Yay for Nikki Yeager's Blog! Here you'll find a mix of funny anecdotes, NYC stories and art info! I try to update as regularly as possible and keep it interesting so you'll enjoy every minute of it! Comments make me incredibly happy (just keep it in mind), so keep on reading and come back often
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!... several days late.
How'd you spend your Chinese New Year? Because I, personally, spent mine being simultaneously trampled and crushed to death by a swarm of parade watchers. This will be the absolute last year I consider going to the Chinatown parade. Granted, the dragons were impressive and the singers on the floats were great, but were those sites worth a near death experience? Definitely not.
So here's how it went down.
I met my friends a few blocks away from the parade start. To see the parade as it went down Mott St., we found a cross street and attempted to push our way to a point we could actually see the procession. As we walked, it got more and more crowded. More people seemed to be springing up from the cement cracks like weeds; all of NYC must have been crowded around Canal, Mott and East Broadway.
After finding ourselves at a standstill behind a wall of human beings for a good 10 minutes, I felt a shove on my back. The shove rammed me into my friend and then instead of richoceting back off of her (a body in motion and all of that), I just... stayed. The person behind me was smooshed flat against my back.
I tried to apologize to my friend while simultaneously spitting her ponytail out of my mouth. While I was struggling against the crowd, I got slammed by a line of women on my right trying to get to the front of the crowd. Then I was pushed further into the line of women by a family on my left that was trying to get away from the crowd by shoving in the opposite direction. The 20 people surrounding me were all wedged in between a building and a metal crowd rail, pushing against each other and getting nowhere. A man to my left started hyperventilating. Another person being shoved by the line of women started screaming "Police! Police! We're getting crushed!".
The crowd got so tight that my feet were held slightly above the ground by the tightening mass around me. I started to seriously contemplate my risk of being squeezed to death. My friend in front of me vocalized the thoughts in all of our heads.
"If I was ever afraid of actually being trampled....".
The police officer who was being summoned by the frantic man just stared at us without responding. He seemed to be at a total loss for words while we all struggled like fish caught in a net. Everyone moving in a different direction but getting nowhere.
People started yelling on both sides of me. The family to my left screaming at women to my right, "WHY WOULD YOU GO THAT DIRECTION?!".
The women started trying to jump over the bodies in front of them -- unsuccessfully of course.
Eventually one of the smaller people who was jammed between us all popped out like a bullet from a shotgun and got free. The tiny little bit of space that opened up was just enough for me to turn sideways and all of a sudden, the crowds on either side of me could go in the directions they needed to... slowly.
And we somehow made it out alive. But I can't pretend I didn't have a seriously nerve-wracking few minutes stuck between all those unmoving bodies. Needless to say, I think I'll be avoiding parades for a few years.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on February 2, 2014 at 7:55 PM||comments (0)|
WOOO! Today was the first day in weeks (months?) that was above freezing. And I loved every minute of it. But the reminders of our harsh 2013/14 winter are still visible, like the scattered leftover piles of snow that are so mixed with dirt and garbage, it'll be months before they actually melt. At this point, those piles are only 1% snow and 99% other "stuff".
For some reason, while I was walking around with short sleeves under my coat and a single pair of tights covering my legs, I couldn't help but look back on the freezing cold weather with fondness. Especially when I think about the week long trip I took to Chicago in the bginning of January. The windchill was -35 while the actual temperature was in the single-digit negatives. During the week I was in town, the South Pole was a good 10+ degrees warmer than the Windy City.
Me and everyone on the plane landing in Chi Town happened to be from NYC so when we touched down on the runway, there was a collective gasp and round of "What the F**ks". We bonded in our tiny little airplane rows over the terrible sight outside our windows. I made friends with 50 year old businessmen and 40 year old CEOs. We formed a team against the terrifying snow covered world outside.
I tried to get a picture of the baggage carts with tiny snow plows attached tot he fronts or the plane that slid of the runway and was sitting in the middle of a snowbank, but I'm really slow with my camera.
