Saturday, June 29, 2013

This Kid Is Sick, Man

I know that I ought not do posts on things like vomiting. But I am. I also tend to take a bajillion pictures of my bedroom when I spend three days in a row being immobile. These are included. Lots of pictures... of everything. During this wave of sickness, I tended to lean towards a fascination with the freckles on my left arm and hand.

Ever been so sick where you lay on the wooden floor for forty-two minutes thinking, "I should really change positions. For reals. This is not comfortable."

And then the inner dialogue starts.

"But changing positions involves... moving. And moving involves..."

And you continue to lay there. and lie there. And think about if you are laying or lying or lieing or licking or liming

Two days ago I got hit by something. Maybe it was that plum.

I was eating broth with carrots in it when I realized, well, I wasn't hungry. I didn't feel so great. I felt... ugh.

1 PM meant it was time for me to go watch the Montessori kids nap so I ambled down into the basement, prepped for a peaceful time of rest. I love watching them nap. It's super chill. I get to have quiet time and take kids to "piss-a-la." By the way, I've never heard someone make peeing sound so cute. There's this one girl and, when she's done on the throne, she looks up with these huge baby brown eyes and says, "da piss-a-la!" I think that means something like, "I'm done urinating."

Anyways, just 10 minutes into it, I was at the point where I couldn't sit up anymore. The other teachers were still there helping me get them down and I told 'em I had to lie down. That's all I had to do, right, just lie down?

1:30 PM, they left, and I felt like crap. But, the thing is, when your single job is to just be on a bed and watch kids nap, you're not really in a place to ask to not do it as you'd be doing the exact same thing if you were in your bed.

Then it hit me.

I rushed to the bathroom. Door locked.
Rushed to my apartment. Door locked.
Rushed outside. Hid. Bent over. Oi.

I wiped my mouth and resumed my station on the bed.

4 minutes later, I was in the bathroom, then unlocked. I figured that would be it... right?

But I felt like crap, man. I didn't feel so great at all.

I wandered up the stairs and Kaity (God bless the Americans -- God bless Kaity) and she offered to take over for me. Back in my room, the real fun began.

What happened before were just little "blaaaahs" but, within' an hour, I had that stuff gushing out of my mouth. It was the kind of vomit that makes you sweat and as it forcefully shoots out of your nose.

There is one room in the entire house that we have all been banned from - Carrie's room. There might as well be two giant troll's blocking the entrance - there ain't no way I'd ever go in there. Carrie's is the wonderful English woman (fluent in German, though, and lives in Germany too) who I've found some lovely companionship in this past month. Anyways, today I did the unthinkable, I opened those doors and stepped in while she was out.

See, our apartment has two levels and I'm on the top. Carrie has the single bedroom on the same level as the bathroom. There was no way I was going up those stairs and trying to make them down it each time I needed to....

"Maybe I should listen to some more of the Narnia series..." I thought.
Nope. Too exhausted.
"Come on, Margaret, you can't be too tired to listen to something."
Wrong. You can be.
Wayyyy to tired for that stuff.

I canceled English classes for the day.

"Maegi, what's wrong?" a Ukrainian girl asked as I stepped outside for a moment to make sure my students would be told.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"You look so... white..."

Guess I was white. That's new.

Miming out the act of vomiting is very simple.

I slipped back inside after getting a rewarding hug from Kaity (I blessed her already, didn't I? God Bless Kaity, amen).

Passed out on the chair.
Passed out on the floor.

Carrie wasn't quite sure what I was doing there but she let me sleep.

By 10:45 PM or so, I decided that 7 hours on the wooden floor was enough and that I should, perhaps, consider going upstairs. Well, actually, I stated thinking that at 7 PM but it wasn't until 10:45 PM that I got the initiative to go up those stairs (there's a lot of them, you know).

Crap. I feel gross.
I feel exhausted.
This... this... is there an end to this?

Time to sleep, right? Nope. Body decided it was chill just "bein'" until around 1:23 AM.
Awake at 10ish AM.

Thought I was feelin' like a champ... right?

This is the toast I tried to eat for "breakfast":

Eventually I finished it. Yes, I know there is peanut butter on it. Carrie just moved out and left it and I couldn't resist.

