Monday, March 23, 2015

5 things I like about Portland

Spring comes to Portland.

March being almost over, a more appropriate title for this blog now would be "8 Months Since Ukraine". There's something conclusive about 8 months; it's just enough time to experience something new, reflect on it, and adjust or maintain course as needed. That's what happened when we truly started to settle into life in Kharkiv in 2012. And the 8-month trend continued as 2015 rolled around- exactly 8 months in an uncertain Ukraine followed by 8 months in the Pacific Northwest... to be followed by these next 8 months, April 2015 to November 2015.

I'm still itching to get out of here but haven't been completely immune to Portland's charms. Part of this is thanks to Polly Barks, an ex-expat waaaay on the other side of the country who just switched Moscow for small-town Virginia. She's awesomely living out that old adage of bloom where you're planted (read this) and I admire her spirit of adventure. If she can find inspiration in sleepy country roads, it should be easy to fall in love with this city of 2.3 million, right? Here goes!

#1: The big city life.

It's exciting to live in a metropolis. Buildings that stretch up into the sky like these ones, efficient public transport, and billions of shopping opportunities are all benefits of a large city.

Plus, instead of creating homogeneity, so many people in such a small space encourages uniqueness. It's totally cool to drive your cupcake around town-

-or play the bagpipes while wearing a Darth Vader helmet on a unicycle. Whatever floats your boat.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Republic of Tea haul

It's tea time again : )

We placed our very first order from The Republic of Tea in February! Here's what it looked like when it arrived:

While I was excited about all the tea, the boxes turned out to be the highlight of a certain someone's afternoon-

Believe it or not, but this actually is his I'm-having-fun face.

Warmer weather being around the corner already here, it's time to start thinking about iced teas... hence this beautiful trio below. The Strawberry Basil and Pineapple Orange Guava have already become fridge staples. We drink them without any added sweeteners since the combo of green tea + fruit is already flavorful enough.

Saving the Watermelon Mint for a hot summer day.

Meanwhile, matcha caught my eye after seeing this video:

Perhaps we went a little overboard when making it for the first time, though, since one cup sent D into a frenzy of hyperactivity for the next few hours. Does that mean we used too much powder?

Monday, March 9, 2015


Ukraine is synonymous with bricks in my mind. Bricks seem to make up most everything: the streets, the walls, the water towers, the churches, the massive apartments housing hundreds. Here in the US bricks evoke a certain sense of nobility- a distinguished university, a colonial home- yet in Ukraine brick is more of a building fact than an architectural statement.

University in Poltava

It is perhaps a strange hobby, but so much brick caught first my eye and soon, the lens of my camera as well. Enjoy : )

New church under construction.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snapshots of American Life 2

It's almost time for my birthday, which means this was an entire year ago. Wow. Just wow.

Speaking of which, saw these on the streets of Portland the other day-

And one more interesting thing from the streets- the fallout shelter on 6th Avenue. I'd love to hear the story behind this.

Website: Nuclear Survival in Oregon

Spring is here. How this is possible in February, I have no idea... but know better than to look a gift horse in the mouth ; )

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ukraine and the US, Part 2

My heart still misses Ukraine and reading things like this... is, well, heart-breaking. Instead, I'll point you in the direction of someone who is doing good things and share a fun little post on the cultural quirks of my favorite countries to start with a "U".

10 Things You're Not Likely to Encounter in the United States:

Followed by a Good-Luck-Spotting-These-Things-in-Ukraine list...

#1. Waiter-made trainer chopsticks in every sushi restaurant, used by about 80% of diners. 
Known informally as Giant Tweezers.

#2. Fast food job applications that require a photo.

#3. Cheap blini.