When the doors of the plane finally opened, we all walked together towards the exit, slightly scared of what lay outside. Together, we huddled in the taxi line, forming a sheild against the wind. People handed each other extra pairs of gloves and shared cabs that they normally wouldn't. Old men and women were ushered to the front of the line by total strangers. Nobody cut in line or made a fuss when someone took too long getting in a car.
It was beautiful.
Throughout the week, I found that the people around me bonded over the terrible weather. When one person slipped on an ice patch, another person would grab their arm and pull them up. When I got on the el, people would move aside to let me in and then whisper good luck to anyone exiting the train. A normally picky client I was workign with was completely relaxed when our trainings were cancelled and delayed over and over again. It was as if the entire city of Chicago created a united front against the freezing cold, everyone looking out for one another. We formed team Human and we fought against the weather.
It was sort of wonderful.
You can't tell but this is a good 3 feet of snow. And it didn't even turn to slush.. it was so cold that the snow stayed crunchy no matter how many people/cars ran over it.
It's all the more amusing looking back on that comaraderie now that the beautiful weather came back. People have turned into themselves again. And as themselves, people aren't nearly as entertaining or pleasant.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on January 5, 2014 at 8:35 PM||comments (0)|
I've decided I love terrible weather in NYC. Any time I hear a funny conductor I remember my experience during Snowmaggedon 2010 when the R Train conductor seemed to be on happy pills. Happy, hilarious pills.
This year we had another Noreaster slam NYC and while it was a pitiful attempt at snow compared to 2010, it still kept about half the regular morning commuters at home and cut train service to a bare minimum during the morning.
After trudging through 6 inches of snow and schlepping my big purse and wet boots through the train station, I found myself standing with a good 200 people while train after train skipped the 116th stop. By the time a train finally stopped, we filled it up to capacity with our stop alone. People were pushing other passengers out of their way and I was shoved next to a woman who insisted on singing along with her music while smooshed against my armpit.
It started off as an altogether unpleasant experience. A sentiment my fellow passengers seemed to share.
But then a candid conductor caused us all to smile.
At a busy stop, another 200 people tried to smoosh into our already packed car. One guy in particular decided to hold the doors open even though there was no chance he was getting in. None of us were amused. Neither was the conductor.
Annoyed Conductor: "Yo, stop holding the doors."
The man kept his body wedged firmly in the opening.
Conductor: "When you hold the doors, you make the train late."
No change in the man's position.
A suddenly pleased voice boomed over the intercome: "Don't be suprised when I get a call that we gotta skip YOUR stop because we're running late. That's what happens when you hold the doors. We skip your stop."
And we all snickered in a cynical way while the man backed off the train.
Because it's so nice to hear a conductor stand up for all the commuters held captive by the idiot standing in the doorway. Oh how I loved that man. Those guys are always creating commaraderie during the worst commuting days, even if it happens to be at the expense of some stubborn fool who refuses to wait for the next train.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on December 17, 2013 at 9:50 PM||comments (0)|
Attention: This is a vagina/uterus related article. You males have been warned.
My happy, wheat-free belly.
I recently stopped eating wheat. And no, it wasn’t because I was hopping on the gluten-free trend. It was purely because I didn’t want to wear makeup on my wedding day and to make that happen I needed to get rid of my acne. Fast. So I cut out all sugary, oily and refined foods. For me, that meant everything wheat based. Before we move on, it’s important to understand that I love wheat and the more refined, sugary or buttery, the better.
At the end of an absolutely terrible day if you offered me two options: a glass of wine or a chocolate croissant, I’d pick the croissant each and every time. Bread products make me disturbingly happy.
So it was a big decision for me to eliminate wheat as a way to purge myself of sugar and grease. But it worked. My skin cleared up and aside from a little spray on blush (which I was ambushed with at the salon), I could forego heavy makeup on my wedding day. It was fabulous.
Pre-makeup and no zits!
But something else happened when I stopped eating bread products (besides the burst of anger that I unleashed on my significant other for the first week of wheat detox): I stopped PMSing. I stopped getting cramps.
Now that might not sound like a big deal to women with easy periods, but I’m not one of those women. One week before my period starts I get so bloated that I’m left with only two wardrobe options: Fat dress #1 or Fat dress #2. My skin gets so oily that you could easily lube up every squeaky door in the country with nothing but my face grease. For the entire week before P-Day, I spend most of my free time despising toilets because no matter how hard I try, nothing is coming out of my bloated, greasy body.
