things i’ll miss about ukraine

I wrote this post 4 years ago, as you might guess by the lack of capitalization (it was a phase). Like a slew of other posts, it remained drafted but never published. Maybe because I found it presumptuous to write about what I’ll miss about Ukraine when I was still IN Ukraine. Maybe I wasn’t sure if any of it would be true, or if all of it would be true, or maybe if anyone would understand what I was even talking about. I admit, this list was and still is mostly for me, as I explain. It serves as a reminder of the things I just didn’t want to forget.

I haven’t read through this list in about, well, 4 years. The list is still pretty spot on and quite a lovely reminder of village life in Ukraine. And yea, I’d still like to put a rug on my wall. To keep with archive protocols, I’ve decided not to edit the post below, even if some things could use a little clarification, and capitalization…

As always, thanks for reading.


a few months back, i began jotting down things i’ll miss about ukraine. whenever something would pop-in my head i’d jot it down in my moleskin i so faithfully take everywhere. i made this list just for myself really, as a reminder of the things (both big and little) i’ve come to appreciate while living in ukraine and things that i don’t want to forget. of course there are many things i won’t miss (it’s not all peaches ‘n cream over here!) but i’d rather try and remember the good stuff. years to come, i’m sure it will grow to include things i never thought about but for now this is what i have. it’s in no particular order and also randomly turned out to total 50.

  1. connection to seasons and the harvests that come with it
  2. cheap local produce — even poor people can afford healthy foods
  3. being able to get anywhere in the country without a car
  4. students (some more than other but especially the ones that run up to hug me)
  5. walks through fields around my village
  6. simplicity
  7. chucha
  8. ira and eddik
  9. pc friends that live closer to me here than in america
  10. walking on a dirt road where no cars pass by
  11. babaushkas that could beat a brotha
  12. communal children on buses
  13. at least 2 holidays in any given month (the ukr saying is 365 days in the year and we have 300 holidays)
  14. pryaniky
  15. being able to eat borscht for 1 week at the price of 10 UAH ($1.23)
  16. the fact that it’s acceptable to wear the same outfit a few days, weeks, even months in a row.
  17. the true darkenss of my village at night and the ability to see so many stars
  18. speaking ukrainian and russian
  19. hearing “HILLOW!” from my kids in the village
  20. relatively cheap train travel
  21. this country’s love for ABBA
  22. that adults can stay up and party just as hard as the young folk
  23. pimped out ladas
  24. tea (and sometimes conjac) breaks at school
  25. delicious chocolate
  26. never ending fields of sunflowers
  27. living close to 2 seas: azov and black
  28. bazaars
  29. the way everyone makes their own house wine and samajon (homemade vodka)
  30. fleeced-lined pants for winter
  31. the chance to get away with speaking in a british accent whenever i feel like it
  32. walks in the village listening to village sounds
  33. the occasional ketchup and mayo sause’d pizza (what’s happened to me?!)
  34. fold songs, folk tales, and hilarious health superstitions
  35. summer clouds like that of Montana (i’ve never actually been there, but i assume they look like that)
  36. post delivered by the same woman on a bicycle no matter the weather
  37. kids that play outdoors and make their own toys
  38. adult-sized juice boxes
  39. a culture of minimal toilet paper usage. and recycled tp at that!
  40. reusing things and fixing things rather than throwing away or buying new
  41. rickety bicycles carrying 2-3 even 4 people
  42. lvivsky christmas edition beer
  43. banyas (sauna experience where you also get beaten with leafy branches!)
  44. older women being genuinely concerned about me getting enough to eat
  45. modest and cozy houses
  46. the fact that everyone (no matter age or gender) can be spotted eating an ice cream cone in the summer
  47. rugs on walls
  48. shashlik in the summer
  49. true appreciation for the coming of spring after long, dark, cold winters
  50. that ukrainians are quick to recognize what’s important to them: family and health


6 thoughts on “things i’ll miss about ukraine

  1. Hope you are doing well Kristen! I was thinking of you yesterday and today your post popped up in my blog feed…funny how those things happen!

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