the title of this blog post might look like some sort of weird eye test, but i promise it’s not. it’s really russian and ukrainian, respectively, for the holiday known as the 8th of march or international women’s day — which, as you might guess, falls on the 8th of march. despite the holiday’s ‘international’ status, and for reasons i’m not sure, women’s day is not a holiday celebrated in the united states. a pity really. this year marked my second ever and in someways sort of my last women’s day celebration (though i’m going to bring it back to the states, along with a plethora of mayo salad recipes and possibly a mullet).
women’s day celebrates all women, which i much prefer than just celebrating mothers (not that mothers shouldn’t be celebrated, but to exclude those women that aren’t mothers really isn’t fair). but of course, i can’t just be normal and not make a social commentary about this holiday. you can read about my thoughts from last year’s celebration in a post here. i had actually been working on a more in-depth blog post since september about “fostering feminism in developing nations” but when i went to do a final edit the morning of women’s day, all my work had disappeared [insert hysterical cry].
i frantically searched through my harddrive, then my external hardrives, and found nothing…apparently my computer is a misogynistic prick and in disagrement with my views decided to vaporize my work. either that or i’m an idiot and did something to it myself (but really, we all know it’s the first one). so, at 7am on women’s day, i was already in need of a stiff drink and considered devouring my chocolate supply i got from school the day before. it wasn’t the best start, but i consoled myself that re-writes are better than the originals. though i don’t feel like re-writing it all just yet, the wounds are still too fresh, not to mention you probably don’t want to read another one of my feminist ramblings.
similar to last year, this year at school included so much chocolate, cake, and of course lengthy concerts. women’s day isn’t just about eating so much sugar you think you might actually vomit, getting flowers, or the songs about how much we do as women (and our gender roles) — it’s really a day to celebrate women and the struggle for gender equality. but of course drinking, eating, and having the day off is way more fun.
much of my ‘women’s day eve’ was funnily enough spent addressing baking questions from fellow volunteers. my help seekers were (mostly) men baking something to share for women’s day. everyone was baking for the holiday except for me. i was just talking about baking. i answered questions from how many cups are in a bag of flour, to how much butter to use, and even to persuading someone that baking soda and salt aren’t just optional ingredients. it was quite amusing and fun to feel like an ‘expert’. it seemed like overnight i became the baking version of butterball’s thanksgiving turkey hotline.
come the 8th, my morning started off terribly, but the day (my day as some men say) improved quite steadily. i went for a run through my village inhaling smells of holiday shashlik (bbq) rather than typical manure, a pleasant change! i ran past mobs of men in the streets and some waiting for the little shops to open. no women were to be found. well maybe because it was rainy and maybe because they had to prepare the feast to celebrate their day. but for a while it seemed like i was in some sort of weird twilight zone, one where my misogynistic prick of a computer also wiped out every lady (but me) on the earth as well. towards the end of my run a student of mine actually chased me town, wished me a happy women’s day and handed me a chocolate bar. if only every run ended like that!
i took my time getting ready for the celebration at my landlord’s because they don’t usually start partying till late. but as luck would have it, when i finally decided to get on the baking bandwagon and was mid-brownie making, i got a knock on my door and was told to come over. thankfully, i don’t live far at all (just 10 steps away), so leaving the oven on wasn’t too frightening. my landlords, neighbors, and site mate sarah all gathered at the table over crowded with food, vodka and whine flowed, toasts were made, the inappropriate jokes and laughter began followed with a brownie-fed (not that kind though) karaoke night cap.
while i have my gripes against the way this holiday is typically celebrated, with much of the origin lost in implementation, i was more okay with it this year. maybe i’m just becoming a softie, or maybe i just had too much wine and chocolate, or maybe it’s because this is my last ukrainian women’s day and because a night of food and laughter with my favorite ukrainian hosts, the ones that feel like family, is the perfect way to celebrate.