And then it starts. Day one arrives and with it comes every food item that has been patiently sitting in my intestines for the last week. I start cramping, I get another dress size larger and my boobs get so big and tender you’d think I was preparing to breastfeed quintuplets. Then comes the complete and utter incapacitation. I can’t straighten out my midsection because of the overwhelming pain, I want to stab everyone who smiles at me and I have to buy several more boxes of tampons. At the end of the week I have nothing but a few remembered arguments and three pairs of ruined underwear to show for it.
All of this I’ve taken on as my womanly curse. My mother went through it and her mother went through it. I am meant, as a uterus-carrying lady to suffer the pain of a thousand deaths for a week out of every month.
Or am I?
The week of my wedding fell two days before my period and I had no bloating, no oily face and no cramps. In fact, I forgot my period was coming. The next month, P-Day snuck up on me so completely that I thought my vagina was bleeding from an injury. I even scheduled a doctor’s appointment because if I wasn’t in excruciating pain I obviously could not be on my period. But I was.
This month I experienced the same glorious cycle. I called my mom every day to proudly parade my newly acquired, misery-free period status, “I’m the Menstrual Master!!” I now welcome my period as a weak adversary. I will kick its ass every month from here on out. And the only weapon I needed was a wheat free diet.
Thinking I was an anomaly, I looked up the facts behind my discovery. Regarding women with endometriosis specifically, a recent study showed that 75% of women with severe edometriosis-related pain reported significant lessening of painful symptoms after 12 months of a gluten free diet. Research done by Dr Vikki Peterson D.C., C.C.N. claims that gluten can exacerbate PMS because of adrenal fatigue and can cause cramping, heavy bleeding, endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, migraines, PMS, miscarriages and infertility. Outside of the medical world, anecdotal evidence for gluten free diets curing PMS abounds on blogs like Wheat Belly. In short – I’m not the only one who has discovered this miraculous solution to my monthly problem.
With that being said, I feel like my life as a woman is completely different now. I don’t detest my existence for a quarter of every month. I’m not counting down the years until menopause. Best of all, I don’t hate my husband for not having a troublesome uterus of his own (and trust me, I despised him for that). While I don’t necessarily believe depriving ourselves of wheat will solve the world’s ills, I definitely think it’s worth a wheat-free test period for any woman who, like me, views the day she hit puberty as the worst day of her life. And if nothing else comes of it, you might end up with a little less acne on your wedding day.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on December 3, 2013 at 4:35 PM||comments (0)|
Every day in NYC I have to walk the two blocks from the subway to my apartment despite the winter weather. Snow, slush, rain, freezing winds.. all of the grossness that can hapen outdoors in December. But there's always been one miraculous ray of sunshine - the zoo on 116th street.
No matter how late it is, how tired I am or how miserable my day was, I always (ALWAYS) crack a huge smile when I cross 3rd Ave and 116th only to find multiple rows of miniature safari animals molded out of leather, lined up along the street. In the middle of the concrete sidewalk with cabs whizzing by and people hustling to and from their apartments, there's a little haven of animal-induced happiness.
Lions and tigers and bear, oh yes!
All the species are there and I love them. So when I ended up spending the bulk of this winter in Cleveland instead of NYC, my favorite person in the world sent me the best present ever. My husband boxed up a little piece of wildlife and sent me a cheetah.
He said the cheetah was made as an exact replica of my kitty-cat Mac, albeit an angry version of Mac. Sent through USPS from the rough and tumble zoo of Spanish Harlem to protect me in my suburban apartment.
A little piece of the sidewalk zoo that always makes me smile = the best ting anyone has every given me.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on December 1, 2013 at 7:35 PM||comments (0)|
Me and Daniel recently decided that before we think about having babies we should think about what we want to do before thinking about having babies. And that led us to create our own before-babies bucket lists of all the selfish and stupid things we want to do before being responsible adults. Thankfully I've done a lot of aselfish and stupid things, so my list isn't very long but I'm waiting to see what Daniel's will look like.
