Ірина (Iryna) has been coming to my adult English club since almost the first week I started it. She’s 55, my mom’s age. She teaches piano at the music school in town. She practices Iyengar yoga. She is so kind and generous. Iryna’s daughter lives in Germany and she’s pretty well-traveled. We both love maps. I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit.
The one time I went to the Orthodox church in town, she brought me up to the choir loft — where she sings in the choir — to better see the mass. She took me to Chernivtsi with her for her Iyengar yoga class on a Saturday. We ended up spending the afternoon having salads/coffees/desserts in a cafe and spending over an hour in a Chernivtsi region historical museum. She kept insisting on paying. We have great conversation, sometimes in English, sometimes in Ukrainian. She invited me to play the clarinet at the music school’s concert at the end of May; she introduced me to the clarinet teacher and helped me procure an instrument from him, and now we are practicing a couple of short, easy pieces to play at the concert (she on piano, I on clarinet). She comes to my recently-started Running/Sport Club and, though she doesn’t run fast, she shows up and is enthusiastic. We’ve also begun a sort of culinary exchange; she often brings me homemade yogurt and fresh-picked greens or radishes, and I’ve begun returning her tupperwear containers with little things in them like dried cranberries or stove-top cornbread.