2011 is coming to an end and I love lists. So here are a few as we close out this year.
11 Reasons I Love Ukraine
1. CCX university students – Seriously they are AMAZING
2. International Christian Assembly (ICA) – I love my church
3. Borscht! – I still need to learn how to properly make this beet based soup (I know some of you just wrinkled your nose, but you just need to try it)
4. My roommates Alla and Nadia – They make me laugh constantly and often refer to me as the Crazy American Girl
5. L’viv – old world European style city known for chocolate and coffee
6. Fresh flowers – sold year round all over the city for cheap and they are a common gift. LOVE!!
7. Easter – the adults carry around Easter baskets!
8. Hospitality – once you have a relationship with someone, Ukrainians are some of the friendliest, most hospitable and caring people I have ever met
9. Creativity – the country is filled with artists, writers, etc. So much creativity!
10. Quirky – also one of the things that drives me crazy, but Ukraine definitely has its own little quirks (just like me!). For example, mullets still seem to be in style and people pick their noses whenever/wherever like it’s just no big deal – gross but convenient sometimes.
11. Fighters – Ukrainians are strong. They are fighters. Their history is filled with all kinds of atrocities still they remain resilient and many have a deep love for their homeland despite the many flaws plaguing the country. I like people with a little spunk
12. Chocolate!!! I know I said eleven but this one can’t be left out. It’s so much better than American.
11 American Luxuries I Miss the Most
1. Clothes Dryer - I hate planning days in advance that I need clothes to wear
2. Breakfasts at the Roystonian with the Ekklesia ladies – grits, coffee and good conversations
3. IHOP Atlanta – Having somewhere 24/7 where there is prayer and worship
4. Being able to communicate – My biggest daily struggle in Ukraine. I REALLY miss being able to communicate effectively.
5. Current bestseller books – Though I think I’ve remedied this one by obtaining a Kindle. YAYYY!!!
6. Driving – What would be a 30 minute drive in Ukraine actually takes me an hour and half on crowded, nasty public transport (though it’s much cheaper than driving)
7. My cats – They make me laugh and they help calm me. They always seem to understand and often are quite mischievous. I miss them a lot.
8. Wide open spaces – The countryside. Quiet. Unpolluted air. Trees to sit under. *sigh*
9. Warm weather – while the mild Ukrainian summer was nice, even a mild winter is far, far too cold for me and seriously lacks the sunshine and Vitamin D I am accustomed to
10. The AIM community – I miss the closeness and realness of this community. Good thing we sometimes get World Racers in Kyiv!
11. My bed – my Soviet style pull out couch isn’t horrible but it definitely can’t beat a real bed (especially when that bed has a very cute, white kitty curled up in it!)
11 Signs You Live in Ukraine
1. A babushka tried to run you over with her cart and then yelled at you.
2. You find yourself pressed against a complete stranger multiple times a day on public transportation and it’s almost not awkward anymore.
3. You only get one thing accomplished in a day, and that’s considered a success!
4. You start forgetting to use articles (a, an, the, etc.) in sentences.
5. You automatically answer “Da” or “Nyet” even when speaking to other Americans.
6. You carry hand sanitizer, tissues, an umbrella and shoe polish in your purse.
7. You actually polish your shoes
8. You forget what it’s like for absolute strangers to be friendly/polite to you.
9. You’ve been hit on by a guy with an albino rat on his shoulder.
10. Salo (unrendered pork fat) and kvass (a drink made from fermented bread) are not unusual in meals
11. You look at a packed marshrutka (bus) or metro and think “There’s always room for one more”
It is already 2012 in Ukraine but with a few more hours left here on the eastern seaboard of the US, I want to say thank you for joining in the journey this past year.
I’m still in need of about 90% of my budget for the coming year (which is coming really really quickly!!), would you consider a one time or monthly donation so I may continue reaching out to students in Ukraine?
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