I'm posting mine below, but feel free to comment with more suggestions of what I should add:
1. Take Russian lessons (again). I'm determined to have a bilingual baby and I keep forgetting all my darn language skills every time I learn them.
2. Get my legs to do the splits again because I was able to do them when I was younger and I sure as heck won't be doing the splits after having a baby so I might as well get one last hurrah out of my legs.
2. Run a 10k. Even if it's not a competition and it's on my own, I'm going to run all those Ks. It'll get me in shape for when I am pregnant someday... and I'd like to be able to outrun my own children if they end up being athletic. Becase, you know, they have to learn how to lose early on...
3. Take pictures of my pre-baby body. I don't have extra skin in weird places or cellulite on my thighs or inexplicable stretch marks in places that don't even make sense. I'd like proof of that, because I know my body won't stay this way.
4. Go backpacking overnight with Daniel. First and foremost because I think it would be hilarious to see my city-boy husband sleeping in a tent and eating food that he had to carry around on his back all day. But also because I imagine it would be a magical bonding experience. And I recently read the book "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed which made me want to follow in her footsteps. On a lesser scale of course.
5. Go to Hawaii. This is really only on here because we're definitely going to Hawaii to visit my sister who moved there recently so I know I'll be able to cross it off the list. And I love crossing things off lists!
If anyone can think of any other suggestions, please comment. I wouldn't want to miss out on any babyless fun just because I didn't think of an idea!
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on November 20, 2013 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
Naples, FL is a weird place. Everyone I’ve seen here is over 50. It’s almost as if all the young people died… or they’re barricaded out at the airports. I’m not sure, but I do make sure enlist an elderly escort whenever I leave my hotel in order to not keep suspicion at bay. I don’t want to know what happened to the young’ns.
But the funny thing is, seeing this population of older people doesn’t make me fear being older and it doesn’t make me bored to tears. Instead, it gives me a chance to look forward to aging. Just sitting at Panera I’ve seen two cyclists, a nurse, a jogger and a burly old man with a tiny little lap dog. I’ve seen a friendship forged when one cigar smoking dude asked another for directions and I’ve seen more luxury sports cars than I knew we had in this country.
And that’s after only 15 minutes.
What I haven’t seen? Walkers, sickness, sadness or evidence of death.
Instead of the New York conversation starter “What do you do”, there’s the self admissions of what one “did”. It seems most of the people here sold a business or retired after a long, financially rewarding career. The ones still working look thrilled to be serving lattes or waiting tables. And then there are the hobbies – all the things we all put to the side while working: Bicycling, photography, art, hiking, language classes, etc. My relative told me that at his photography club alone, nearly 200 people show up during the winter months. And most of them are good.
Which makes me wonder – why is it that we fear aging? A person doesn’t lose their sense of self as they get older, they just lose a little hair and a lot of collagen. And because of that, I see a happy retirement as a gift. Hopefully a gift I’m someday given. It’s a chance to refine skills people never make time for. It’s a chance to explore the world without worrying about waking up for a meeting. It’s an opportunity to get a dog or dress in clothes that always seemed a little to “bright” for the workplace. And I love every minute of being surrounded by these “old people”. Because these old people not only have their sh*t together (pardon the expression), but they are pretty badass.
Just like the coffee shop I sat at yesterday “Badass Coffee”. Which was own, ran and visited by an exclusively 50+ bunch.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on November 16, 2013 at 7:20 PM||comments (0)|
My mom and I were recently in Arkansas for a tradeshow. After a long day of demos, conversations, chasing down potential leads and then being blindsided by some regulatory questions regarding a particular law, we packed up and called it a day. An exhaustive, long, busy, day.
And then we discovered - SURPRISE! - we were staying in a dry county. Which is apparently half of Arkansas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with dry counties, that means there's no alcohol. At all. No glasses of wine to calm nerves, no bottles of beer to relax with. There are no magic juices that will help soothe your startup woes after a legitimately difficult day. Frustrated and sober, we sat at Chik-fil-A doing some more work and drinking plain old milkshakes. Which is when about 3 million teenagers bombarded the restaurant demanding chicken sandwhiches and french fries galore.
