I am finding out that not everyone knows where Ukraine is located. That is understandable, and as this is a blog about a Ukrainian American and his bride, I figured I’d give y’all a bit of info on Ukraine. (And for those that don’t want to hear me yap about a foreign country, but still want the info, the wiki is here.)
Urkaine is a part of the former Soviet Union. So yep– I’m marrying a Communist, it’s true. Although he’s been slightly reformed. (But boy did he look cute in his Pioneer day pictures.)
Official Language: Ukrainian. Yep, they even have their own language, although to my ears it sounds very close to Russian. Russian is commonly spoken in Ukraine, a holdover of the Soviet years. The Ukrainian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet (same as Russian), so don’t even think about trying to read it, but at least it looks pretty. And it sounds pretty- if you’d like to hear some basic Ukrainian phrases, you can go here.
Ukraine is in Eastern Europe, here:
It is an ancient area with a long history, including COSSACKS!
Sergei’s great-great-great grandfather? The world may never know…
In case you don’t know, Cossacks were horseriding asskicking warrior thugs of the 15th-18th centuries. You did not mess with these folks. Their historical influence on shaping Ukrainian identity is demonstrated by their inclusion in the Coat of Arms of Ukraine:
See that dude in the baggy pants and the RIFLE on the right? He’s a COSSACK! That funky fork-looking thing in the middle is the trident, which has been a symbol of Ukraine for centuries, and no one really seems to know why. Not that it matters- you can’t debate that trident=teh kewl. On the left is a lion, which kicks almost as much ass as a COSSACK! but not quite. (Wouldn’t COSSACK! be a great 1970s style disaster movie? But I digress.)
The flag of Ukraine looks like this:
It’s not really clear, but it looks like traditionally the blue stood for the sea (or apparently the sky- see this post’s comments- thanks Mariya!) and the yellow stood for the fields of wheat. Ukraine was at one time known as the “breadbasket of Eastern Europe.” There’s lots of farming, and it has traditionally been known for it’s harvests. Well, that and Cherynobl is in Ukraine, but again, I digress.
The capitol city is Kiev, which is also where Sergei grew up. It has about 2.7 million inhabitants and is located on the Dnieper River. We will be visiting Kiev on our honeymoon! I can’t wait to see where Sergei grew up, and hopefully to see some really old stuff. I love history, and Kiev is over a thousand years old. It was blown to bits during WWII, but I still look forward to seeing such sites as the Vydubychi Monastery, the Golden Gate, Independence Square where the 2004 Orange Revolution took place, and last but not least….. LUSH KIEV!!!!!!!
OK that’s enough about Ukraine for the moment. At least now you’ve got a bit of an idea about where Sergei is from. I’ll be adding more about culture and customs (especially wedding customs!) of Ukraine as this blog progresses, so stay tuned!