The Family

The Family

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Random Observations About Life in Ukraine

Having been experiencing the culture here for the past few weeks, I have definitely picked up on some differences between the people and surroundings here and back home.  It is so amazing to be able to immerse yourself in a society like this and live the day to day life like the rest of the folks-- riding the bus, walking the streets, shopping at the local market, renting a local apartment.  You truly get a feel for what life is like here, much more so than if you were just staying a week or so in a hotel and eating out all the time.  Tim, Schuyler and I have truly enjoyed our experience here so far.  The people have been kind, the food has been delish, and everything has thankfully gone as well as can be expected as far as the adoption is concerned.  This has enabled us to relax, take our daily trips to the orphanage, and just experience the life here.

So below are some of my random observations about this Ukrainian life around us........

~ One of the first things you will notice upon arriving, especially in Kiev, is that EVERYONE dresses up here.  Well, the ladies anyway.  Heels, furs, rhinestones worn in the middle of the week are perfectly acceptable attire on a day-to-day basis.  Makes me feel like a schlump and that I should start dressing infinitely better once home :)  As our facilitator told us, girls and women are afraid to go out without wearing heels around here because  "What if that is the day my prince charming sees me?!"  What?.... in flats?

~Wearing short shorts, black pantyhose and stilettos is a very popular fashion statement.

~Ukrainians love to celebrate, therefore there are many holidays. And the workdays are short.  They know how to live life over here!!  More playtime!

~People here seem to be very honest.  On the bus, you can get right on and take your time (after finding a seat) to pass your money up to the driver.  He doesn't wait for you to pay when you get on, it's just whenever you get it out of your purse.  And you can send your money up front with someone else and they will bring you back the change!

~On the bus as well there are certain rules of etiquette-- primarily, men give up their seat to women.  Try that in NYC!

~There are almost no squirrels here, we have only seen two this whole time--  and they are weird looking with pointy fuzzy ears!  Not like our squirrels at home.

~And on the animal note, you might not see squirrels but you see plenty of cats and dogs roaming about.  No ASPCA or Humane Society here.  Animals are everywhere, asleep on the sidewalks, going thru the trash.  It is very sad.

~Everyone in Ukraine should have lung cancer by now.. I am surprised if they don't.  Almost everyone smokes and if you don't smoke you certainly inhale it enough anyway from passers-by.

~Our "balmy" weather is still their "freezing".  People are still bundled in winter coats and scarves in April and babies are still tucked securely in snowsuits, hats and boots.  It is quite amusing.  But I guess they feel cold!

~ If you are going shopping, for whatever, bring your own bag. You can get one at the store but you have to buy it.  Everywhere is like Aldi around here!

~ Having a drink mid-day is no big deal.  And drinking as you walk in public is no biggie either.  It is just commonplace.

~Every bus or taxi driver here could come to the US tomorrow and be given a job with NASCAR.  Seriously.  They are fast, but they are good!  Taking hairpin curves with ease, accelerating at just the right moment to pass a car before the oncoming traffic squashes you like a bug..... it takes skill and they do it everyday!

~The worst road in the US is like the best road here.  There are no DOT crews, potholes are everywhere and some of them are deep enough to make your car bottom out.  The shocks on the bus we ride get a constant workout!!

~If you live here, you better like sausage!  There is chicken too, but haven't seen any turkey or ground beef yet.  But lots and lots of sausage!

~Coffee lovers unite!  There may not be a Starbucks, but there are coffee houses everywhere which serve amazing cappuccinos and lattes, and even McDonalds does an awesome job with their coffee.  I am in love!

That is about it for now.  We are just so grateful to be here in this country, the country of our newest babies' birth, experiencing life and getting to know our new little ones!  We are grateful for every moment, though of course we miss our other not-so-littles back home, and some of the comforts we have grown to enjoy like English TV, hopping in your own car when you want to go somewhere, and TARGET!  Oh Target, how I miss thee!  ;)

Please keep praying that our court will be fast and that soon this exciting journey will come to an end and we can get back home with our babies in tow!!!  Much love from Ukraine!!

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