My mom, tired beyond compare, exclaimed "Jees Louise," (because you can't use the Lord's name in vain when in a religious city of Arkansas) "their teen pregnancy rate must be through the ceiling since they can't drink or anything!"
Because in that moment of frustration it seemed that if alcohol, evolution and swearing were made unacceptable everyone must be humping all day long out of boredom and frustration. Or at least that was our theory.
So we googled it. And guess what?
Here's a map of what is considered to be the "Bible Belt"
And here's a map of teen pregnancies.
Now THAT is a very sobering thought.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on November 1, 2013 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
One last Halloween related post for the season: Sexy Stuff.
I like to think of myself as an extremely adventuresome person in all aspects of my life (you'll see what I'm hinting at in a second). However, I don't believe I have to wear my adventuresomeness in *those* areas on my sleeve... or, lack of sleeves.
I'll be the first to admit it, I've been called Amish (at my bachelorette party) and Jewish (pretty much every day) when people reference my typical uniform of thigh-to-knee length dresses all season long and cardigans/tights during cold weather. My butt cheeks are always respectibly covered and I think the trend towards sheer clothing last summer was downright absurd. If for no other reason, who pays more than a few dollars for a see through shirt/dress?!?! Seriously???
I know my views on clothing aren't for everyone. I realize I'm overly modest for a 20 something, fairly thin girl. Yea, my clothing can be considered sort of insane.
BUT I don't think I'm crazy when I say this: halloween does not have to be an excuse for nudity! Seriously guys, does anyone even know where a "sexy nurse" originated?!?! That's not a thing, people! And it's not punny or clever or creative. It's just .... "sexy". That's it. You get zero points for originality.
Which is why I thought it was hilarious when I told my office I was a crayon for Halloween (also not punny or original but, you know, not everyone can win at costume making). They immediately sent me this pic:
And I'd like to set the record straight, I was not that kind of crayon. Specifically because I would have gotten frost bitten - I'm living in Cleveland, guys! I was a crayon purely because it's cylindrical (like a human body in a slim fitting dress) and I'm lazy So for all of you who don't believe me, here's my proof. But ignore the poorly taken picture, my arms are only so long! You'll just have to imagine my awesome dunce-cap type crayon hat and bright blue tights.
Yea, not a sexy crayon. Just a boring ol' Blue Crayola.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on October 31, 2013 at 11:05 AM||comments (0)|
Halloween in big cities makes me chuckle. Why? Because there's so much diversity and so many oddities to begin with, everything turns into a guessing game during the week of Oct 31st.
For example, I was riding a subway today in DC when a woman with a bucket full of old, wrinkled silk flowers, a blue cape and blurred black eye makeup boarded the same car as me. She came and sat down next to me so I spent the next 20 minutes playing "Crazy or Costume". She had the crazy factor considering I had no idea what she might have been and her makeup looked days old. However, the costume factor existed because her cape looked home-made, her flowers were neatly arranged and to be honest, she was really young to have already lost her mind. The verdict is still out, I never made up my mind.
Back to the wonderful land of New York City, I've seen both of these guys. Can you tell which is Crazy and which is Costume?
Well you're probably all wrong! It was a trick question - both of those guys are Union Square regulars. Which makes my point perfectly. How the heck can you tell the difference between NYC on a full moon and NYC on Halloween evening?
Besides the influx in scantily clad women, there's no telling. And to me, that's freaking hilarious.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on September 22, 2013 at 9:15 PM||comments (0)|
So my mom is starting this business that my brother and I are helping with. Not to brag or anything, but we're sort of a super-family trio. My brother can program like a genius, my mom is a rock star teacher with years upon years of knowledge under her belt, and I can work really freaking hard (and read my mom's mind occasionally when nobody else gets her random wide-view thinking).
Several months in, my mom has imagined an amazing academic electronic health records system, my brother did the grueling task of making it a reality and now.... now it's my turn.
And it's a little terrifying. Because I'm doing sales and marketing and public relations and communications and help sites and videos and all the random crap that no one else should have to waste their specialized knowledge on. You know, the intern work. Plus the sales work.
