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I'm Back

It didn't turn out to  be as easy as I thought keeping up with the journal, or with Friends, as I thought it might be in Ukraine -- they are wired but not very Wi-Fi'ed as yet and making it to an Internet cafe (or IHTEPHET KOFE) wasn't so convenient. 

So thoughts and reports on the trip will accumulate here, but I can say definitely that it was quite wonderful, in large part because of the attentions and intelligent friendship of Mikhail (petro_gulak) and Ephraim, who showed us many corners of a city (Kyiv, as the best transcription now has it) which they obviously love deeply and also carry on a continual lover's argument with,  (They also carried on a continual argument between themselves, about literature, Ukrainian history and philology, the nature of things and other things, mostly conducted in Ukrainian).

I suppose I should first announce that I am the recipient of the first ever Bulgakov Award of PORTAL, the Ukrainian science fiction and fantasy convention/conference.  Bulgakov (raise your hand if you didn't know this) is Ukrainian, born and died in Kyiv, where a museum about him now occupies the house that was his childhood home and the place he died.  Though he wrote in Russian, and though his masterpiece The Master and Maragarita is set in a lovingly detailed Moscow, the Ukrainians consider him their own.  So do I, now.  The Bulgakov Award, in addition to being an honor, also consisted of an object -- a huge sculpture of a black cat (Behemoth, as readers of Bulgakov will remember), weighing at least ten pounds.  Great jokesters, these Ukrainians, as they have had to be, and funny certainly but bad to let their Visiting Author believe (even briefly) that he would have to wrestle this monstrous beast onto three different flights home.  Picture of self with Behemoth laughing hysterically (self; cat remains as always calm) will soon be posted.

And also I am putting together a Scrapbook Gallery of annotated pictures I took -- the first time I have travelled with a camera in years.  It's actually up now, but I will answer no questions about its strange contents.  Wait for the notes.

Comments

rushthatspeaks
Apr. 25th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Welcome back! Have you seen the movie Everything is Illuminated? It's about an American tourist who travels to the Ukraine, and the conversations his guides conduct in English and Ukrainian are... quite something.

I keep feeling guilty about not having read the Bulgakov. I should really do that.
crowleycrow
Apr. 29th, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
Me likewise with the Foer. I'd forgotten it was Ukraine he goes to.