After I spent a wonderful week in London, it was time to visit one of my family's favorite places in the entire world- Ukraine! My mama lived there when she was a girl, so we go back as often as we can to visit our family there. It was very, very hot in Ukraine, so we spent most of the time inside drinking tea and talking. However, on one tolerable afternoon, I went out with my family for a walk in the center of the city.
The city where my family lives is called Kharkov in Russian and Kharkiv in Ukrainian. It's the second biggest city in Ukraine after its capitol, Kiev (or Kyiv in Ukrainian). It has about 2 million people, which is pretty big! This is me posing at a big fountain in the Taras Shevchenko Gardens in the center of the city. It's a big, big park where I have taken photos before. There are so many trees there!
Can you see the statue down at the end of the path? It's a monument to Taras Shevchenko, whom the park is named for. He was a Ukrainian poet and author.
This is me in 2011 at the monument. I didn't take any pictures with it this trip, but I wanted you to see a little piece of the monument anyway. That's me rubbing the Cossack's toe!
See the map in the bottom of this photo? This picture is of me at the monument to the 50th North parallel! This spot marks where Kharkov is on the map of the world. The words (that are upside down) on the bottom of the picture say "Kharkov" in Russian. I really like this monument because I love maps!
Next to the Shevchenko Gardens, you can find the Ballet and Opera theatre- and across from that is a beautiful fountain called the Mirror Stream! Lots of couples like to go there for photos when they get married. There were too many people to get a good photo, but here I am in front of the structure. See the flag on top? That's the flag of Ukraine!
Here I am behind the mirror stream by the fountains that lead back to the Church of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers. Can you see the beautiful golden roof?
This is me with the Church of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers just behind me. Can you see the bells? This church is new since the last time I visited Ukraine.
I went inside the church to say a quiet prayer for peace. Right now there is a war in parts of Ukraine. I hope it can be resolved peacefully and without further losses to this beautiful country.
After I visited the church, my family and I walked down past the Historical Museum to a really pretty fountain! It's in Pokrovskii Garden Square, near the Holy Virgin Monastery. Even though it was very hot out, it still felt cooler to be near the beautiful fountain with falling water.
The last place I stopped before heading back to my family's apartment was the park that overlooks Annunciation Cathedral! It's striped, like a tiger!
I love walking around Kharkov. It's really cool to see how the city changes over the years. I first visited in 2006 and there have been many new things added over time.
Hi everyone! I'm sorry I haven't posted in so long. I went on a fantastic adventure to Europe! In this photo, I've just arrived in London and am riding the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. I went with my parents to visit family. My aunt, uncle, and cousin live in London. You might remember me posting about my aunt and uncle's wedding a few years ago if you're a longtime reader!
On my last trip to London, I didn't do as much sightseeing because my family was celebrating my aunt and uncle's wedding! This time, I was determined to do more. My first stop was at the Sylvanian Families shop in Highbury! I took a photo in the exact same place as I did in December 2013. Do you think I'm taller than in this photo?
I think I am! You can read about my last visit to the Sylvanian Families shop at this link. I bought some new toys, which I'll share in another entry because I haven't opened them yet!
Freya Chocolate is a really cool bunny toy who lives at the shop. During my last visit, she was wearing a Christmas dress! My family had really nice weather while we were in London, but it did rain so I was wearing wellies.
The Sylvanian Families shop has lots of cute displays. You can't really play with them, but they did give me lots of inspiration for playing at home! The store keepers are very nice. I made sure to pick out gifts for friends and a new Sylvanian family for myself.
After I finished my shopping, my auntie walked with me to the Underground, which is London's subway system. She had something special to show me- something I really wanted to see on my last trip but didn't get a chance. We got off at the Covent Garden stop. After quick stop at Aspinal of London, we arrived at our destination! Do you see that metal bridge in connecting the two buildings in the background of this photo? That's the Bridge of Aspiration that connects the Royal Ballet's Upper School to the Royal Opera House! It twists high above Floral Street. I was so excited to see it!
After I admired the Bridge of Aspiration, we walked around a corner to find the Royal Opera House's shop. I bought a few trinkets there and then continued to the ROH itself! See the building behind me? It's so big that it wouldn't fit in the photo! I was happy to not only see the Royal Opera House flag flying, but also a Pride flag! My family was there during Pride month, so we saw Pride flags all over the city.
This is me with the Royal Opera House's red flag flying behind me. Unfortunately, we had just missed ballet season- but that just means we'll have to come back!
The doors to the Opera House are big and glass. I have been to performances at Lincoln Center in New York City (where I live) and in Kharkov, Ukraine. Someday, I'll walk through these doors and see a performance of the Royal Ballet!
After we had explored the area around the Opera House a bit more, my aunt walked us down to the Strand. In New York City, the Strand is a big, used bookstore. In London, it's a street! My aunt took us to Somerset House, which has a huge courtyard with dancing fountains. Can you see them behind me? I had been wishing I hadn't worn my rain boots, but now I was thrilled!
