I go to the stadium in town — “stadium” refers to a soccer field with a 350m pavement track around it — about three times a week: twice for my running/Frisbee club and once for speed workouts. Going on the same days at the same times means meeting the same people. Here’s the crowd I get to see three times a week:
- The man who jogs and does exercises with his big German Shepherd that wears a muzzle and pulls toward you and sometimes barks when you pass. It’s a beautiful dog, but I’m always a little afraid its owner won’t hold it back strongly enough…
- The old man and not-as-old woman who walk together. This man impresses me, as he, like me, is out in almost all weathers. He walks with a cane and isn’t the friendliest, but he chugs right along — I hope I’m as active at that age.
- The round-hipped woman who walks alone. She wears running tights and a red shirt and we always say “good morning” to each other. She keeps up a decent pace. I just learned from Iryna that her name is Olha Vasylivna and she was also a piano teacher at the music school (but is now on pension).
- The two sisters (and sometimes their old, plump little dog). These women are probably in their mid-late 60s or early 70s (though it’s hard to tell; people age faster here). One has lived in Sniatyn for a long time and one moved back from Kyiv not too long ago. They walk twice a day, and we often pause to chat with each other. I see them in town, too, if I shop in the afternoons. Very sweet women.
We morning exercisers are used to each other so we don’t usually chat; we are just people quietly sharing the morning and the joys of physical activity.
Sometimes “new” people show up at the stadium:
- Halya’s mom’s friend, Lesya, walks there earlier than I do, so I sometimes catch her as she’s leaving.
- Recently, the reporter who interviewed me for the town newspaper has been running — running! I think the first other woman outside my running club who I’ve seen willingly running! — and we’ve exchanged pleasantries.
- A few other guys/men sometimes run, too. They usually don’t greet me until it’s been a few times and they’re used to my presence.