Hello my friends! As I haven't been traveling since my trip to Europe, I've decided to really focus on introducing my friends. I hope that's okay with everyone! We'll get back to my adventures as soon as I have a new one.
So! Today I am introducing my friend Sonali! Sonali lives in my neighborhood with her family. Her dad and uncle run a chat house, or South Asian snack shop, around the corner from our building. Her mom works at the local elementary school, which Sonali also attends. The school focuses on cultural and performing arts, so Sonali gets to attend lots of cool performances and events.
Sonali is such a fun friend! She and I love to go to the local library together. The children's room is great! It has tons of books to read and computers to use for play or studying. Sonali and I both like adventure stories- her favorite book is Katherine Rundell's Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, while I love Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series.
Sonali is learning to play violin! She is learning using the Suzuki method and is very disciplined. I really admire how hard she works. Sonali looks so cool carrying her violin in its case on her back around the neighborhood.
I'm really lucky to have a good friend like Sonali right in my apartment building. She's had a scooter for years, but now that I have one too, we love riding them to her family's chat house for kulfi popsicles! Kulfi is a kind of Indian ice cream. Sonali and I love the mango and pistachio flavors best!
I love having Sonali nearby! Do you have friends who live in your apartment building or neighborhood? Do you hang out together a lot?
Hi everyone! Today is really hot and muggy outside, so I'm stuck inside for a bit. Since I'm indoors this afternoon, I decided to do another post in my Meet My Friends series! You can click on a list of all my previous entries at this link.
Ready to get started? This is my friend Ksenia! Her nickname is Ksyusha and she lives in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Ksenia is from Almaty, Kazakhstan. She's of Russian and Kazakh descent.
Ksenia is really, really intelligent. She goes to a school with a special program for gifted kids who are bilingual in Russian and English! She loves to play Erudit, which is a Russian version of Scrabble, and is hoping to join her school's Scrabble team. Living in a high-rise apartment in Brighton Beach means she lives right next to the ocean! She loves to walk on the boardwalk and get ice cream from the trucks that park by the ramps that lead up to the boardwalk.
Like me, Ksenia loves animals. Her favorites are deer and giant pandas. She's a fantastic friend! We both go to a youth group for kids who speak Russian and other Slavic languages; that's actually where we met.
Ksenia is so nice. We don't see each other as often as I'd like, because of school and other commitments, but I always enjoy hanging out with her.
Do you have any friends who go to a different school than you do?
Hello, hello! It's time for another edition in my Meet My Friends series for my blog. I've been slowly making a special page of all my friends. You can get to it at this link, or by clicking on the "My Friends" link below my header image.
Most of you know my friend Coral. Her full name is Coral Jade Takiwira. She's from Wellington, New Zealand! Coral lives in Brooklyn now with her dad and her au pair (a kind of nanny). Coral's dad works for the United Nations in Manhattan! Coral is half Māori. The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand!
Coral loves to dance! This picture shows her in her traditional Māori dance outfit. I initially met Coral through a mutual friend, Maiki. Coral doesn't just do traditional Māori dance though!
Coral is an accomplished ballet student! She practices every single day- even when she's on vacation!
Coral studies ballet at a famous school in Lincoln Center- do you like her school sweatshirt? Her bedroom has its own ballet barre and the walls are covered in posters from her favorite ballet company, the New York City Ballet.
One of Coral's first performances in New York was as a Golden Hour in the ballet Coppélia! Isn't her costume beautiful? The Golden Hours appear at the end of the ballet. They dance to celebrate the new bell tower!
Even though Coral's costume for Coppélia is very detailed, her favorite ballet is A Midsummer Night's Dream! This is Coral in her costume. She played a fairy, one of the many bugs and fairies who accompany the fairy king, Oberon!
Coral's biggest role so far was Marie, the main character of The Nutcracker! She danced every other night for over a month. Wow!
When Coral's not dancing, she loves to relax and read. She's also pretty good at making bracelets on her rainbow loom, as you can see in this photo!
I love how friends can be so different but still get along like two peas in a pod! I love camping, hiking, and playing outside. Coral loves dressing up in beautiful costumes to dance. She also likes wearing dresses and soft colors when she's not dancing. Do you like her dress and floral crown in this photo?
Coral is a great friend. I'm so glad she moved to New York City from New Zealand!
Do you have any friends who have moved to your town from far away? Tell me about them!
Hello my friends! Now that I'm back from my trip to Europe, the summer is in full swing! It gets really hot in New York City in July and August, so I've been trying to stay cool. One of my favorite places in my neighborhood is the public library. You can read one of old blog entries about the library here if you want. The library is great because the kids room has books, DVDs, computers, and air conditioning! It's several blocks away though, so I have found a great way to get there quickly!