And it's awesome because it's keeping me busy in OH where I thought I'd have a hard time finding things to do outside of my 9-5 work schedule at BuildingLink. Instead, I lost my voice from talking so much, and am working until late into the night most nights. Now, that's not to say I'm sad or overwhelmed... I'm so excited I feel like I'm on drugs. It's amazing to have a chance to work with my mom - one of the people I respect most in the entire world. I get to see the powerful woman who supported our family for so long when she's in action. Making her own company and doing it with no financial support or previous infrastructure.
Now if we can just use our trio of super powers to get this thing off the ground, I might explode with happiness.
So anyone out there who has friends in nursing school or knows a nursing instructor, pass on the website: EHRTutor.com. And even if you don't care about nursing or nursing education, like us on https://www.facebook.com/EHRTutor" target="_blank">facebook and follow us on https://twitter.com/EHRTutor" target="_blank">twitter. Please!
Thank you much and wish us luck so we can succeed before holding down two jobs at once kills all three of us.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on September 16, 2013 at 4:20 PM||comments (0)|
I was a little scared to make the move from working in an office to working from home (which I'm doing until the end of December while living in OH). To be honest, I thought it'd require boat-loads of will power to roll out of bed every morning by 9am when no one was watching and my bed is, technically, in my office anyways.
But it turns out I'm pretty darn reliable.. who knew?! I've actually woken up and started work early every day so far. Which is great because instead of spending 20 minutes commuting every morning, I can spend 20 minutes doing silly data entry work or emailing before my phone starts ringing... and nobody interrupts! It's lovely.
I was also terrified that I'd go crazy considering I'm often too extroverted for my own good. But working during the day at my job, doing work for my mom in the evening and spending weekends with friends/family is keeping me so busy, I haven't had a chance to be bored. And this is Ohio, so not being bored for 3 weeks of living here is a huge deal. It's basically unheard of.
Best of all... I don't have to get dressed until 5pm most days. Which is disgusting, but also pretty darn awesome.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on August 26, 2013 at 4:25 PM||comments (0)|
Daniel and I rocked Honeyfund for wedding gifts (which means instead of requesting fondue pots, fancy china and sets of sheets, we asked for people to gift us honeymoon items for the wedding). That took a lot of stress out of the honeymoon itself considering so many items had already been paid for (thanks to all the people who made that possible!). That being said we still managed a reasonable budget day to day.
Which was difficult considering we typically manage our personal money separately and only use joint funds for joint expenses like rent, couches and date nights. So neither one of us ever sees every penny the other spends. It’s nice. I spend too much on lattes occasionally and Daniel has a weakness for 15 dollar sandwiches (Katz Deli. Always Katz.).
Anywho, we went about our first days in Kyiv without any money/budget problems. Until day three came.
We were walking along Khreshchatyk st., one of the main streets in Kyiv, when I saw something beautiful and white and fluffy. And I just had to touch it. Obviously.
So I ran up to the little white, curly tailed animal and started cooing in the bird’s face. It looked like an all white pigeon with a perm. A really nice perm.
I think I even complimented it on the beautifully done up tail. And it cooed back at me, appreciative of the compliment.
Next thing I knew the bird man was putting this bird on me along with its brother and sister. The whole family on my shoulders!
And as Daniel snapped pictures, another man descended on us from a dark ally and threw his birds on Daniel. Now we had a whole gaggle of birds on us and Daniel started talking to the guys in Russian.
And then talking to me in Russian.
See, he wasn’t the best translator and I wasn’t the best travel companion. He would speak to other people in Russian and then when he was supposed to be translating the words to English for me, he’d forget and start repeating the conversation back in Russian. I’d just stare at him until he realized I couldn’t understand and then we’d move on. That being said, I’ve learned a decent amount of Russian over the last few years but I relied on him completely during our trip for communication. I didn’t even try to understand what people were saying because it was so hard for me, and second nature to him.
This didn’t work in such a bird-y situation. Apparently Daniel told me not to pick up the birds – in Russian – and because I wasn’t communicating with anyone, I wasn’t paying the least bit attention to the situation. I was just paying attention to the birds.
Which cost us.
Literally. That five minute picture with the birds cost us about fifty USD. By far, the most expensive thing we did during our entire honeymoon.
