysits!  It will be fun to spend a day alone with them.

Our evening with all the children and grandchildren was quite pleasant – we drank red Georgian wine, had a really wonderful fish dish, salad, bread, cake, ice cream and then walked Ira, Anya and Valera to near their apartment (they live with Ira’s mother)  while Sergey, Julia and Ilya drove home.  Ira and Valera had spent several years in England

I-F sight

I-F sight

while Anya lived with her grandmother, so their English is quite good – we spoke of travel related issues in general, they shared some stories of their experiences and were interested in our experiences at the archives.  Ira indicated that her interest is because Valera’s ancestry is Polish and they are considering immigrating – in order to do so they must prove that ancestry through archival documents.  This is why the archivist asked Ella when she first contacted them, whether she was looking to prove she was Polish!