Saturday, May 23, 2009

Top 20 Things that are Different in Ukraine!!!

There are so many things that are different here than in the US that we thought we would put some of them down here for you to see.

1. You can purchase scented Toilet Paper here when you can find toilet paper. Currently we are smelling quite Peachy!!!

2. Women here wear high heels all the time! Which we really don’t understand because there isn’t one single place where the sidewalks/streets are even. Very full of pot holes and cobblestone or just plain broken concrete everywhere. We are quite shocked that there aren’t more broken ankles.

3. At the grocery stores you pay for bags. Novel idea and it really gets you to bring your bags and reuse them. Unless you are American’s then you just pay for them and have about 50 in your flat at any one given time!

4. There are little lockers in the front of each grocery store here where you can lock your bags up from other stores. You can’t take them in for fear of shoplifting. These don’t cost anything. Hmmm wonder if that would catch on in the states??

5. People here drive like a bat out of hell! OMGoodness! No tolerance for slow or poor drivers here! Keep up with the Big Dogs or get on the porch should be the motto! There is no rhyme or reason to where people park or drive. I am sure they understand it, but we sure don’t!!

6. If you don’t like the traffic, just pull on to the sidewalk and drive there. Pedestrians, watch out!!!

7. The “point and dah” method of shopping works for the most part here, depending on where you are. Although when you go to the grocery store, it would be good to have a little bit of Russian under your belt or you might think you are buying 3 things of spaghetti sauce and actually get three containers of Ketchup!! Yep… learned from experience on that one!!

8. Don’t get your conversions messed up at the meat counter. Asking for 2 Kilo’s of ground meat will actually get you almost 4 lbs. We are still eating that! Not sure what it is, but we think a mixture of pork and beef. Luckily it is good!

9. If your facilitator writes down pizza toppings on a list for you, make sure you get separate lists with each pizza on it or you will get a pizza with every single topping on the list! It was hilarious actually AND it is a good thing we all liked all the ingredients that were written down. Chicken, Ham, Salami, Fried Mushrooms and Cheese.. interesting combo, but good.

10. Ordering at McDonalds should have been easy right?? Well since everything has the same names, however there are other things that you have to order as well and to be sure you have the sizes correct, so it’s not as easy as it may sound. Oh and you have to pay for ketchup at McDonalds here. Just an FYI also, if you are wanting a Coca Cola Light, it does not come in fountain pop here so it doesn’t come with a value meal. They have it, you just have to purchase it separately if you want Light. Regular Coca Cola or Fanta or Sprite comes with the meal!

11. The tighter the clothes and the shorter the skirts here the better for women. Most women here look like they are going out on the town during the day! Spiked heels with tight white pants and a tight shirt…pushing a stroller and carrying groceries!

12. Don’t go to the Ukrainian restaurant in downtown Kiev at 1 pm for lunch. That is when stores are closed for lunch and EVERYONE from all of Kiev will be there and they know how to maneuver in there! It is like a deli type where you take your tray and get what you want then pay. There is not a lot of tolerance for slow undecided American’s! LOL

13. Keep in mind that you purchase most of your water here. They come in huge I think like 2 gallon jugs. If you have a long walk to the grocery, it might be a good idea to wait until you have a driver one day and make the water run. That can get pretty heavy carrying it back on the 20 minute walk to your apartment.

14. If you can at all avoid using the bathroom on the train, I would recommend it. Don’t drink a lot before you get on and go potty as close to your departure time as you are able! I didn’t go in, but gauging from the motion of the train, and hardly being able to stand in our sleeper compartment without stumbling around, I can only imagine what the bathrooms look like! YUCKY!!!

15. When you are visiting the orphanage, remember that your kids live on a strict schedule. DO NOT LET THEM FALL ASLEEP during your visits! OR if you do, make sure that they are awake by the time the visit is over, or you will catch it from the caregivers. Because if they sleep for you, there is a good chance they won’t sleep in the afternoon for the caregivers. Jacob is famous for falling asleep at our morning visit. We push him in his stroller during this time so no one sees him and then wake him up at least 15 minutes before we have to take him back. That boy is already getting us in trouble! hehe

16. There is a misconception of Ukrainian people. They are not mean or unfriendly, they just don’t smile when walking down the street. They are busy, they have somewhere to be. Remember that it used to be a communist country where they couldn’t say anything or hardly think anything bad or they might be arrested for it. They are generally helpful and some will even go out of their way to be nice, but it is definitely not small town Iowa. Give them a break.. we are the ones that can’t speak the language! On the average, they are really nice people. The first day we were here, I made the mistake of smiling at a guy on the street and he turned and looked at me all the way down the street like I was going to rob him. Just not what they are used to!

17. Don’t let the outside appearance of an apartment building be any indication of the cleanness or niceness of the interior. The hall ways leave A LOT to be desired, however when you walk into a flat, at least the ones we have been in, it is like walking into another world. The apartments that we are staying in here, from the outside look like the projects, but inside, they are beautiful and brand new. Wouldn’t know it by looking at the outside or even the inside up until the apartment door!

18. Not too many men wear shorts here if they do they are the short shorts from high school gym class or Speedo's. They do however wear Capri jeans something I don’t see carrying over as a fashion statement in the USA.

19. Before you come to the Ukraine try to learn to at least count to 10 in Russian. This will save you many uncomfortable experience's while shopping. Also it may save you from being beat down by angry soccer hooligans that think you are some asshole German that would not push the elevator button for their floor because you thought they where asking what floor do you want so when you answered “Nine” they thought you where telling them no push your own buttons. Luckily Ukraine beat Germany for some FELA Cup later that day 2-1 or I’m sure they would have been waiting for the German couple to come out of the building.

20. If you are woken up at midnight with what sounds like 100’s of people chanting followed by what appears to be gunfire, don’t be alarmed, it is not the revolution. It is just some avid soccer fans listening to or watching the FELA Cup Final and are cheering the Ukraine Team on to Victory!! Then they lit off fireworks after the game was over. No worries, unless of course Ukraine were to have lost!!

I am sure we could come up with another 20, but we will save those for another day!! Enjoy!!!


Lyndi said...

I just LOVE this post, absolutely hilarious. You have painted an interesting picture of things over there, can't wait to see it all first hand!!

schoolmother said...

I am nodding and smiling, especially the 'point and dah' method of shopping, the high heel shoes (we were there in winter and I could hardly stand up in my boots), the difference between outside of building and inside of apartment. The jean capris sound bad. :)

amy flege said...

those are great brigitte!!! I will say i am very happy i DONT live there!

marlene said...

VERY interesting!!!! That was fun to read! :) Thanks for giving us a "peak" into Ukraine!!

Alicia said...

oh I love reading about Ukraine.

we have lockers at some stores too, but you have to put a 5 pesos coin that will be returned when you pick up your stuff (5 pesos is less than 50 cnts)

2 kilos of ground meat, is too much LOL! maybe could be grease ? couse here the low quality is a mix of beef and grease

hugs, looks like you are having a good time learning ;)

gillian said...

Awesome list friend!

You didn't tell everyone about the bread, tho.

Shelley said...

This post had me laughing out loud! You are SO right!

Amy said...

GREAT post!!! I might have to steal it for my blog if its okay! You said everything Jake and I have been talking about since we got here! Too funny!!