When I was done playing in the fountains, I was really, really tired. It had been a long day! We decided to walk across Waterloo Bridge and catch the Underground (or "tube") back to my aunt and uncle's house.
Look at the view west from Waterloo Bridge! Wow! Do you recognize anything? The ferris wheel is called the London Eye and it is so, so big! Behind it are the Houses of Parliament with the Elizabeth Tower rising above it. The big clock on the Elizabeth Tower is called Big Ben! The last time I was in London, I didn't see the River Thames at all, so it was very exciting to see it now.
My Mama took this last snap of me in front of the London Eye- can you make it out faintly on the left side of the photo? It turned out to be the last photo of me in London on our trip! My family got so busy that we didn't take out the camera again.
After a week in London, it was off to our next stop! I'm pretty most of you have guessed already where that was!
Have you ever been to a big city like London? Which city did you go to and what did you see?
In summer 2012, I had the great pleasure of meeting a new friend whom I had previously only known online- Steampunk Addie! Addie and I are great friends and we spent an afternoon talking and having fun. Sadly, a few days ago, Steampunk Addie's home fell victim to a massive fire. The home is a total loss. Thankfully Steampunk Addie and her dear friend Clementine are safe, as are her family. Two of the family's cats passed away in the fire, though two dogs and two cats survived.
The family did not have homeowner's insurance, so it is up to our family of friends to care for an amazing member of our community. Please, find it in your hearts to help Steampunk Addie and Clementine's family!
Hello my friends! Last weekend was amazing because it was finally warm enough for the first beach day of the season! I think I've mentioned before that my family loves to go to the beach at sunset because it is much less crowded. I had a fantastic time, even though the water was too cold to swim.
I love going to the beach at sunset! The light is so golden. Plus? My moms gave me a new swimsuit! Isn't it cool? I love playing in the sand.
Before I got to work playing, I did some exploring. That sounds a little silly, because I go to the same beach many times every summer- but really, it's different every time because the ocean and sand are always changing. There were a few other families there, but mostly, my family had the beach to ourselves.
I like this photo of me because my bangs are blowing in the wind and there is a seagull right behind me! The seagulls can be very aggressive if they spy your food! Luckily I didn't have any snacks on me so the seagull left me alone. Phew!
Sandcastles are an important part of a trip to the beach! I recommend getting as close to the water as you can without getting hit by a wave- the sand there has just the right amount of water in it. Dry sand doesn't stick together; you need the sand to be a little wet for it to work as building material!
After I finished building a sandcastle, I went looking for beautiful shells. Can you see all the shells on the ground behind me? The waves wash them onto the shore. Jacob Riis Park Beach is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. That means it's a national park! So! That means you cannot take the shells home. One of the main rules of national parks is "Take only photos, leave only footprints."
After I finished finding beautiful shells, I decided to play with my sand molds. Of course, my moms gave me a tube of sunblock and made me put more and more on! It's very, very important to have protection from the sun so you don't burn. Even though it was sunset, the sun was still pretty powerful.
Check out my sand molds! I have a seahorse and a sea turtle. They are so cute! I love both types of animals. I've only seen sea horses at the aquarium, but I got to see sea turtles in the wild when I was in Costa Rica a year and a half ago. Sea horses are awesome too, though I prefer leafy sea dragons. They're so cool!
Too soon, it was time to go home. I stood in the sun one last time before we got in our car and drove home. I love going to the beach!
As we got in our car, the sun looked gorgeous behind the bridge. Doesn't it look awesome? You can really see how the sun is a star!
Have you ever been to the beach? What was your favorite thing to do there?
Happy 11th Annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day!! I'm very lucky to be part of a family with two moms, my Mama and Mom. They are lucky to have me too!
One thing that makes our family special is that we homeschool and travel a lot! I am ten years old and so far, I have been to several countries and many states. My family loves National Park Service sites like parks and historic sites. At NPS sites, I love to do the Junior Ranger program to earn badges and help me prepare for my dream career- park ranger! My parents made the decision to homeschool me so that we could keep on traveling all year long. I love it!
Another thing that makes our family special is that we all have different ethnicities. I was born in Russia and I am from a small ethnic group there- the Nanai. Mama is American Indian, from New Mexico. Mom is from the East Coast and her family is European American. We also try to spend time in Ukraine whenever we can, because it is very special to our whole family.
My family is special because we are an LGBT family, but we are also just like many families. We are the same and different all at once!
My biggest NPS adventure on my New Mexico trip was a day at White Sands National Monument! White Sands is a beautiful place, a desert made of white gypsum sand near Alamogordo, New Mexico. My family had a great time staying at Inn of the Mountain Gods the night before, so we were well-rested before we set out into the desert.
The sand is pure white and so soft! I live near the Atlantic Ocean and our sand is much grittier. At White Sands, you can climb and play as long as you don't disturb the plants and animals. The sky was bright blue with a few clouds. My family packed lots of water because it can get very hot at White Sands.
