Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Ukrainian-American birthday

A fellow Peace Corps volunteer, Jessie, had her birthday on August 9th, and our friend Stephanie and I went to her town (Berdychiv) to help her celebrate. She's been in Ukraine since April 2009, so this was her third and final birthday in Ukraine. We made American food, but stuck with the Ukrainian traditions for the party.

In the States, it's customary for family/friends to pay for the birthday lady/gent's celebration. In Ukraine, it's the opposite - the person whose birthday it is should decide how to celebrate, then invite whoever they want, and pay for the whole thing. So, Jessie decided to combine her American-ness (the food) with Ukraine's way of doing things (paying for all the food and cooking for a majority of the day.)

We had a really fun day picking out what American foods to make and having a cooking party at Jessie's house (just the Americans), then going to Jessie's organization for the party with Jessie's closest Ukrainian friends. We made mac and cheese, chicken fingers, chocolate-covered pretzels, a 7-layer Mexican dip (Steph and I had to represent the Midwest), and bruschetta on toast. We of course also baked a cake and used a frosting mix that our friend Rachel had sent to us from the States. We even put sprinkles on it!

At the dinner party, Jessie got many toasts, many gifts, and lots of balloons popped in her ear. :)

After the dinner party, we went to a nightclub near Jessie's apartment, and danced to the genius creations of Lady Gaga, Ruslana, and Madonna. Jessie graced us with a solo dance in front of our table. As is evident in the picture, I was really sick that day (the sickest I've been in Ukraine) but I still had fun.

It was a great day!

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