Despite our late arrival to my family village of Sambir, we still ate and drank for several hours before going to bed. Needless to say I went down like a stone in a river and slept like the dead. Although I could have slept straight till tomorrow, I forced myself to get out of bed and begin visiting the rest of the family.
Each household greeted me like I was the Queen of England. They were so appreciative that family in the US thinks about them and is concerned about their well-being. Although my family is poor, they host you with enough food to collapse a table. And of course no Ukrainian welcome is complete without shots of some type of booze – in this case it was samohonka – homemade hooch.
Although at home, I rarely drink anymore, the Ukrainian kicks in when it needs to. Multiple shots lubricate the conversation and political passion ignites. We had long discussions about the political state and the future of Ukraine. For once all Ukrainians are in agreement that the the situation is dire as Putin continues to try and bully the country into submission.
I continued to visit family and which each visit repeated the same eating and drinking ritual. By time I had finished, I had eaten three lunches and was two sheets to the wind. My visit with family was brief, but I accomplished what was needed – to bring them both moral and financial support in case there war.