Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Snapshots of Ukrainian Life in a Chaotic April

Near the train station, April 25th

It's been two months and four days since the previous Snapshots post, and the state of things remains pretty much the same.

Often I look around and see nothing more than a beautiful and calm spring, just like last year. All the photos below are from the past 2 weeks-

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ukrainian Spring

Spring is nature's prescription for depression and right now Ukraine is the ideal patient. Neon-green leaves and long sunny days are coaxing people outside and bringing smiles to their faces. Winter remains only for all those poor babies; it's 70F outside and they're still toddling around in snowsuits and warm winter hats... they're got to wait for summer, I guess, but the rest of us can shed our hats and jackets and enjoy the spring!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

It's 70°F outside right now and the neighborhood's common areas are filled with picnicking families. Raw eggs dot the sidewalks, losers in the traditional holiday egg battle. Meanwhile, we've been nibbling on these tasty Easter cakes all day long, yum!

Many thanks to Karina and Lera for our Easter treats : )

Enjoy the day!

Past goodies:
Easter sweets in 2013
Easter shopping in 2012

Saturday, April 19, 2014

On the streets of Ukraine

Bruce Willis selling loans?

Khrushchev and Nixon selling soda?

If you pinch yourself and don't wake up, then you're probably in Ukraine!

"When I need money, I just take it." Bruce Willis ad for Trast Bank.
Pepsi hit Ukraine hard the other summer with a throwback advertising campaign. See the rest of the ads here. Also, this picture is the real deal; Nixon did get Khrushchev to sample some Pepsi back in 1959 and, according to a NY Times article, "Pepsi-Cola [was] the first capitalist product to be sold in the U.S.S.R."

And while you're in town, don't forget to take a look at what else is out there-

Monday, April 14, 2014

Of marathons and mayham

Another uncertain weekend gone by, another Saturday and Sunday that fit the pattern:
Saturday = more or less normal, Sunday = mass protests, marches, violence.

There's something about Sundays... they've become a day to dread in eastern Ukraine. It's like Monday through Saturday people go to work and school, do the grocery shopping, live спокойно (calmly), and then Sunday comes and there's some madness in the air. It could be said that things are tense 24/7, but on Sundays people are ready for war.

Saturday @ Freedom Square:

We caught the tail end of the MTC Kharkiv International Marathon that afternoon.

Families, couples, and friends strolled through the mainly empty Freedom Square.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A no-work Wednesday

No classes yesterday!

Met up with a friend for a разговорный обмен (language exchange) over 35 uah business lunches.

Finally got to use some new purchases, as the city had its (I think?) first thunderstorm of the year.
My official first umbrella ever! Catty, of course :p
Also, rainboots. It's been a lifelong dream to own a pair. Makes rainy days so much better!

Took a meandering drive through town.
looking at yesterday's paper in the car

Back at work today, rain again.

Here's to hoping that April showers bring May flowers!

What's the weather like where you are?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Newspapers in the time of Euromaidan

I'm a little confused about Euromaidan. It seems like such a long time ago... or was it? So much has happened. Is happening. Do these new events still qualify as Euromaidan? Or should they get their own title?

Months ago, people waited for things to "return to normal". Now "normal" has become an absurd thought. I should have believed Graham when he predicted that there is no more normal, there's only a new Ukraine and its birth is just as messy and traumatizing as any birth is. My heart goes out to the Ukrainians who are living through this creation of a new reality, where every day brings a new headline and students confess they're thinking about sending their wives and children away to safer places.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Vietnamese in Kharkov

One of my favorite things about Kharkov is how diverse the city is.
Handmade ad near the Geroev Truda metro
Countless universities (pharmaceutical, technical, law, aerospace, physics, medical, pedagogical, and more) brought 12,000 foreign students here in 2010. As of 2014, this number is supposedly up to over 20,000 students.

An overall population of approximately 1.5 million people means numerous job opportunities. Outsiders of all nationalities often end up working in Kharkov.