So I didn't really surprise her, but surprise is the same word in Ukrainian as it is in English. What I'm trying to say is that surprises are kinda common. So I went with what works: I walked her around the Andrivska street market and watched her eyes. She's hard to shop for not because she's got expensive taste and not because she wants a hundred things. якраз навпаки, вона часто не хоче нічого. (Exactly the opposite, she usually doesn't want anything. I'm the consumer of the relationship; she can talk herself out of buying anything.
So today, I talked her out of talking her self out of buying anything. Except I bought it, of course.
We picked up a piece of art from a local guy. At first, I had to track him down through the other street vendors whop had set up shop near him. He was engaged in a chess game near the middle of the cobblestone street which dipped--suspiciously like a hill in this flat, flat land--down past a 18th century church which gorgeous matte teal onion-domes. He started in on us in Russian, as they all do. Then he asked if e understood. We said we understood Ukrainian better. He said he saw we were foreign and thought we'd understand Russian; I think he was surprised that tourists could understand/speak Ukrainian. We told him we lived here, which explained our ability. [Once the switch went over and we were getting all Ukrainian, we understood nearly everything].
He quoted us some prices on his really good, part-abstract work. Some really reasonable prices. As we'd already passed buy his place on the street, his work hanging from a black, cast-iron gate, I knew which pieces Karen was interested in. Once Karen knew I was indeed going to buy one of his pieces, and that it was better if she choose it rather than me doing an eenie-meenie-moe number of the ones hers eyes lingered on, she chose one titled, "View from the other side of the moon." It shows the earth in the distance. In the foreground is the side of the moon that we never see. The artist rendered his thoughts of what exists on that side of the moon in his print.
So, happy birthday Karen (a few days early). Now we just gotta find a way to get it to L-town safely.
And find a wall we can truly call ours for longer than two or three months to tack it to.