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Journey to the Borderland

May 21

Posted by Lindsey Whissel on 05/23 at 05:42 PM

A day in Mirgorod.

Before we left for the train station last night, we learned of another tradition. We were all gathered in the yard and told to sit down. We did this and sat together quietly for about ten seconds, then stood. We were a bit confused by this until Vika explained it was a practice done before travel for a safe journey and good fortune.

One of the most touching moments I’ve had so far came last night when our translator, Oksana, said goodbye to us as we were boarding the train to the resort town of Mirgorod; Oksana is a very sweet nineteen year old who we had the pleasure of getting to know during our time in Slavyansk. She told Ashley and I she had one sentence she wanted to tell us, “Remember me; please don’t forget about me.” After many hugs, we assured her that we wouldn’t.

Also, we’ve acquired a new travel companion. Ashley was given a ceramic bank in the shape of a dog who we’ve named Vladimir. Vlad is now our equivalent of the Travelocity-gnome (or the reference I prefer—the “Amelie” gnome) and will be making appearances in many of our pictures from now on.

We arrived in Mirogord at 4:45am. Our Rotarian host greeted us at the station and told us we would be staying at a sanatorium, which made us a bit nervous because of the difference in cultural naming conventions, but we were pleasantly surprised to see we would be staying at a sort of health spa (not a hospital).

After breakfast (and a glorious hour of sleep), we were given a tour of the resort. There are several different types of treatment facilities in the same complex. Procedures range from laser dental cleansing (still confused by this) to mud tampons that supposedly help with fertility. Next stop was a tour of a mineral factory.

In the afternoon, we toured a small military aviation museum, which was all the more impressive because every item came from the director’s private collection.

We ended the day with a brief, informal Rotary meeting in the office of the club President. The Mirogord Rotarians were very welcoming and curious about our delegation. They explained their club has had its ups and downs and though they are small, they are very active. We were given the rest of the evening to do as we pleased… if you guessed our activity of choice was sleep, you are correct:)

Word of the day: собака (suh-bah-ka) - dog.

{name} Author: Lindsey Whissel
Bio: Lindsey Whissel earned her degree in cinema and digital arts from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She has produced a variety of broadcast and non-broadcast media projects for television, radio, and the web.

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