After an hour, I had finished my toast. For the next 5 hours I regretted it. Weird toast-y gurgles kept coming up. "Come on, body. Pull it together!" *gurgle-splurch*

Overall, during the day, I ate two whole pieces of toast and never once felt good about it.

Carrie had left a stack of books by Dr. Seuss and Stan and Jan Berenstain. I carried them up to bed and sprawled out with those luscious reads from the '60s and '70s.

"I do not like them Sam I AM!"

I sang Carpenters songs out loud to my ceiling. Me and Carol King really got along.

"Rainy days and Mondays always get me dooowwwwwwn."

I spent the day scribbling in my notebook. I wrote out important lists like what I was looking forward to if I ever settled. Number one on the list was "curling club" -- apparently I was excited to get to be a member again. Number two was "start canning things." Number five is "have a hot water bottle." Curling, cans, and hot water bottles? I've got a lot to look forward to. That sentence, there, by the way, was by no means my sarcastic voice. And I wasn't being sarcastic when I said I wasn't sarcastic. Genuine. I love curling. I miss it. I want to can fiddle heads and apricots.

Other notes include, "Sarah [Wyler], Hannah [Garcia], Carole [Bronson], Alex [Staheli]."
"One of the reasons I take pictures, my goal, is I want people to see what i see when I look at them. Beautiful people."
"I really want to visit all 59 national parks - maybe only 50."

Then I made a list of things I wanted in a future husband.

Number one on the list?
"Will go to highland games with me."

other highlights include
"if he has facial hair, I get full rights to touch it"
"willing to dance - especially in kitchens and while camping"
"isn't picky about where he sleeps"

Those are the legible ones. Oh man, girl, you've got your priorities straight! There are others where I'm not sure at all what I meant.
"mayyyybe... ok w/ team"

This is why sick people should have notebooks to scribble in.

There was also a list I made of bands on my iPod that followed the "The _________" format.

The... Vulgar Boatmen, Books, Bicycles, Buckinhams, Byrds, Carpenters, Chap, Chieftans, Churchburner, Clash, Clientele, Coral, 1900s, 5th Dimension, 88, Afters, All American Rejects, Ananas Professionals, Antlers, Bachs, Beatles, Bird & the Bee, Black Santiagos, Blow, Civil Wars, Cyrkle, Darlings, Crokes, Deadly Grapefruit, Decaffinated Bandits Washboard Quartet, Decemberists, Donkys, Donut Man, D0ors, Dwarf Chorus, Dream Acadmey, Elms, Endless Bummer, Eurythmics, Felttips, Fireman, Flaming Lips, Flinstones, Folkadots, Foundations, Galactic Heroes, Get Arounds...

and then I fell asleep.

I woke up at 6:55 PM. Ate a piece of toast. Regretted it.
Read an entire book.
Felt it was time to sleep by 10 PM.

Body thought otherwise.

I could not sleep.

More reading.

Lights out by midnight and, at 1 AM, something happened....

At 1 AM, something strange happens to me called, "I think listening to Justin Bieber is a great idea."
(hence the note, "at 1 AM crappy music.")

I then proceeded to turn to the playlist of music called, "Straight Off the Radio." It's songs I might not always like to admit I have. I listened to Carly Rae Jepsen. I listened to Cee Lo. Replay. There was no, no regrets in listening to "Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry. Things really took a turn for the worse when I started to listen to "High School Musical." I missed Emily Lynch. Sometimes life hits a low....

Margaret Hubert! It is time to sleep.
"But.. but... we're all in this together...."
I wanted to do the dance.

Day Three of Being Sick

And now it's today! Today is Saturday. I woke up feeling extra crappy. My body took about an hour in the bathroom to make sure it was totally, completely empty.

Roommate Anya wants me to eat something but I... I don't think I'm ready for that.

Curled up in a ball, I did a post on Facebook, "day 3 in bed. if anyone wants to buy me matilda, it's on my amazon wishlist. . i've read the sample thrice. body is empty. goal for today: drink 1 glass h2o. cheers."

Truly, what I had been desiring all day, was to read, "Matilda," by Roald Dahl. I love that book. But, it costs dollars on Amazon and I didn't have it in me to spend them. But... Matilda!

