Early this morning, Danelle and Cava left the boarding school legally as mother and son. They were headed first to the village where Cava was born to get his birth certificate changed to his new name (Alexander Cava Blackwell). From there they had to go to Odessa to apply for his passport (since he's from the Odessa region). Knowing Danelle, she made our translator and driver take them to a place to get Cava's haircut first. Since it is seven hours, depending on weather and road conditions, from Odessa back to Kiev, so it's my guess that they'll spend the night in this city.
Since I haven't heard from Danelle since her e-mail letting me know she'd arrived in Munich safely, I hope to hear from her either tonight or tomorrow when she gets back to Kiev.
Not having gone to Odessa myself and, not having any information from Danelle yet, I decided to research this sea port.
Odessa is the fifth largest city in Ukraine and it's a major sea port situated on the Black Sea.
The city of Odessa was founded by a decree by the Empress Catherine the Great in 1794. For anyone interested in reading about this amazing woman, I highly recommend Henri Troyat's biography, which reads more like a novel than a dry history book.
During the Soviet era, this was the most important port of trade for the Soviet Union and they also housed their naval base there.
In 1905, Odessa was the site of a worker's uprising that was supported by the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin and Lenin's Iskra. This incident was made famous by director Sergei Eisenstein's silent film The Battleship Potemkin in 1925. This film is considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, as well as one of the greatest propaganda films ever made. One of the most famous scenes from the movie is the massacre on what is now known as the Potemkin Steps.
Being the literary nerd that I am, I always want to know how an area fits into literature. The great Russian poet Alexand Pushkin wrote, "And so, I lived in Odessa . . ." One of my favorite poets, Anna Akhmatova, was born in Bolshoy Fontan near Odessa. Isaac Babel was born in the Moldavanka section of Odessa. He used this setting in many of his stories, especially those from The Odessa Tales, as well as his play Sunset. Numerous authors such as Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol, Maxim Gorky, Ivan Bunin, and (my favorite) Anton Chekov have visited Odessa. While they have the Odessa State Literary Museum celebrating these great authors, I daresay that Danelle and Cava will be visiting it.
While the temperature is described as humid subtropical near the borderline of the continental climate and the semi-arid climate, the temperature while Danelle and Cava are there is 28 degrees fahrenheit. Still, that's warmer than it is in Kiev, where the high is 12 degrees fahrenheit.
Hopefully I will be hearing from Danelle tomorrow so that I can pass on the latest news and photos. I know I'm waiting anxiously to hear from her. As soon as I do, I will post it on the blog.