Sunday, March 23, 2014

Early spring

It was an unbelievable 64F in Kharkiv this afternoon! I'd forgotten how good it feels to be surrounded by sunshine and look up to a clear blue sky.

Lots of people are taking advantage of the weather for those ubiquitous impromptu photo shoots that are so popular here. What surprised me most is that it wasn't only girls posing... the girl in the photo shoot below had only about 10 minutes before two guys showed up to take photos in the same spot. By the time they were wrapping things up, another group of guys had come along and were striking different poses near the graffiti.

It was a huge pleasure to get out and walk around some today. After a movie, a quick trip to Central Market, and pizza along the river, we spent twenty glorious minutes just standing in the warm air while waiting for the tram, wanting to soak up massive amounts of Vitamin D. The land of springtime truly feels like a foreign country after winter's long reign.

I could have sat on that tram forever, warmed by the sun's rays, watching the streets go by. It's a great time of year for peoplewatching as the population begins to wake up and shed their outer layers. The trendsetters are already attired for spring- bright colors, shorts and skirts, light jackets- while the older generation has yet to abandon their warm hats and furs. This part of the season always equals wardrobe confusion and chaos!

Here's one guy that will undoubtedly wear his fur coat all year long :p

In terms of other things, it's just more of the same. I've become less interested in following the news, as it's always Worst Case Scenario This or Drama Drama That... but at the same time I'm realizing it doesn't matter what it's actually like on the streets here; all this talk from "experts" and mass media can in itself make things happen. Call me jaded, but I find it harder and harder to believe that change propagates from the people instead of solely from behind closed doors.

That same radio station, this time asking "Where's all the money that was here?"

I'm still using my own ears and eyes to collect info, though.

In the movie theater this morning, from the three teens seated in the row in front of us: "Man, I hope this movie's not going to be in Ukrainian." (It was a Japanese film.) When it became clear that the dubbing was in Ukrainian, not Russian, they sighed loudly.

Passing Constitution Plaza afterwards, saw a small crowd there with several Ukrainian flags raised. Two men crossed the street and began walking away, shouting "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to her heroes!"

The vegetable seller at the market: "I don't even watch the TV news anymore. What's the point?"

A conversation overheard on the tram this afternoon-
Man 1: "I'm from Crimea."
Man 2: "Are you a refugee or something?"
Man 1: "No, quite the opposite. I came to Kharkov 10 years ago. I love Ukraine but I don't want this new government. It's better to go get a Russian passport."
Man 2: "As long as there's no war... they'll figure it out."

Saw this on Monday near the Oleksiivska metro: "Anti-Maidan, find out the whole truth." Nearby someone had scrawled UA@EU on a wall.
Billboard in the same area. Нет войне! = No war!

But hey, at least the weather's in our favor now...
Goodbye, winter tram rides! (Thanks to Maxine for the photo :) )
Hello, warm spring!


  1. Is Kharkiv like Ivano-Frankivsk where even it's 20+ degrees celcius outside parents make their kids wear bobble and beanie hats then wonder why their kids get sick? It seems that the decision to decide whether kids should wear hats or not is not driven by factors like temperature but by time. I think there are ten weeks of the year between late June and early September where 90% of Ukrainian aren't wearing a winter hat.

    1. Haha, yes :p And that winter snowsuit that kids live in for most of the year!

    2. So it wasn't just me that noticed the hat aspect of the seasons in Ukraine?! ;-)