Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Pysansky Apartment

Pysansky Easter eggs. Collage: Living room, bedroom, kitchen and funky enclosed porch with leftover colors.

The painting is done. My apartment looks bright and cheerful, a house of many colors, like Ukrainian pysansky. The furnishings are lovingly borrowed from my daughters, who set me up and got me going.

Now all I have to do is get my furniture and stuff up here from St. Petersburg, Florida, decide what to keep and what to unload, and then I’ll be a true Sylvanian. A citizen of Sylvania, Ohio.

Not Transylvania, the mysterious land of Dracula in
Romania’s Carpathian mountains, a region whose history, culture and boundaries are still contested. I had hoped I might be a PCV there.

Not Spotsylvania, a county in Virginia that was the scene of many Civil War battles, where Confederate general Stonewall Jackson was shot to death by his own troops, who mistook him for a Federal patrol in that dark forest.

Sylvania literally means "forest land" in Latin, but it is no longer a forest, and no longer a farm land. It is, however, a green and pleasant land, with many trees and parks, a good place for an RPCV to begin again. And over the weekend I had the pleasure of taking Josh and Kyle to a park in walking distance.

My mind roams, but my body is re-anchored in another place on planet earth. I am surrounded not by Russian speakers in a Ukrainian town near the Russian border, but by family and friends and an apartment of many colors situated just North of Toledo, Ohio, near the Michigan border.

Borderlands seem like good places to be. But then, we are always on a borderland, all of us, no matter where we live: we are on the borderline of life and death, life and rebirth.
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