Friday, September 26, 2014

Apartment hunting

Per tradition, it's time for the yearly Change of Scenery.... for the third year running.

In 2012 it was a chance to move out of company housing.

The following summer we traded in a foul-tempered landlady for a sweet young law student who rented us her apartment.

This year it's due to slight change in circumstances (ie, countries).

As much as I love apartment living, it's always a time-consuming, draining game of odds to find a good place and this particular city is no different. I'll tell you more about this city (whose identity will not be much of a surprise) and how we ended up here in a later post. The energy for this entry has been provided by the two Reese's peanut butter cups I just ate after nine hours of viewing apartments, so it'll be short.

Ukraine has ruined our casual easy-goingness when it comes to apartments. In addition to now having a pet, we have all these weird notions. For example, asking does this apartment come with a meat grinder? in America doesn't mean that you're a diligent housewife but rather a serial killer.

And O mighty parquet! I never really knew what you were before but now it's hard to live without you. Carpets are just so... carpety. As nice as they look when you move in, they cruelly never stay that shade. 

Also frequently MIA is the balcony. Where to store pickles or last summer's strawberries or to vigorously shake out rugs on passerby? And goodbye, poor domofon. You were a most useful household gadget. Don't even get me started on lights. A chandelier is sadly no longer the lighting fixture of the masses but instead an extravagant perk reserved for the wealthy. In fact, what's with this whole trend of no overhead lighting at all? "Oh, well, this area was designed for floor lamps." Fine, but does every room save the bathroom really need to have this dim-witted (haha) design?

But there are compensations to be had. Swimming pools and hot tubs, a fantastic modern appliance I'd almost forgotten about (dishwasher), painted walls instead of soviet-era wallpaper, no more permanently-remodeling-neighbor-with-drill, smiley building managers. It's all a tradeoff.

We haven't yet found a place that satisfies both our Ukrainian and American tastes but we're canvassing the streets in search of one. Every single day. Here are a few snapshots of that process, minus the boring paperwork stuff-

For a moment I looked for Lenin's face, then remembered where I was.
Sharknado 3: Road Rage. Coming soon.
A rare chandelier sighting(!!!) in one of the city's most well-known landmarks.
In between gray skies and downpours, this bit of grace.
Bike-powered smoothie. Worth it!
No girlfriend = plenty of time to improve your penmanship.
Commuter train line in the suburbs. Apartments are sooo much cheaper here.

Before I sign off, a huge thank you to those of you who have taken the survey from the last post!!!! It's been incredibly helpful to read your suggestions and file them away in my brain to percolate. The personal stories are great too- I love hearing what serendipitous events can lead to an interest in Ukraine.

The survey will be open until Sunday if you haven't had the chance to visit it yet!

Fall on the city streets.


  1. That donut-y chandelier made me smile!

    I hope you guys are getting closer to finding an apartment that fits. It must be a real shock to be looking for places after so much time in an entirely different country. Keep asking about the meat grinder and patio, maybe you'll be lucky and score both :)