Neil, a wonderful man I met at the curling club back in 2008, jumped in and bought it for me. I am still really grateful. I haven't finished it yet and like having something to look forward to.

So that's where I'm at now. Ready to go read Matilda.

And you have now read about the time in the Ukraine where I got sick....

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stray Dogs in Ukraine & Luis Miguel

In Ukraine (and Russia) there's a major problem (to the eyes of a Westerner) called there-are-stray-dogs-everywhere.

Every street has a stray, homeless, ownerless dog wandering around.

Some are, for the most part, quite friendly, but every once in a while you run into one that wants to bite your brains out. Fortunantly, I still have my brains as they have not been bitten out.

Early in the evening, at the park, we met a sir on a bicycle and there was a dog with him. Well, I thought the dog was with him.

Everywhere we went, the dog went. He was pretty well behaved except for at one car which he declared a enemy worthy of destruction.

To the corner shop....

To the river...

At another shop, I grabbed myself a tortilla. I unfolded it and it grew and grew to what seemed like the size of a blanket.

And, before I knew it, Luis Miguel was trying to pull it out of my hands. He kept jumping up to eat my tortilla.

"Your dog..." I began to say.
"He's not my dog."



Who's dog is this?
No one's.

Later I gave him some more tortilla.

"He'll never leave you now." I was told.

He was a handsome dog. I named him Luis Miguel.
Not to be confused with Luis of Mexico:

I named him after Luis Miguel I met in the Dominican Republic a decade ago. I wonder what he's like as a teenager.

The dogs here, though, it's somethin' else.

A lot of them join together in packs and spend the days wandering around together. You'll see 'em in the middle of the sidewalk in the heat with no plans. If it gets hot enough, they loose the will to bark at you.

I haven't had any real issues with them, luckily. They don't especially seem to mind me and I'm fine with their existance.

I especially like Luis Miguel. I hope to find him again soon. If I do, I'm going to buy him a sausage. Poor guy must be hungry if he was that desperate for my tortilla. Wish I had realized how hungry he was earlier.

UPDATE: I found Luis Miguel again and bought he and his friends a few packs of sausages. After those, they turned up their noses at the tortillas I also had to offer.

Snippets from Wednesday

Here are some snippets from my Wednesday. Wednesdays are generally swell, right? I like 'em.

I was waiting for the bus and flagged it down. There were some other ladies down the road who wanted to get on so they hustled up to where I was standing and pushed me aside to get on first. They then figured out it wasn’t going where they wanted it to so they got off and closed the door… all while I’m still waiting to get on.

I left my bag at Mario & Igor’s and needed it to volunteer at the hospital. I went to just pick it up but, well, in Ukraine you can’t just pick something up. Their mother and grandmother were incredibly hospitable and insisted that I sit down and have cabbage soup… and then rice with spinach and an egg and cherries and apricots… 30 minutes later, or so, I left with my bag. Ukrainian hospitality is overwhelming and beautiful.

My multiple day for delicious soup in Uzhgorod for dinner (I had a cup for lunch and a cup for snack) was satisfied. At Kactus I was able to get a beautiful bowl of onion soup for a little over a buck. I know I’ll be back.

My body woke up at 7:05 AM this morning. Not cool, body, not cool. I had gotten back late and knew I needed to sleep in till at least 10 AM to be rested for the day.

Postcard from Hannah! I’m trying to get stamps! I will soon, I will. With my schedule, though, it’s hard to get them. The post office closes at 4 PM.

Cuddling two Roma babies at once…

So, we’re having issues with boils at the hospital. 2/3 of the babies have them and I’m not supposed to cuddle the boil-covered babies, I think. Artiem had a boil on his ear and it popped on my shirt. I’ve been extra careful to wash wash wash.

Nicole Albright is engaged!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ukrainian Hospitality

I could do an entire post on Ukrainian hospitality and the chivalry I've encountered.

Last night I had the opportunity to get together with two Ukranians and a racer (visiting 11 countries in 11 months) to make some music.

We had run into the two brothers, Mario and Igor (twins), earlier in the day and set up to meet at 8 PM at the bus stop in the city centre. 8:06 PM and they had arrived but there was no sign of Kaity, the Word Racer.

