It has been a difficult few weeks for me – one of those times where I wish I could just skip ahead to the next chapter. But life doesn’t work that way. No skipping allowed. So while I’d like to be exploring the streets of Kyiv, taking photographs, reading books in its many fine cafes, and writing down my reflections, instead I toil away at all the reports, proposals, accounting, and conference calls that never seem to do anything and yet drag our spirits mercilessly through the minutes and hours of time, from the first cup of coffee to late nights with lonely laptops.

One very bright light throughout all this Sisyphean disgruntlement has been getting to know Veronica Khokhlova, the once mysterious Central and Eastern European Editor for Global Voices. (No one had met Veronica and there were vicious rumors that she was in fact a cyborg replicant planted by Google to demonstrate that a few good scripts could curate the world’s online conversations even better than humble human beings.)

Veronica has always been one of my favorite bloggers. It has to do with authenticity. You could call hers a “bridge blog” or a “window into Ukraine”, but really what makes it so appealing is that it is a portrait of her life. Of life – in a particular region, at a particular time – through her eyes. I love her photo walks through Kyiv, Moscow, and Istanbul. Like this one of satellite dishes. Often what seems to be a very simple photograph:


… actually has a much larger backstory. (I think it would be fascinating to compare the controversy over changing street names in Russia today to the 2007 controversy in Durban, South Africa.)

I have yet to meet her daughter, Marta, but hopefully I’ll get a chance to this weekend before they take off for Moscow. It’s a shame I won’t be able to understand any of her improvised poems and fairy tales, which apparently involve “fallen trees, bespectacled people and napkins.”