A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ukraine, 2009-2011), historian, college teacher, and retired nonprofit director, Fran offers a multi-layered perspective on current issues, culture and community. A different voice. A unique perspective. From the bottom up.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Ukrainian-Style Farewell to our Ukrainian Visitors to America
Our guests were Volodymyr, Serhiy, Yulia, Iryna,
Andrii, and Mykola
I had a farewell party for our western Ukrainian
friends last Thursday night. I put a big bouquet of
golden and yellow sunflowers and the Ukrainian flag on a dining table
loaded with goodies, and lots of beer. I
had copies of photos from our road trip to Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan, to share with our guests.
Elissa used her photoshop skills to make a
wonderful photo of a van blazoned with “Ukrainian Freedom Fighters” on it, like her own van that put on almost 300 miles for our Michigan trip, broken window and funny noises that Serhii heard from the back seat notwithstanding. Elissa, who is known for her love of Challengers (that's a car, for the uninitiated) and other “muscle” cars, among other things, also gave our guests toy models of her favorite cars.
Laura Kline, our professor of Russian
language and literature extraordinaire, was our fearless translater. She
brought Michigan souvenirs as gifts and enough food to feed an army, knowing Russian traditions as well as she does. That included chocolates, in the Ukrainian tradition of gift-giving. It was a night of joy and laughter. Cross-cultural understanding, appreciation and love at its best!
We three together did pretty well as hosts, by Ukrainian standards. We showed our Ukrainian friends good old Ukrainian hospitality, American style. We hope they enjoyed their visit to the Toledo area and to the great city of Chicago, and wish them well on their journey home today. May their memories of the USA be as precious as my memories of their country and its people.
"To Ukraine! To the USA! To you! To us! To good health! Hooray for our USA-Ukraine partnership! Для України! У США! Для Вас! Для нас. Для гарного здоров'я! Хай живе наша США-Україна партнерство!"