Friday, June 2, 2017

Things I (don't) miss

I just found a little folder on my computer called Things I won't miss. It must be from a few years ago, just after we moved to Portland. These are 4 things I thought I would never miss about living in Ukraine....
but now, I actually have a soft spot for most of them!

#1. Handwritten signs like this one. Miss!

After years of so-so Russian, somehow my language skills got better after leaving Ukraine. Now I could actually take on the challenge of understanding these words + deciphering that scrawl. (It says "self-serve; clean up after yourself.")

#2. The water truck. Miss!

Speaking of reading signs, the first water task was finding out when the water truck would be in the neighborhood.

Then, at the appointed hour, a line of neighbors would form behind the truck. Everyone waited with empty plastic jugs in one hand and coins in the other. D and I performed this ritual for 2 years until finally moving into a neighborhood with a water store.

It was time consuming, yes, but it got us outside in all kinds of weather + was a chance to meet different neighbors.

#3. Working in this elementary school. Hmmm....

Erasing chalk with a wet rag and waiting for the chalkboard to dry, not being allowed to turn lights on until 5 PM ("we need to economize!"), those bathrooms, and being scowled at every day by the lady downstairs at the front desk... wait, actually, I don't really miss this place. But I do miss all the students.

#4 doesn't really count, because I definitely don't miss it. This still belongs to the things I won't miss list. It's the ladies who sit in museum corners, watching you like you're a jewel thief. You know the type. Here's a couple of them on duty at a museum in Kyiv-

There's another folder tucked away inside the won't miss folder. It's the will randomly miss folder.

#1. Pizza. I even eventually got used to the mayonnaise-ketchup-combo pizzas.

#2. Everyone taking their shoes off everywhere and wearing slippers instead. This is the "outside shoes" shelf at a small IT company.

#3. People setting off big fireworks on weeknights.

#4. Playing Scrabble at Coffee Life every week with students, friends, and visiting tourists.

#5. The domofon! Best apartment invention ever.

#6. Street art. Portland has some, but it's not as colorful and not as present.

#7. Tall apartment buildings. In general, apartment buildings seemed to be very tall in Ukraine. Here, most apartment complexes top out at 3 or 4 stories. The taller buildings in Portland are home only to the very wealthy.

What about you? What do you miss about the last place you lived in?


  1. You know I DON'T miss about Ukraine? Random 'natural disasters' like exploding underground water pipes. Did you see that video?
    That crazy stuff only happens in Ukraine!

    1. Yikes!! I hadn't seen that video. It reminds me of these kinds of things: I was always a little paranoid around roofs for that reason (and icicles).

      Do you ever get back to Ukraine these days? :)

  2. Loved this post! Here in the Czech Republic it always unsettles me how often they don't turn on the lights when it is a liiiiittle too dark. Having to turn on the lights in a class always makes me feel extra American ;)

    1. Thank you for your comment, Cynthia! One time the power even went out and we had class by candlelight on a winter evening, haha. That was pretty cool.

      Hooray for summertime and all those long afternoons of light, right? Enjoy them!

  3. This post is actually a good idea, but I can't think of many things I won't miss. I definitely won't miss the pizza with ketchup and mayo or wiping the chalkboard with a rag. I'm with you on the slippers. I ALWAYS take my shoes off now, and feel so weird if I accidentally leave something in another room and have to wear shoes in to get it because I'm too lazy to take them off.

    I get water delivered to me. I guess I must be living high class life in Ufa. ;)

    1. Oh yes, the shoe thing :p I totally know what you're talking about! When we visit my parents, they're like "Why are you taking your shoes off? You can leave them on." But I can't. Just can't. It feels too weird. :p

  4. Ack! DON'T miss that pizza! YUCK! Water truck.....nope. I had my delivered! Don't miss...paying to pee!

    1. Privet Jo! Not even the tiniest bit? ;)

      You bring up a good point with the public bathrooms, though. There are so many free bathrooms here in Portland. I've almost forgotten what it's like to be frantically searching for a place to pee while out and about, haha.

  5. Things I don't miss: random fireworks! I was so terrified the first time it happened I called my mother. Then I just deal with it after a big city though, I will never understand.

    1. Yes, they could definitely catch a person unaware!

      Someone once told me they were mafia parties... that must be a joke, right? Did you ever get an explanation?

    2. No, the most alarming thing was that everyone acted like nothing was happening. I can completely see it being a habit of the rich/mafio to randomly set off fireworks.