Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Snapshots of Ukrainian life

At any given moment on any given street:
  • 75% of people are carrying a bag (a lady purse, a man purse, or the ubiquitous large plaid zippered plastic bag of Ukrainian shoppers, merchants, & travelers)
  • 20% are pushing a baby stroller or holding the hand of a child
  • only 5% are free to swing their arms
You can buy a roll of rough, stretchy, brown toilet paper for 20 cents, or you can buy brightly-colored and scented toilet paper for a couple of dollars (for example, flower scented toilet paper in pastel orange). The cheap stuff is just wound upon itself, the more expensive rolls have an actual cardboard tube in the center.
Lemon-scented toilet paper vs. the regular 20 cent kind
If you like to smoke (cigarettes are cheap and sold every 5 feet in every direction) and eat fancy chocolate (astonishingly HUGE variety and relatively inexpensive), then Ukraine is your dream destination. Move here now.

Little Kleenex packs, sold everywhere here (remember, most bathrooms don't have toilet paper) come not only in unscented, but also in the following scents: nectarine, menthol, chamomile

Traffic lights have 4 stages here: solid green, flashing green, yellow, and red.

Many, many essential items here are sold in kiosks. I hope you're either really good at charades or you learn some Russian/Ukrainian before coming here!

Since I've been teaching in a lot of public schools for children, I've noticed the majority of the bathrooms- even the girls- don't have doors. They are simply a row of holes in the ground with partitions in between. If there are doors, there are about 3 feet in length, so your head and your feet are still visible to the general public. Also, like I mentioned before, there tend to be a lot of large windows in these bathrooms, so you can watch what's going on in the outside world... it's like free tv, haha!


  1. Don't let those 20%+5% fool you - most of them hide a small plastic bag in pocket or clutch :o)