Liverpool redux…and a correction

Today when I visited my health club, I spoke with a British expat there named Deborah. Since I’ve been traveling, we haven’t seen each other yet she was aware that I had visited Liverpool, her hometown.

I told her how much I enjoyed my visit and I shared with her my observation that there didn’t seem to be many offerings by the Beatles to their hometown. Well, she set me straight. Continue reading

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Musings on Ukraine

I’m sitting in Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome. My flight from Ukraine was late and I’m now waiting for seven hours until I can take the bus back to my apartment in Alba Adriatica.

Ukraine is in my rear view mirror and I guess it’s time to ruminate over my impressions. It will be a while before I get to return.

Continue reading

Back to my roots, Kuty, Ukraine

I got one more chance to re-visit Kuty, birthplace of my maternal grandfather, home of my maternal grandparents and birthplace of my aunt, Julia.

I had wanted to see my eighty-year-old cousin, Zenovyi, one more time before my return to North America. At our initial meeting, Zenovyi very touchingly asked me, “Can I hope that you will be a brother to my son, Viktor?” Viktor is his only child. Continue reading

Remaining in Lviv, Ukraine with my new family

I’ve decided to spend a few more days in Lviv. I want very much to see my newly found cousin, Zenovyi. His son, Viktor, has been in Israel for weeks on photography shoots. Initially he was supposed to return Sunday. He is now scheduled to return Wednesday.

I was with Viktor’s son, Victor Jr., tonight at a café for several hours. Victor Jr. called his father in Israel and I was able to speak with him for the first time since we parted in May. It was refreshing to hear his voice. Continue reading

A day in the life…in Lviv, Ukraine

I think I’ve become completely nocturnal since I’ve been in Ukraine. I find myself staying up until 3-4-5:00 a.m. Then I sleep until two in the afternoon. The evenings find me roaming the streets of Lviv, marveling at the architecture and the lights. I get captivated by the café life and the street vibe and find myself rotating from one coffee house to another, downing lattes and hot chocolate.

No wonder I’m awake all night. Continue reading

In Ukraine, a conversation with returning soldiers

Ukraine never seems to disappoint. Just when I least expect it, something fascinating happens. Today I spoke for five hours with Ukrainian soldiers returning from battle with Russian separatists…and Russians.

Please note that I have changed names to protect identities. I am, by no means, a reporter. Nevertheless, I wanted firsthand knowledge of this military conflict. And since I have no idea who will read this blog post, I am not risking anyone’s life or livelihood. I love Ukraine, but there is still a lot of corruption here—and I want to be able to go home someday. Continue reading

Expat ramblings in Ukraine

My time in Lviv remains very relaxing, less taxing.

I had the opportunity to meet with my new cousins the other day. We sat in a coffee house for about two hours chatting before deciding to walk around the city. When the rains came, they opted to go home. I stayed behind to enjoy the atmosphere. Continue reading

Lviv, Ukraine redux

Lviv is much different this time around. There is a familiarity that makes me feel comfortable. Perhaps I feel less anxious. I have no real agenda. I’m just here to enjoy myself.

I found a hotel outside the city center. My Airbnb host from April, Edward, was unavailable on such short notice. I was a bit disappointed because he and his wife were so great to me. And their infant daughter was too cute for words. Continue reading

Goodbye Britain, Ukraine beckons once more

I got up very early to catch the train for Liverpool so I could then grab the bus for Manchester Airport. Along the way, we got caught in rush hour traffic heading into Manchester.

Once we arrived, I was chagrined to find that the gate for my flight on Singapore Airlines to Munich had closed. I had missed it by a few minutes. With no options available to me, I had to buy another ticket to Munich leaving at 5:30 p.m.–for $400. I was livid. Continue reading