I took a long weekend to spend my birthday and St. Patrick's in Kyiv. I might have decided to stay in the village - that seemed like the wiser decision, as I am saving money for the Poland trip next week, and I was recovering from a cold - but I rarely get a chance to see other volunteers and I knew that St. Patrick's always draws a good sized crowd. The prospect of spending my birthday in Lepetykha was also slightly depressing. In the end, I spent too much money and subjected my body to more abuse than I should have, but I had a blast and I'm glad I went.
I didn't get a chance to talk to mom on Friday (the 16th), but I imagine she would have been amused had she know I was spending my birthday exclusively in the company of females. "This is what it would have been like if I'd had sisters," I kept telling myself. We met up at Jocelyn's apartment in Kyiv for margaritas early in the evening, then took the party to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner. The ladies treated me well; I only had to wield my birthday privilege a handful of times when the conversation veered into territory that I deemed "too feminine for my birthday." Karmically, I think I had this coming. I was still coming off my head cold and the overnight train, so after dinner and a few drinks we called it a (relatively) early night and I went to bed satisfied after one of the best birthdays in recent memory.
Any progress I made on my cold by going to bed early on Friday was utterly destroyed by Saturday's events. We moved from Jocelyn's to a rented apartment in order to accommodate the additional volunteers coming in for the 17th. We stayed in and cooked dinner this time (pasta with vegetables) before heading to O'Brien's Pub for the main event. The bar was packed with an interesting mix of Ukrainians and Anglophone peoples, most sipping green Slavutych (a Ukrainian beer, though usually amber) or Guinness. Two bands played, the first a six-piece acoustic outfit playing Irish folk music (Pop, you would probably have gotten a kick out of them) followed by a rock band that played a set of U2 covers, a set of 90s alt-rock hits, and as an encore... they repeated their first set of U2 songs. To drive the point home, they played a U2 concert DVD between sets. The music was fine, but after a while I started feeling like it was St. Bono's Day. They had a raffle around midnight, and from our group of ten partygoers, two won bottles of whiskey. We would have won a third, but I gave that ticket away to a little girl seconds before they called the number. I have no idea what she did with the whiskey, or what she was doing at a bar on midnight for that matter, but she seemed thrilled to win. We stayed out, as the Irish say, 'till the wee hours, met some interesting people, drank bit too much, danced like idiots and screamed until we lost our voices; I think I did my Irish ancestors proud.
My camera's batteries died before we made it to the bar, so that's why I don't have any pictures. I'm trying to get some sent to me; I'll post them if and when they come through.
Mushrooms are back in season. Life is good.