One fun thing you can do at White Sands is sled down the dunes! At the gift shop, you can purchase a sled, but I decided to do what my mama did as a kid- slide on a big piece of cardboard. It was so fun! I wanted to roll down, but my parents said "NO WAY!" and told me I'd end up looking like a sand dune myself!
I love this photo because you can see the ripples the wind made in the dunes. Isn't it a beautiful sight? I'm so lucky that I got to visit! You can see mountains behind me. The sand is in the Tularosa basin which is surrounded by the San Andres and Sacramento Mountains. The mountains are partially made of gypsum, so when wind and water brought the gypsum down into the basin, it formed the beautiful white gypsum dunes over time. In fact, the whole area used to be a sea in ancient times!
My mama, mom, and grandma joined me in climbing way up into the dunes. Just to be safe, we stayed where we could see the car parked below. The dunes, if you get lost, can be very disorienting! I loved sitting on the top of a dune and filling out my Junior Ranger booklet.
On our way out of the park, we stopped to do a little hike on a raised walkway through a biological crust area. The biological crust is composed of sand and lots of bacteria that secrete goo that makes the sand bumpy on top. It sounds gross, but it's really awesome. I saw bunny tracks in the crust, but I didn't see any animals other than birds at White Sands. I really wanted to see a lizard!
Back at the ranger station/ visitor center, Ranger Eugene checked my Jr. Ranger booklet. I did a good job, so he awarded me an official badge! He was really nice. We talked a bit about how I am a junior ranger at many different parks across the country.
Would you want to visit White Sands? What would you do there?
Hi everyone! Thanks for celebrating 10 years of blogging with me. Now it's time to get back to my regular adventures! In April, I was able to travel to New Mexico with my mom and mama to visit my grandmother! We had a great time; I ate a lot of green chile stew, stuffed sopaipillas, and even green chile/garlic pistachios! Yum!
This picture is of me at Pecos National Historic Site- I went there in 2012 as well. You can read about it at this link. It's a really nice park- the site of an Indian Pueblo and a Spanish mission.
The last time I was at Pecos NHP, it was freezing cold and rainy! This time, it was warm and sunny which made it a lot more fun. I didn't take my photos because I was concentrating on spending time with my moms; my grandmother had to work.
The next day, after my grandma got off work, we went on an adventure! I put on my new shirt with this cool toucan on it. My grandma also gave me the beautiful necklace I'm wearing in the photo.
Anyway, our adventure was to Southern New Mexico! The photo of me in my toucan shirt is from Valley of Fires. Valley of Fires is a lava flow in the Tularosa basin. It's so cool! I wish my parents had taken more photos but we only stopped for a few minutes on our way to our destination.
In my next post, I'll talk about my main adventure in New Mexico!
Have you ever traveled to visit family? Where did you go?
Hi my friends! This is the last of my looking back posts. The next post will be about my latest adventure! Anyway, here come the memories! 2014 started off by the New Year tree as always. I think New Year may be my favorite holiday.
I was very lucky to receive a beautiful rainbow sweater to wear on chilly days. Isn't it cute? I love it so much.
My first big adventure of 2014 was a trip to the Four Corners region- the area of the country where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet. This is me way up in the mountains at Mesa Verde National Park! The ancient buildings behind me were built by my mama's ancestors, the Ancestral Puebloans.
Another park we visited on that trip was Hovenweep National Monument! Mama, Mom, and my grandma took me on a great hike through the park.
Back in New York City, I started my homeschooling year with a trip to the public library in my neighborhood! My favorite book is "Swallows and Amazons" by Arthur Ransome. What's yours?
In December I departed for one of my biggest adventures! I packed all kinds of stuff to keep me entertained on the flights.
Finally, after lots of flying and driving, we arrived in Costa Rica! It was so green and beautiful there.
One of the highlights of my Costa Rica trip was meeting the mama sea turtles as they laid their eggs on the sand! Wow!
Costa Rica was amazing! It was great to be there with my parents to celebrate the end of 2014.
In 2015, I celebrated Valentine's Day by making cards for my friends!
We had a big snowstorm and I played in the snow until my head got cold!
I love going to the Natural History Museum. Luckily, my family became members in 2015!
In June I celebrated Pride! I love being the daughter of two moms; I'm so lucky to live in a queer family!
One of my favorite summer hangouts is the beach! I took a sailboarding lesson and had a lot of fun.
In August I traveled to Utah to visit my best friend, Violet! This is me at the top of a mountain after riding the tram at Snowbird.
The water at the beaches in NY stays cold for a long time, but it really warms up in early September! I went to Jacob Riis Beach with my family to enjoy the last few days of summer.
In November, I celebrated my 11th birthday with an Octonauts-themed party! My friends Petra Gray, Brooke, and Coral came to celebrate with me.
That was 2014 and 2015! I hope you enjoyed these posts remembering my first ten years of blogging! Looking forward to more years to come!