That's right! I ride my scooter! It goes pretty speedily down the sidewalks. Since many families in NYC don't use cars, it's important to get places on foot. However, I'm a kid- so I get pretty tired after a lot of walking. A scooter is a great solution! Plus? When I'm speeding down the sidewalks, the air feels nice and cool.
Summer is so fun! Sometimes it's too hot and I wish it were winter. I remember then how much I miss the summer when it's freezing cold outside! Hmm. What do you think is worse, heat or cold? I don't like being sweaty and hot, but I really, really don't like having to put on tons of extra clothes in the winter! My least favorite part of summer is how hot it gets on the subway platforms. The subway cars are air conditioned, which is nice, but the platforms get very, very warm.
Off I go! What's your favorite mode of transportation? Bicycle? Scooter? Airplane? Leave me a comment and let me know!
While I was in the United Kingdom, something very important was happening. The country had a referendum to decide whether or not they should stay in the European Union. I asked lots of questions about it and decided that I was on the remain side. I think the European Union is a great idea. Plus, our close family friends rely on the rules of the European Union to live in the UK. I was very sad when the news came out that the UK had decided to leave the European Union (EU). I decided to go with my mama and our friend to a protest of the referendum results, which is called Brexit. I carried my own European Union flag and brought my camera. Even though I am not British, I thought it was important to participate to show my support for the European Union.
Supporting the European Union and its goals does not mean that I am against the United Kingdom! I am very lucky that I have gotten to visit the UK twice plus one time that I went through the airport on the way home from Ukraine. The people are really nice and it's got great history! However, I was really sad that so many people voted against staying in the European Union because they were scared of immigrants. Immigrants make countries stronger!
Even though the referendum did not turn out that way my family and I would have liked, I am glad that I was in London to witness the days before, during, and after the election. I think it's very important to participate in your country's political system by voting! I am too young to vote, but I am very excited to vote someday.
Have you ever felt strongly about a political issue? Did you agree with your family?
Kharkov is one of my favorite places in the world. Gorky Park near central Kharkov is one of my favorite places in that city! I was really pleased that I got to go see the "new" Gorky Park on my trip to Ukraine. In 2012, Ukraine and Poland hosted the European Championship, which is a big soccer/football tournament. Kharkov got some redesigns during that time and I was finally getting to see them! One of the changes was a whole new ferris wheel! I didn't ride it, but I could see it was much bigger (and more red!) than the previous one.
This is me with my best friend in the whole world, Violet! In this photo, taken in 2007, we are riding the old ferris wheel in Gorky Park. It went high above the city!
One of the cool features of the "new" park are all the statues all over the park! I liked the animal ones best. Here I am with a tortoise outside the zoo shop. The zoo shop has supplies for pets- but it also has a wide range of animals you can visit, such as hamsters, bunnies, parrots, tamarins, and a SKUNK!
A short walk from the zoo shop, there is a little lake! It has ducks and people sit around it, relaxing. Normally, I'd sit there for ages, but today I had somewhere special in mind to visit!
One of the other animal statues is this bear, who has caught a fish! That fish is almost as big as I am!
Here I am with a statue of some herons! I didn't see any wild herons in Ukraine, but I have seen them at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge back at home in NYC.
Right near the entrance to my favorite attraction is this fountain! Once again, it was a very hot day in Kharkov and being near fountains made it feel cooler.
Finally! It was time for my favorite thing in Kharkov- the cable cars! These go from Gorky Park out to the Botanical Gardens and back. These have been redone too- they're much more colorful than the old cable cars!
This is me in 2007 riding on the cable cars! Don't I look a lot younger?
I had gone to Gorky Park pretty late in the day, so it was really nice to ride the cable cars back to Gorky Park as the sun was sinking lower and lower. I love the way the light looks especially golden at this time of day! As we were riding over a little marsh, Mama told me how, when she was a kid, she used to look for turtles as the cable cars passed over.
Eventually, my cable car made it back to Gorky Park. I would be leaving Kharkov very soon, which made me feel really sad. Do you ever get homesick for a place while you're still there? That's how I was feeling. I'm glad that I got to visit Gorky Park on my trip. Looking at these photos, even only a few weeks later, makes me want to go back!
The mascot of Gorky Park is this friendly squirrel- see it behind me? I can't wait to visit the squirrel's friendly park once again!
This photo is of me on the balcony of my family's apartment, where I always stay. Do you see the blue and gold flag of Ukraine? It looks like the blue sky and golden fields. I had a wonderful time in Ukraine and can't wait to go back to explore more and spend time with my family.
Do you have anywhere you return to again and again, yet never get tired of visiting?
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.