After a few minutes wait, we persued wifi in the center of the city and that's where the civalry came in. There's something instilled in Ukrainian and Russian men that I've witnessed time and time again where they must, must help a women carry her bags or, in this case, violin.

I don't think they even consider the option. From the times I've witnessed such acts, they feel... I don't even know how to convey how they feel it.

I imagine it's like how it's impossible to just slam a door on someone if they're walking behind you into a shop. You just can't do it. I imagine it's the same sort of "but... but... I can't." They have to help the ladies.

So, one of them insisted on carrying the violin - although later I got it back. I was allowed to carry it because he realized it wasn't as heavy as he thought it was and I had asked a few times -- I feel bad when people have to carry my things.

With wifi, we discovered that Kaity wasn't able to meet up with us then because the buses had ceased to run. I told her to stay at home, we would meet her there.

To get there, Igor and Mario had bikes we could use at their house - just a 10 minutes walk away.

Bikes. Bikes. Bikes.
Three bikes.

We arrived at their house -- one that I've walked past usually 8 times a week as I walk to the hospital and back. It was one of those houses that I day dream about -- the ones that you know you would've loved to play pretend in, sustaining the play with apples from the tree.

I was introduced to their step-mother (so lovely!), uncle, friend, and grandmother.

And then.. as we stopped to just pick up the bikes...

I was invited to take a seat.
And out came the kompot (a sort of tea/juice made of water and dried fruit).
And then, out came the cornbread (cornbread!).

I enjoyed the conversation abundantly and let go of any agendas (in this case, getting to Kaity in time) the moment we entered the gate. I wanted to get to Kaity's in time, but I was also a guest here. In Ukraine, you don't just swing by without talking for a bit or sharing a cup of something (from what I've experienced). I had to let go of my inner-Swiss and enjoy the moment.

Before heading out, they also couldn't see me going out without a sweater. I was handed a giant blue and green striped Van's sweater. I asked for shorts since I was wearing a long skirt which would've instantly gotten caught in the fender-less bicycle I was grateful to get to ride. They found a pair of huge shorts.

Baggy sweater.
Baggy shorts.
I felt like I was at home, wearing what I felt like on a whim.
So comfortable.

And then we rode! And that, that was bliss!!
I raced on... looked behind... and.. and.. found out I was riding too fast.

We made it to the Racer's home. I skittered up the stairs to where Kaity was... she was showering. Wiat. About to shower. She wasn't in the shower yet. Within minutes she was out and we all set off for the lake.

The sun was setting in perfection over the lake that was told was too toxic to swim in.

Igor and I rode on to explore different options to jam. The whole purpose of this excursion was to make music.

And we did.

And I was grateful.

Oh... and then the next day (after a night on the floor of the Americans') it was time to return the bike, sweater, and shorts. I was planning on just dropping them off.

You can't just drop something off in Ukraine.
Or perhaps it's just this family is incredibly sweet? Regardless of if it's culture or not, they're an amazing family and I'm grateful to be able to have the opportunities I've had (and will have) to get to know them.

Anyways, I gave up the bike and jumped in their restroom to swap their shorts for the long skirt I've been living in this week (thank you Celeste!). On the way out the door, I was told that the Mother Unit was making soup and was offered some.

"I like soup," I said.

The table in the backyard was set.
Out came the soup.
Lots of delicious soup.

But that wasn't it because in the Ukraine, meals seem to come in waves. Soup and.. there's always something else.

Soup and... I'm not sure what it was. But it was delicious.

Normally when you're a guest, you bring chocolates or flowers or something to someone. I didn't have any of those but I did have a fiddle. I'll play for my supper any day. A short jam session with Mario and Igor left her smiling and scheming up plans of tunes played on the corners of Uzhgorod.

Picnic tomorrow at 7 PM.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fiddlin' for Folks

I'd never thought of my fiddle-skillz to be good enough to play for people 'cept in friendly backyard jams. It's peculiar because I don't really consider myself that fantastic of a violin player as I know some truly incredible musicians who I respect on the violin (folks like Scotty, Amanda, Diana, Kyle, Eva, Margaret, and Milo among others). When I pick up to play, my first thoughts are, "But they're all so much better." I shy away from playing for a crowd.

