Of Note

Cyberian Dispatch 3: A Sacred Island Reveals Itself

Posted on 10.06.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 3: A Sacred Island Reveals Itself

  by Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac Olkhon Island, situated about midway in Lake Baikal’s long crescent, is more than 70 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide. It has about 1500 permanent residents, most of them indigenous Buryat people, and the bulk of these live in the one small town, Khuzir. During the warmer months,…

Cyberian Dispatch 2: Russia’s Vast Galapagos

Posted on 09.28.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 2: Russia's Vast Galapagos

  by Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac How to comprehend — and then convey — the enormity of Siberia and the incalculable volume of the world’s deepest and oldest lake? These are early problems for our project on Lake Baikal. Russia is the world’s largest nation in terms of area, with more than 17 million…

Cyberian Dispatch 1: Exile Begins

Posted on 09.20.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 1: Exile Begins

  by Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac “You’re going there willingly?” That’s been one of the most common responses when we tell people we’re headed to Siberia. Yes, we chose to spend the next nine months in this place that is known primarily as a punishment and a place of exile. The practice of sending…

A River in Retreat

Posted on 09.02.2018 in Of Note
A River in Retreat

  Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac It was not only the grape harvest in Chl’aba, Slovakia that was compromised by a scorching hot summer without rain (see our last post), but the nearby Danube River has dropped to its lowest levels since the early 1960s, according to local residents. The most obvious result is that…

A Change of Climate

Posted on 08.30.2018 in Of Note
A Change of Climate

Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac Our back to back Fulbright grants took us in 2017-18 to Ukraine and will take us in 2018-19 to Eastern Siberia. While the projects are 5 time zones away from each other, they have much in common. Both are focused on water that has been dramatically affected by climate change….

Mykolaiv Sketchbook: Georgians Preserving Language and Culture

Posted on 12.15.2017 in Of Note
Mykolaiv Sketchbook: Georgians Preserving Language and Culture

  by Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac During the Soviet era, the expression of ethnic identity was discouraged or even punished, so people of many backgrounds were forced to suppress any public celebration of their roots. But after Soviet rule collapsed, the public embrace of one’s origins once again became possible. That is the case…

Mykolaiv Sketchbook: A Taste of Bulgaria in Ukraine

Posted on 11.07.2017 in Of Note
Mykolaiv Sketchbook: A Taste of Bulgaria in Ukraine

by Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac At 4:00 am on October 24, a woman awoke in Ternovka to bake a traditional Bulgarian cake called a banitsa. The cake was baked to help welcome us to a community in Mykolaiv where many people of Bulgarian descent live. And it is a symbol of how warm and…

Mykolaiv Sketchbook: Roma Remembrance

Posted on 10.08.2017 in Of Note
Mykolaiv Sketchbook: Roma Remembrance

By Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac We were exceptionally honored and pleased to be welcomed yesterday on a bus by members of the Romani Bacht ensemble to travel more than 200 kilometers northwest of Mykolaiv to a site that is very important to Roma history and remembrance. We joined local Romas and their friends in…

Mykolaiv Sketchbook: Druzhba Festival

Posted on 10.02.2017 in Of Note
Mykolaiv Sketchbook: Druzhba Festival

by Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac Following a whirlwind of activity in Kyiv, we took the night train to our new home in Southern Ukraine: Mykolaiv. Mykolaiv was named by its founder, Prince Grigory Potemkin, in honor of St. Nicholas, on whose day he won a significant military victory. The city is at the confluence…

The Crush

Posted on 09.07.2017 in Of Note
The Crush

By Mark Isaac and Gabriela Bulisova Our time in Slovakia is evaporating quickly, just as the weather changes and hints of Fall appear. One unmistakable symbol of the season is the wine harvest. In Chl’aba, there are two “museums” — one for the history of the village, and one for winemaking, one of the most…