Monday, December 2, 2013
A Short Conversation in the Car About Ukraine
As I've written before, some of my best conversations with either of my two boys has been in the car going to or from school, or between their two schools. Today was no different. It started out with Cava telling me about his day, especially about his friends. "Did you get to play outside on the playground today?" I asked him.
"What did you play?"
"Tag," he replied, as he most often does. I asked him what games he played with his friends back in Ukraine.
"We played outside. I played tag."
"Who did you play with?"
"Sergei and Zhana."
I began to ask him more about his two friends and found out that he only knew them from the boarding school. Each of them came from different orphanages. Cava told me that he came to the boarding school from his orphanage by train. "I'd never ridden on a train before. It was really cool," he told me.
"Did you get to sleep on the train?"
"No. No beds. Had to sit up."
He told me how he was excited about getting to ride on the train, but scared about going to the boarding school where he wouldn't know anybody. A woman from the orphanage rode with him on the train to the boarding school. Cava couldn't remember her name but he said she was nice. No other children from his orphanage went with them. He sat by the window so he could see everything pass by really quickly.
When he first got to the boarding school, it was Zhana who came up to him and she said, "Hey." Cava said she was very nice but she liked girl toys, not Spider-man.
Cava met Sergei later. They shared a room with four other boys. The two of them bonded because both boys loved superheroes, especially Spider-man. Cava said he loved Spider-man ever since he saw some cartoons on TV at the orphanage. "Did you play superheroes?"
"Yes. I was Spider-man," Cava said.
"And who was Sergei?"
"Not Spider-man," he said emphatically. "He was Superman. I don't like Superman, I like Spider-man - and Sergei."
I loved getting these tiny glimpses of his life back in Ukraine. Knowing a little bit more about his friendships and his time in the orphanages and boarding school help to give me a better sense of who he is and of what shaped him. I'm glad he feels like he can open up a bit more with me and entrust me with small stories of his life before us.