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Published: February 22nd 2015
In front of the flat
Ready to meet the family
We “loobloo” Bobroosk, Belarus
We traveled 2 and a half hours by train
from Minsk to Bobroosk
to see Irina in her hometown.
I still feel giddy riding a train
wanting to see the scenery passing by
not knowing which side to look out
for fear of missing something interesting.
train ticket and platform finding
are no longer stressful events –
thanks to Julia, Kevin’s co-worker at QSI
She bought train tickets
and gave us the bus time schedule
to get to the station on time.
Now it is a calm routine.
Irina is our new friend from Pullman, Washington
who grew up in Bobroosk, Belarus.
She later moved to Elk City, Idaho
persevered there and has a lovely daughter, Dasha
and they now live in Pullman with David,
a WSU mathematics professor.
Irina met our train
We hopped a trolley bus through town
to Irina’s sister’s flat
We were greeted by nervous sister, Tanya, and mama.
We still don’t speak much Russian
and their English is about the same.
Many smiles and handshakes.
Minibus downtown with Irina
walked through the market
bought two Tajikistan scarves;
one for Kevin and one for Irina
three hats – one for each of us
continue through old town
past tank square,
pictures with the beaver mascot statue
on to Lenon Square
-skate boarders doing their tricks
at the feet of Lenon’s oversized statue
A visit to an art exhibition
of exotic ceramic art pieces
then on to an amazing gem collection
from many former USSR republics.
a quick stop at the candy store for
locally made zephyr – a marshmallow like confection
then a bus back to the flat for dinner
children on the bus
overheard our English conversation
start practicing some English they have learned,
first with themselves, then one brave boy
asks “What is your name?”
I reply and ask him his name
He needs some translation from the others
Then blurts out his name
and returns to the group.
They work with a cell phone translator
to develop another question
I hear snippets of “where: and “from”
but finally the leader asks,
“How old are you?”
We all start laughing
and it is our bus stop
Many friendly “good byes”
I went back out with Tanya
to find some local Babroosk beer to try.
located 2 – Bobrov and Jeegooli
Passed mama on our way back to the flat
She was on her way back to her flat
to pick up some of her homemade hooch
or samagonka – from sugar, yeast, bread
very good with borst (beet soup)
beer tasting – we liked Jeegooli
conversation filled dinner
with translation by Irina to include everyone
included polendretsa – smoked pork tenderloin
sero voolooniya (salami)
and caldune (magician) – meat filled potato dumplings
Tim, the teenage son of Tanya and Volva
showed up resulting in
typical mom and dad concerns
filling the Russian side of the conversation
Tim deflecting their worries with
uncomfortable smiles and clipped comments.
Mama and Irina provide moral support for Tim.
The Babroosk beaver
Scratch him anywhere for luck.
Oh, not there!
Volva rang his brother
to see if he could take us to our hotel
He could – Irena shotgun
Tanya likes to ride in cars so she came too.
Hotel check-in is done through
a small window in the dark lobby
It takes about 30 minutes to register,
so we leave our passports (old hat by now),
get our key and check out the room
Irina does a mock white glove test.
It passes and they leave.
I check on our passports
Still not ready – “10 more minutes”
One more trip down to the lobby
at about 11 pm and passports retrieved
Time for bed
The room reverberates with the lounge
rock and roll music until 3 am.
Irina, the most amazing host,
meets us in the lobby next morning
and helps us get to the bus station
with plenty of time for more conversation.
We settle in for the 2+ hour journey
seats this time –
yesterday we were in a sleeping car
Eastern orthodox church
The front used to be a swimming pool during soviet times.
were only passably comfortable.
Tanya packed us a yummy snack for the train
cheese filled crepe pancakes
salami and polendretse sandwiches,
dumplings and tart
– it all hit the spot
and was a fitting end
to an incredible weekend outside Minsk
Our new family in Babroosk is the best!
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