Daniel immediately started arguing in Russian and I started saying “Don’t you dare pay them that!” to which he started shouting at ME in Russian (I still have no idea what he was saying). The first guy we happily paid considering we were the idiots who picked up his birds.
The second guy, he wanted just as much as the first guy and we never even spoke to him! He just threw his birds on us! The second guy was also the shady police-calling guy so even though he didn’t deserve it, he got his money in the end.
And we got a $50 picture of some birds.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on August 25, 2013 at 4:15 PM||comments (0)|
Ukraine is a funny place. They have fancy cars everywhere, but no reported income to explain their existence. They have a huge percentage of outdoor cafes and eateries but freezing cold winters that would have to shut them down (I’m assuming?!). And the strangest thing is, they have internet everywhere (seriously, everywhere!), but they don’t use computers for anything.
For example, at the Odessa Opera House, where they don’t have an electronic ticketing system. Instead, they have a Soviet-era line system where everyone waits in line until at least three people die of starvation and/or boredom, and then you finally get to talk to a single lady in a single ticket booth. With over 1000 bundled, pre-printed tickets.
I kid you not.
This poor, 70 year old woman was sitting amidst piles of pre printed tickets for the next 2 months of shows. When you finally made it through the hour long line, she would rifle through her stacks and stacks of tickets to see if she had anything available in your price range. Need 2 seats together? Then she would look through each bundle starting with the cheapest until she found two seats next to one another.
And you never know what you’ll get. Maybe she’ll give you $10 tickets, or maybe there won’t be any side-by-side seats until she gets to the $100 floor seats. You never know. It’s like a terribly cruel lottery controlled by one bespectacled Ukrainian babushka.
Then, after you get your tickets that she found side-by-side, they may or may not actually be side by side. They may, in fact, be one behind the other.
Better yet, you may go up to your private booth and find your seats are not only one behind the other, but they really aren’t seats at all…. They’re foot stools!
On a wooden platform, so you can see over the heads of the strangers sharing your “private box”.
Which Daniel found strange…but I found downright hilarious.
And I giggled a little as I took my seat on my velvet footstool and enjoyed the Moscow Ballet’s version of Swan Lake… sitting on an ottoman.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on August 24, 2013 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
History is a matter of perspective. Something I’m reminded of constantly while travelling.
A truth I came face to face with again while visiting a WWII memorial and museum in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The Iron Lady statue. Under the statue is the WWII museum.
Which shouldn’t have surprised me. I understand our history education in the United States is severely lacking (but I’m not going to lie, I would’ve ditched quite a few more classes if anyone tried to make me sit through a European History course in high school), but it still surprises me occasionally just how much I was never taught. Or even told about.
For example, did you know there was a whole war that happened. A war that the holocaust was just a small percentage of? A war that killed 20+ MILLION Soviets but only 400,00+ Americans?
Sure, we talk about concentration camps, but do you really know what happened in that war? Because I certainly don’t.
Anyways, it was really interesting to go the memorial in Kyiv because those war torn years still define the city and its population. Ukraine was a country under fire for many years. First absorbed by the Soviet Union, then invaded by Germany.
Boats in the Dniper used during the invasion of Kyiv by Nazi Germany in 1941.
Back to the Jewish aspect of the war - In Odessa, Ukraine the Jewish population was once over 40%. It’s now somewhere around 3.5%. But Jewish deaths weren’t the only deaths, and shouldn’t be the only ones we discuss.
A bone grinder.
Because Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union during that era, the museum covered the events of all previous Soviet territories.
For example, have you heard of the Siege of Leningrad? A 3 year time span when Germany blocked all access to and from the city of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). The Russians, being Russians, refused to surrender and gave Germany a big middle finger. While nearly 700,000 people died of starvation, the city never gave in and the WWII museum had an entire display -- rightfully so! -- dedicated to the citizens of that city who held their ground even when it meant starvation, dehydration and death.
It just amazes me how ignorant I really am of what happened throughout history. So I’ll continue to travel and, hopefully, will continue to learn. Because even now I’ve only touched the surface of the sea.
Symbolic funeral table set for those who perished during WWII