Monday, November 28, 2016

Where were we??

We apologize for not posting on our blog for a long time. Yulia and I were on vacation during the first half of the month. ...And, boy, did we need it! We've been working so hard the past three years (since we moved into our house here) that we just needed the kind of vacation where you sit on a warm beach and do--nothing! And it was great! Just what the doctor ordered!

During our trip to Miami, we got to see my parents and experienced American culture again for the first time in--you guessed it--three years!

We made many observations during our time there. Americans are so friendly and easy to talk to! I forgot just how aware many people are when they are out in public. "I'm sorry. Did I get in your way just now? ... Were you waiting here? I didn't mean to get in front of you." America exports so many things around the world. I wish it could export its common courtesy. Some people--though not everyone by any means--could use it in Europe!

But what stuck out the most--and this isn't a positive reflection--is just how judgmental Americans are of each other. I get the sense that this is mostly among people who don't know one another--in the comments section of newspapers, in politics, social media, etc. It's hard to believe that a group of people can simultaneously be so friendly and so nasty.

Come on, guys! Don't like Trump supporters?? Get to know a few. They're not all walking stereotypes. Don't like people who are too politically correct? Get to know someone who advocates for women's rights or Black Lives Matter. They're not all out to get you. Maybe they just need to be listened to.

I could go on and on. People in America right now seem to really be out to get one another. It seems like every group has its own negative stereotype. Spoiled college students. Isolated country bumpkins. Haughty city slickers.

We think that the most important thing right now is unity. There seem to be a lot of forces working to keep people at odds against one another. But look at what Ukrainians were able to do when they all joined together in the winter of 2013-14 in what is now known as the Revolution of Dignity. They were able to radically change the course that the country was headed in. And Ukrainians did it together.

University students were some of the first people protesting in November of 2013. I didn't hear anyone putting them down for being lazy or feeling entitled. Instead I heard older people praising them for caring so much about the country's future. The protests brought together people from different political parties and persuasions. Different religions. Different ethnicities They didn't even all speak the same language! Ukrainian speakers joined with Russian speakers. Muslims joined with Christians. Right joined Left. East joined with West.

I hope to end on a positive note and hope you find it just as inspiring as I do. Let's see what we can do because of our diversity, not in spite of it!

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If you're on Facebook, please be sure to "like" our new MY Pichka Facebook page! We'll post shorter updates there with lots of pictures and short videos:

Here's a video from Facebook that we just shot this afternoon! Enjoy!