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.

Monday, March 31, 2014


The seasons come and go, buildings are renovated, artwork is remembered- or forgotten, old nations grow into new nations. Everything changes.

In the spirit of those changes, here are a few local snapshots showing exactly that:

Poetry Plaza



Thursday, March 27, 2014

The truth about blogging right now

Shevchenko Park, March 27th, 6:30 PM

Dear readers,

I love blogging and sharing things with you but it's been hard lately. Not hard to actually sit down and write but, in a way, hard to justify the posts. I tend not to write about politics on here, share my own political opinions, or get into any "who's right and who's insanely evil" discussions. Interview offers that turn up are usually turned down, because everyone wants "the view from the ground" and my answer is lame, something like this:

Went downtown last night and there was nothing to report; a handful of police in normal uniforms, candles and flowers near the Lenin statue, lots of young couples out on dates. No angry mobs, no Molotov cocktails, no war. Came home, waited for the news to load, and wow, suddenly some newspaper in Kyiv or London or New York or Canada is saying that yep, 100% sure war will come (or worse, they hope it comes) tomorrow. Then I feel like a big idiot: did I miss the memo? was there a town hall meeting? maybe a secret handshake that communicated this kind of info? a Facebook update from Yatsenyuk? did Putin ride into town atop a tank?

Obviously a super-boring answer. Those foreign correspondents who show up for a day or two manage to find vastly more exciting things to say. Still, that brings me to the whole point of this blog: to share those little, ordinary things. What the park looked like yesterday. Something funny a student said. A strange new food in the supermarket. An unusual Ukrainian superstition. If I wake up and see an armored convey rolling down the street, you'd better believe that's going to be my opening sentence but so far (thank God) there's nothing like that in Kharkiv.

There are many talented bloggers here in Ukraine who focus on politics on all sides of the spectrum (like this blogger, this blogger, and this blogger, just to name a few). Also, as you've noticed, pretty much every single news agency in the world is churning out Ukraine-related news 24/7. If you want that kind of info, really, it's everywhere... except maybe here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Getting an international cat passport in Ukraine

It's happened.

A certain furry someone has his own international "passport" now.

He says he's ready for a high-flying, jet-setting lifestyle, expecting to be served only the finest caviar and freshest cream. (I said he should look for an oligarch to adopt him in that case :P)

This morning we took Kit to the vet.