The other evening, though, I was playing for a dinner crowd at the restaurant that it is a part of where I live. I was playing a tune I wrote for the puppet troupe I was a part of in Alaska when, mid song, I looked up and saw they were all smiling at me. They weren't looking to evaluate me or criticise - they were just enjoying the music. And that's what's given me the encouragement I needed to start playing more and even play for other humans.

It's certainly not the cello (which I miss dearly) - but it's what I got in my hands right now and I'm grateful for that.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Posts Per Year on Blogger

2004 (I started in November) :: 7
2005 :: 22 :: [note]
2006 :: [note]
2007 :: 76
2008 :: 43 [note]
2009 :: 53 [note]
2010 :: 124
2011 :: 140
2012 :: 214

In 2004, I managed to average a post per week, during the duration of the year I was posting.

It's hard to know what happened in 2005 & 2006 because, well, because all of my posts from those years have sadly been erased from this world. Note on that below.

In 2007, I posted, on average, every 4.8 days.

In 2009, I did 53 posts on Blogger in four months which is around one post every 2 days.

In 2010, I settled comfortably back into Blogger with one post every 3 days.
2011 gave me a post every 2.5 days.
2012 was a post every 1.7 days.

And now, in 2013, I'm posting, on average, every .9 days -- that's an average of 1.1 posts per day.

So, from the data I do have, we went from a post every 4.8 days (as a 14 year old) to every 2 days to 3 days to every 2.5 days to every 1.7 days to every .9 days in 2013.

In 2005, almost all of my posts were on which has since dissolved --- along with my posts and the documentation of my life as a 14-15 year old.

In 2006 I blogged on and those also disappeared when Bopsta folded. Luckily, I printed out a lot of them and scrapbooked them - but it's sad they're not digital any more.

2008 & 2009, most of my posts were as "notes" on

Friday, June 21, 2013

River Jam & Bus Stop Busking

"So satisfied. In my bedroom there is a fiddle I am allowed to play whenever I like. Yesterday I met up with Austin (bearing a guitar) and Hannah and music was made on the banks of the River Uzh. After our jam session, we went to hop the bus and there, some men asked for music. We played a few songs and they opened up our case and folks started putting hryvnias in. A few days ago, I also had the chance to ride on a human's bicycle (thank you Igor) for a short stint which blissed me out enough to last a few days. We rode through the park and along the river as the sun set and raced cars, dodging bugs that tried to make it into our mouths. The same evening was spent getting eaten by said bugs in the company of others as we enjoyed live music in a clearing in the woods.

Bicycles. Fiddles. Live music. Trees.
Now I feel like I can settle here for a few months and call this place home.

Where I Live

I feel like Eloise.

Do you know Eloise? She's from a series of children's' books by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight.

"I am Eloise. I am six. I am a city child. I live at the Plaza [Hotel]."
She spends her days running around, terrorizing the occupants and amusing herself.

"I am Mägi. I am twenty-two. I am a happy woman. I live at the Guest House."

I live in a hotel.
(which is more than just a hotel/hostel/guest-house/motel - it's a hotel, Montessori school, conference center, day camp, restaurant, cafe, English and German language school)

I feel like Eloise as I run around barefoot down the halls and up and down the stairs, exchanging smiles with the maids who work all day keeping things clean. Even though we don't speak the same language, we're starting to find connections over smiles and nods and waves.

There's always someone to say "hi" and "bye" to at the reception desk as I hand them my key.

It feels foreign and bizarre that when I want a clean bathroom, I am to ask someone else to clean it. Clean floors? Just a polite "please" away.

They make my food here, too. Each morning I pull on a skirt and a shirt before skittering over to the cafe where they make me two eggs and a salad. "Would you like something to drink?" "зелений чай" is what I normally ask for - green tea.

Lunch is ordered by my roommate and they bring it over - a soup, salad, and main dish. For dinner, I normally just get a salad and sometimes a soup.

It feels odd and lazy to sit and wait for someone else to make my food - to ask someone else to bring me a knife. I'm afraid they'll think I don't know how to cook.

The Georgian cook is good at making me laugh. He's quite the character. Because he was so difficult to have in the kitchen (he yells a lot), they have built him his own kitchen outside. The waiting staff are all young women that I've enjoyed getting to know. I like it when I get to join them for a meal.

