Tag Archives: Ukraine

Leaving Civilization

I recently left civilization. I was one of the last to board the plane, chasing after my rolling hand luggage as it sped towards the ticket desk, having been informed by the flight attendant that the gate was about to close. Just because it was in a rush didn’t mean I couldn’t be amiable. “How […]

Life in the Bubble

Ever since moving to Ukraine, I have lived in a bubble. My interactions with the people and culture of this country have been decidedly limited. This is likely why I haven’t become an alcoholic.* My job requires that I speak and write in English, which I thankfully can manage. My girlfriend speaks English and she […]

A Soviet Family Reunited on Thanksgiving

You know how this goes. Relatives you haven’t seen in years – some you can’t remember ever having seen – gathering around the table to eat and share what they’re thankful for … in this case, not having seen each other for the past year. Your cousins are all there, little Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. […]

Hold Your Applause

Part 1 in Weird Correlations With Democracy: Why Clapping on an Airplane Makes You More Susceptible to Authoritarianism.

How to say “I have a cavity” in Ukrainian*

Of all the chairs it’s possible to find one’s self in, the dentist’s is possibly the worst. Ok, on second thought the electric chair likely gets that title… but you get my drift. It’s not that I’m afraid of the dentist exactly, I go willingly enough, but I do so with the knowledge that this […]

Ukraine Runs to Europe, Europe Runs from Ukraine

I was one of the few walking down Lenina Avenue this past Saturday, the rest of the city was running. It was the day of the Kharkiv Marathon, and as I walked past on the sidewalk I couldn’t help but summon to mind the images that had flashed across our TV sets two years ago […]

The Joys of Ukrainian Train Travel

*I just want to preface this, and to ward off angry comments, by saying that I love Ukraine and I love trains. Just not those two things put together.* There is being uncomfortable, and then there is taking the night train to Kiev. Is it possible to get used to shuttling between the Ukrainian capital […]

Sour Cream and Pedicures (Fragmented Memories from Ukraine)

A couple of weeks ago I was sipping limoncello on a balcony overlooking the lower Amalfi Coast, but it feels more like an era has passed. Much has happened since then, and dreams and reality have intertwined a seemingly endless number of times. I might still be on that balcony sipping limoncello, or I might […]

How to get Back into a Country (an instruction manual)

It’s hard to remember the last time I approached the passport desk without an underlying sense of dread. Adding to my detriment, Ukrainian immigration officials are like rabid dogs, sensing my uneasiness and eager to draw blood (in the form of a back-room bribe). As a result the woman behind the desk spends an eternity […]

How to get Banned from a Country (an instruction manual)

The passport desk is an interesting place. All that separates you from entering, or in this case leaving, a country is a thin yellow line and some glum looking individual sitting in a little glassed-in cubical. Regardless of where you are, they all look the same. Immigration officials are almost like royalty in that they […]

Embarrassing English (Saved By the Grunt)

Whoever it was that conceived of the word “tedious” must have spent some portion of his or her life as a teacher. Not to say that teaching is boring, often the contrary, but when you’re spending seemingly the same rainy December day leading the same roundtable discussion on the same hour-long topic hour after hopeless […]

Important message from a WC (in Ukraine)

I’m on the new express train running from Kharkiv to Kiev in a record four and a half hours. These express trains are nice, which is to say, they’re almost akin to the second class compartments on Western European trains. Before leaving Kharkiv I committed the error of opening a liter and a half container […]