It's hard to believe it's been four years since Karin Calloway and I last worked together on a food shoot. What's worse? I've been back in Augusta since January and haven't scheduled myself for a food shoot until this past week.
But I have to admit, we didn't miss a beat getting back to shooting food for her weekly column in the Augusta Chronicle. What four years?
Ukrainians should never talk to strangers on a plane. They'll get crazy ideas that you can never get out of their heads.
On the flight from Atlanta to Augusta, they chatted with a few of their seatmates. Georgia locals. When everyone learned they were visiting from Ukraine, all they could say is "You have to go to Savannah!"
Well, once you get something stuck in your head, it's hard to get it out.
During the Ukrainian visit to Augusta, Dana Atkins, president of The Augusta Chronicle, was gracious enough to invite everyone to his house for a barbecue, where we all gathered on his back deck for some awesome food and a little socializing.
After dinner, he quietly stole Anatoliy away and the two headed out to the garage.
To say Dana is a golf enthusiast is an understatement.
We knew it had to come to an end. All good things do. Right? We just wished it wouldn’t.
Friday came and it was time for Kim and I to get on that big ole jet airliner and start heading back to Augusta.
It was a sad goodbye. Tears were suppressed. Hugs were exchanged. But they say, “What goes around comes around.”
After all, in two weeks, the Ukrainians were coming!
Ok, so we didn’t quite walk away as “the champions.” But, we did take third place. And that still comes with bragging rights.
Our trip to work with the staff at Nikolaevskie Novosti happened to coincide with a bowling tournament between local media outlets. Anatoliy, the chief editor, invited me to participate. Having a slight competitive streak, I gladly accepting.
I was assigned a lane with the team from a competing newspaper. We were given a warm-up period of a few minutes before the start of the tournament.
One of the most exciting parts of traveling is experiencing the different cultures in these unique places.
Our trip to Ukraine was no different. We were immersed in a new culture the moment we got off the plane.
For me, culture contains a lot of different elements. It can be the people, the food, their customs, their religions or even the architecture. It becomes the sense of place. Take those away and you have a very generic locale that has been whitewashed of everything that makes it interesting.
It was 5:30 a.m. and I’m usually halfway through a good night’s sleep. But now my alarm was going off. I had an hour to shower, get dressed and finish my packing. My boss Kim and I were beginning our marathon day that would take us from Augusta to Atlanta to New York to Paris to Kiev to Odessa.
The two of us were asked to take part in the Ukraine Media Partnership Program this year, promoted by the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.