I am currently living on the third floor in Room 17. It's an apartment with three bedrooms (although one is really a living room), a kitchen, and a bathroom. To get to my room you get to climb up these tall windy-sort of stairs that creak no matter how lightly you tread.

I've been blessed with my own room - which is great because that means I get in a lot of time where I don't have to wear clothes in this heat and I can also dance like a maniac.

It's the smallest of rooms and half of it is under a sort of slant that you'll hit your head on if you're not careful. I've cleared out half of the room and consider that to be my dancing space.

This apartment is shared between an English woman who normally lives in Germany, two Ukrainians, and I. 75% of us are fluent in German and conversations frequently switch over languages without warning and no one thinks anything of it (well, I must think something of it considering I'm writing about it here). Carrie, Anya, Oxanna, and I.

It's interesting always having people come through my house. I meet beautiful characters who walk in and out of my life without warning. Quite a few Dutch people have come through. They ask where I live and I get to say, "Room 17!" I like it when the groups of guests invite me to join them for a meal. Yesterday, one guest did something incredibly sweet. I was waiting for breakfast and she said, "Stand up! I want to give you a hug." And I got a hug. Ukrainians don't give me quite as many hugs as I'm used to getting so I was delighted.

There's also a kids camp going on here which adds a few degrees of joyous hectic to everything as small Ukrainians scramble around and scream and yell. There's a Montessori school on the second floor that I help out with. I teach English three times a week and every day I am the Queen of Naps in the garage.

My life right now is like no other living situation I've ever been in. I've slept in libraries, above alcohol shops in closets, in the Manse, with families of eleven, house-sat for leagues of animals and now... now a hotel. Relish. Relish. Relish.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Congrats! They Graduated.

Photographs from my high school graduation back in 2009.
Editing was also done when I was 18...

I logged onto Facebook this weekend to see the majority of my classmates from high school all, once again, decked out in peculiar square hats as if from some foreign bizarre cult.


Not from high school – that was 2009.
These folks were graduation from the university.
Class of 2013

Since high school, they’ve spent the past four years studying hard to get a degree. All of these former classmates of mine all were able to achieve something – this was one of their life goals. "BA in Psychology" Computer Science. English. Biology. Love the engineers...

I celebrate what they’ve achieved! From ages 18 to 22, they’ve been pursuing something that we've been told will get them places. They have been obtaining what I’ve heard is “the key” to getting a good career. In fact, a lot of them are already on that “career” path.

I’ve talked to a few of them and some have already committed the next stages of their life. Five years. Ten years. They’ve already chosen what they want to do until they’re nearly 30!

I had a couple twinges of “golly, I wish I had done that” as I saw them with their diplomas. Or maybe more so a feeling of being left behind. For me to get to where they are would take two years.

But, it only takes me about four minutes of actual thought to realize that, at this point, thoughts of going to school right now would be silly.


Because I have no desire to go. The thought of going back to school is just about as appealing to me as putting on Andrew’s sweaty crusty socks on my hands and using them to wash my face.

And, truly I believe, that it would be a waste of time and effort to try and go to school without any sort of positive motivation or desire. Without the desire for knowledge that can be obtained from books, I would have no driving force to keep me going day by day. Without motivation, with ADHD, I don’t go far. Well, I guess I do fine (I can get my 4.0 when needed) but it’s not a pleasant experience.

Why would I want to waste my time and my money on something I don’t enjoy? What is it going to achieve? I know sacrifice is important, but I have to believe in what I'm sacrificing for. See - going to school, unless you get badass scholarships, includes a huge debt-obligation unless you've got the cash to back yourself up. I don't want to commit to debt unless I know why the degree is important and how it will help me pay off the debt in the end. I don't think I could live like I do if I had debt to pay off.

I celebrate what they’ve accomplished and know it is no small feat. I know that some of them are now on a path to being able to make significantly more than I ever will.

But that’s the choice I’ve made.
Right now, I have consciously decided that that’s not the life path for me at this moment.

Perhaps later on…

Don’t know where I’m going.

I guess sometimes I feel like I’ll be left behind.
But I really don’t want to get a degree.
And I’m happy with where I am now.
But I wonder if I’m selfish because I could help people more if I had a decree.

I'm sorry -- this is just about as scattered as my own brains.

The end.

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