My Ukrainian best friend (to differentiate from my American best friend) and her American boyfriend, who I trained with and went through Peace Corps with in Ukraine, visited me for four days! (That was a cumbersome sentence).
It was amazing!
I picked them up at 11:45 on a Monday. Here. In America! Anya was in America! Then we visited some other Ukrainian friends in Denver for a few hours. We went out to eat with them and went to the mall for a bit. The friends were a family of two, mother and daughter, who had arrived the Friday before. They are staying with a lady in Denver who helped get them here because the daughter has a disease that can be treated much better in America. Anya and Matt were also instrumental in helping the two get their paperwork in order to come here. At lunch, when they kept bringing drink refills, the Ukrainians were surprised because in their country, every glass including the water, would be charged.
Then I brought Matt and Anya home to my parents' house and we made cheese fondue for supper and watched part of "Little Miss Sunshine." It was delicious. Then Anya gave me some gifts! Earrings from Ukraine and the best present of all, a pilmenye and vareniky maker!! (Ukrainian dishes similar to ravioli or dumplings).
On Tuesday I worked until 11, and then went home and met them. Anya had had a good time jumping on our trampoline all morning. We drove to King Soopers, picked up some picnic supplies, and went to eat at North Lake Park. We saw the little kiddie train running, and decided to go and get a ride. We paid 75 cents to sit on little benches and drive around the field circle. The conductor even let us sit up front to take pictures. :) I said it was a real American train ride, as compared to the many Ukrainian trains. Then we walked over to the sculpture park and walked through, looking at the myriad of artistic works.
That evening, we headed to Denver to meet the Ukrainian 'meetup' group that I had found online and had met several times since coming back from Ukraine. Matt and Anya shared with them their passion for the nonprofit organization they work for, Bethany Social Services. We showed them the video I made about their organization. They had lots of questions and were very receptive. It was such a nice night.
Wednesday, I took the day off completely from work. I took them up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, along with my sister, Danielle, and friend, Johanna (the American best friend). We also brought the two Ukrainians from Denver, we'll call them Helen and Serena. We went on a short hike in the mountains, then went to eat in town and walk around for a bit. We even went up the gondola thingy that looks over the town. I'd never been on that. That was also a pretty good day. We drove Helen and Serena home to Denver, and stopped to pick up a cake for their host, Christine, because it was her birthday. We stayed with them longer than expected and got home at 10 p.m. to my parents' house.
Then on Thursday, I worked until 2 p.m. and then picked them and Jo up to go tour Odells Brewery in Fort Collins (New Belgium Brewery was full). We did the tour and paid $4 for a tray of sampler drinks. Then we went to New Belgium and got tokens for three free drinks. We were a little tipsy by the end. Anya loved it because she hasn't seen beer made like that in a factory. That evening a bunch of us went to Old Chicago Pizza with my mom. It was such a great week and I miss them.