(About the picture in my header...)
We have tons of doors and windows in our apartment here. When we walked in for the first time, the boys (after testing the bidets and water filter system) ran from room to room, window to window, door to door, seeing everything they could see. I was trying to arrive and gather my wits about me and was feeling frazzled and exhausted when Calvin yelled from down the hall, "Mom! You have GOT to come see this!" And this is what we saw out the hall door/window. I was immediately in love with the view and it made almost everything better for the few minutes that I stood with Calvin and admired it.
We have had conflicting answers as to which church it is. It is surprisingly unmentioned in both of the guidebooks of Ukraine that we have. I keep forgetting to ask someone on the street what it is called. I think it's Mikhailovsky Cathedral. But I also kinda like not knowing. Calvin calls it "the church by our house," and I like that familiarity mixed with the amazing structure and the wonderful way the light hits it at certain times of the day. You can see below that part of the crosses on the domes are made of glass. At sunset they sparkle so beautifully and sometimes glow with the sun behind them.
One day during the cold bleak spell earlier this month Henry and Charlie both fell asleep in the stroller while I was out "getting out." (I was feeling frazzled and exhausted and generally weary of the hassle and acclimation process and just had to "get out" for a little while. So we went wandering with the stroller.) I didn't want to rouse them to go into our house only to come down a little while later to meet Cal at the schoolbus. So I took a detour down the little back street that goes to the cathedral. The building is stunning from far, and it is also amazing up close. This wooden lace is so delicate and there is so much of it. The craftsmanship and care is something that is definitely not seen in general construction around Kyiv, especially these days.
From what I can decipher on a large sign posted near the grounds, the cathedral and its accompanying women's monastery (we'd call it a nunnery but they don't) are undergoing a huge restoration. Many such cathedrals and monasteries fell into complete disrepair during Soviet times, of course, but they are enjoying a revival and are more and more a symbol of national pride and patriotism. This reconstruction was supposed to be complete in 2007, but they are still working on it. You can see in the picture below the difference between what has been restored (the upper part) and what still needs work (the lower part).
There were artists painting with their easles propped up, capturing different angles of the domes and walls while I was wandering there and I felt a little artistic myself so I snapped a few shots of "our cathedral."
What I loved most on the grounds is the women's monastery. It is pink and white and dark green and so meticulously restored. There are pristine lace curtains in the windows and the whole building looks like a life-size dollhouse. I stood and watched several "sisters" come out and go in, crossing themselves at the icons, solemn but then smiling warmly at one another.
In the small space between the monastery and the cathedral, there is a rose garden. So many roses of so many varieties and colors. Quite a few were still blooming, even though it was quite a bitter and windy day, and late in the year. The walks around the buildings were so quiet and everything was so neat and clean.
It was like a small corner of beautiful on a day when I was feeling a little desolate and frazzled and lonely.
It's nice to find roses in October.
And it's nice to stand at my kitchen window and watch this at the end of the day:
(About the picture in my header...)