HOME AGAIN home again

12 01 2009

Well, it has been a very, very, very, long time since I have written a post, so first things first. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  Now you may be thinking one of these things; is this guy crazy he can’t just leave us hangin here, we’ve been waiting for a new post for over a month; or you might be thinking; are you still in Ukraine?; and if  you’re thinking the second one I’d like you to read the title. So, no I’m not in Ukraine anymore I’m at home and man does it feel good. For me, I appreciate all kinds of the  little things I have that we either didn’t have in Ukraine or that we didn’t have where we were staying. Such as can openers and good T.V. in English. And as for the girls we’re adopting their last names have been changed to Vanderburg and their first names changed as well [Their choice of course]. So they aren’t here in America yet, but they are officially  part  of our family. My dad is going to get them at the end of January  and get their passports and then bring them home.

My New Sisters!!!!

My New Sisters!!!!

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Akkerman Fortress

9 12 2008

One of the highlights of our trip to Ukraine was going to visit the Akkerman Fortress.  This is located right in the town of Belgorod-Dnestrovski, where we have been staying.  I was surprised at the amazing size of the whole structure.  When you look at the details of how it is made you really appreciate the work that was done with very little technology.

Around 600BC the first town was built at this location.  It was called Tyras. In about the third century AD The fort was built on the site of the town of Tyras during the Byzantine empire.  The fort was attacked by the Turks of the Ottoman empire, but was successfully defended in 1478.  Six years later it was attacked yet again and that time it was conquered by the Ottomans.  They held it until 1806 was the Russian empire took it over.

The fortress is located on a prominent point overlooking the bay of the Dniester near where it flows into the Black Sea.  The entire fortress is surrounded by a mote almost 40 feet deep.  If someone managed to cross the mote, the next line of defense would be the outer wall.  This wall is over two kilometers long.  It includes a total of 30 towers. If you enter through the main gate, you go into the “civil yard”.  This is the largest area of the fort and probably where a lot of the common people lived.  From there you can enter a gate through another wall that encloses a smaller area known as the “garrison yard”. Inside the garrison yard is the last line of defense, known as the citadel. The citadel is a tall square structure with round guard towers at each corner.  The walls of these towers are about 10 feet thick.

As we walked around we tried to imagine what it was like to be there 500 years ago.

fort Standing in front of the citadel
The outer wall

The outer wall facing the water





Funky Foods #3

8 12 2008

Something I wish I would see a lot of here in Ukraine is Pizza.  Though we have seen a few pizzas there haven’t been any such as pepperoni, sausage, Hawaiian or cheese.  In fact the best, and worst, and the only pizza we have seen here is shrimp and pineapple pizza.  Though it may sound odd I seem to enjoy it as though I were eating Hawaiian.  Maybe it actually was good tasting, or maybe I just really wanted a pizza.

The discovery of this pizza came to us while we were browsing through one of our favorite grocery stores.  Deep in the frozen food section we found only one pizza at all, shrimp and pineapple pizza.  So we bought it, took it home, cooked it in the oven, made some pasta for a side, and consumed it.  Though I may sound like a food critic, it was very good but could use more pineapple.

Almost like being at home

Almost like being at home





Funky Foods #2

6 12 2008

mmmmmmm… Cell phone.      Every time we go to visit the girls at the orphanage we like to bring them treats, like cookies. Now, when we got these cookies we had no idea what they were, but when we opened them we were surprised to see that they were cell phones. But take note that these are highly detailed replicas of cell phones that are edible. Which draws a few questions to the table like, have these amazing cell phone cookies been brought to America? If they haven’t maybe, just maybe someone like me could bring these cookies to America and make MILLIONS!!!! That is if I don’t eat them all first. Wow what a strange post that only someone like me, TREVOR could Magically type up.

Is it a phone, or a cookie?

Is it a phone, or a cookie?

I guess this one's a cookie

I guess this one's a cookie





The Buses of Belgorod

4 12 2008

The buses here in Belgorod, Ukraine are a bit hard to use. But they are one of the main ways all of the people here get around. The only other ways are Taxi, bicycle, walking, and owning a car, which not many people have enough money to buy a car here. One of the strange things about the buses is you pay when you get off, and it’s very cheap at 1 1/2 grivna which is about 25 cents now. One of the reasons I’d rather take a taxi is because the buses get packed and I never get to sit down for the whole ride. Mostly because I like to be polite and give my seat to an elder. Though sometimes my dad has to remind me while I stare out the window, he’ll tug me out of my seat by my jacket. And soon after I get up and I’m bus surfing trying not to lose my balance and hanging on for dear life while the bus goes over bumps and such.

A picture from inside a not so crowded bus

A picture from inside a not so crowded bus

A bus in front of a building I think is a casino

A bus in front of a building I think is a casino

But none of those bad things I said stops us from taking the bus, those are just a few of the obstacles that you have to overcome like a man. [because the bus is really cheap]





Ukrainian Money

3 12 2008
A 20 Grivna note

A 20 Grivna note

One of the first things we had to do when we got to Ukraine was exchange money. When we got here the exchange rate was about 5 grivna to the dollar. Now it is about seven grivna to the dollar. So the grivna is starting to go down, but that’s not bad for us. Up above is a picture of 20 grivnas. The smallest grivna is 1 and the largest we’ve used is a 2 hundred grivna. One way you can tell the difference is in the size. Most other countries like Ukraine have the bigger and smaller bills for bigger and smaller amounts. The U.S is about the only one that doesn’t do this. Also they are different colors. This is another thing that most other countries except for the U.S. does. So that’s just a few of my observations on some of the money here in Ukraine.

A 100 grivna note

A 100 grivna note





Funky Foods

1 12 2008
On the left is the fruit stand, and on the right is the chwarma stand

On the left is the fruit stand, and on the right is the chwarma stand

Here in Ukraine we have seen and had some funky [interesting] food. One of the things we’ve had was a burrito like wrap called a chwarma. The first one we got had shredded chicken, with French fries, some tomatoes and strong ketchup like sauce inside. It was also really, really greasy. It wasn’t  too bad, in fact  we even  got  another  one a couple days later.  This one  was different  because  the sauce was  extra  strong and instead  of  French fries there was pickles instead. Now we don’t even know what we’re getting when we order the things at the chwarma stand. We just point at the really strange words and think it’s the same thing we got last time. Another gross food we had was something we got when we were trying to get tuna. We got a can that looked like tuna that then turned out to be a weird dark colored fish that was covered with tomato sauce. We heated it up in a frying pan and it stunk up the whole third floor of the clinic. It wasn’t that bad but I still never want to have it again. But not all foods that are funky, have to be bad tasting. Take the rabbit we had for lunch yesterday, it was really good.

really good rabit lunch

really good rabbit lunch