Daily Expat Life in Kyiv, Ukraine

This is my morning view. Unedited (of course) from this morning. It took me a good three weeks to move my desk area from the kitchen table to this ledge under the large bank of window in our main living space. The kitchen table has a nice view on it’s on, but not like this.

The weather has been phenomenal. And our apartment seems to have its own efficient climate control There is air conditioning in each room but despite 30 degree beautifully sunny days, we can still throw the windows open and enjoy cool breezes without it. It must be the concrete walls.

My daily life as an expat in Kyiv has settled into a lovely routine. Admittedly, it’s a little boring. I wake up to coffee in bed. (Thanks Rob, as always – It’s mostly why I stick around.) Breakfast. Putter around. Put on a load of laundry – It literally takes all day. Walk to the grocer. Go out for lunch. Back at home for Ben’s school bus. Make dinner. Relax. No matter where we are, the days just fly by. There are really not enough hours in a day.

Over the last four weeks, Hannah, Emma and I had an excursion planned pretty much each day – With a destination in mind. We rarely made it to where we intended. Hannah was a bit dismayed by our lack of progress and called us Lazy Travellers.

I’d like to point out – We took the leisurely scenic route. And at this particular time, we’re not travelling. We’re living here.

What’s Up with the Electric Unicyle

I can’t count the number of times that I wish I was fast enough to snap a pic of some dumbass doing some stupid dumbass thing. You too? Yeah!

Really I wish I got a photo of this.

This morning I’m walking down the sidewalk to the grocery store . It’s a busy sidewalk. Crowded with parked cars, fruit stands, pruned tree debris, sidewalk cafes. And people! And potholes and lifted cobble stones. Most of the people are looking at their cell phones while walking. What can they possibly be watching?


There is this guy on one of those electric unicycles. And he’s motoring. He’s also zigging and zagging around things. I might have got a photo if I hadn’t been so surprised that he was going at top speed down the sidewalk while looking at his phone. The dumbass! At least he was glancing up occasionally.

Always a bright side.

I wish I got a photo.

I decided to take a picture of any of the numerous uni-cyclers here in Kyiv. Just so you’d know what I’m talking about. Usually I see several on any stretch of sidewalk here. It’s not one with the stick. It’s just the motorized wheel. One wheel.

Of course there weren’t any around. Here’s a picture of the sidewalk I’m talking about:

Top speed. With his nose in a cell phone.

What Things Cost – Kyiv, Ukraine

Tomatos and eggplant have been much cheaper than this. This morning, I went to the more upscale grocer twice as far away. Nothing I bought was on sale. So I guess these are just every day convenience prices.

Tomatos – 23.02₴

Or $1.20 CAD for this bag of six nice sized and super delicious Ukrainian tomatoes.

Ukrainian tomatos from an upscale store

Eggplant – 13.63₴

That’s about $0.70 CAD for these two medium sized eggplant.

Eggplant - Expat Life in Kyiv Ukraine

Mango – 42.99₴ per piece (a little ! )

This is a shopping error on my part The sign said they were less. I was thinking $1.50 per piece when I put them in my cart but they rang in at $2.20 or so – each. That’s far too much for a $0.99 mango.

Overpriced Mango - Expat Life Kyiv Ukraine

What to do? It’s not like I can return them. I only speak a little Ukrainian. And most people I encounter at this grocer speak only Russian.

Silly tourist!

Ah well. I look at the total cost of my groceries and am quite pleased.

Pineapple, Sesame Seeds & Fish Sauce

I haven’t snapped a photo yet. But I do see pineapple all over the place. Just yesterday it was $8 and a bit. My store has canned for $4. That’s for a small can.

I’ve been on the hunt for sesame seeds and fish sauce. I saw sesame seeds today. Four bucks for a small jar of white plain ‘ol seeds. It was packaged kind of like saffron. It was in the sushi making section so it must be really good stuff!

I haven’t found anything that looks like fish sauce yet. Hannah’s back in Canada now so the pressure is off for Asian cooking.

Wrap It Up

I should probably be starting dinner right about now. But it’s just Ben, Emma and I so we’ll be heading out for supper tonight. We have a request from Ben – wait for it – we’re looking for a really good hamburger.

We’ve enjoyed too much Ukrainian and Georgian food these last four weeks. I’m not saying that burgers are any lighter then varenyky, katchapuri and kinkhali (yummy stuff) but he’s been a sport so I give.

It’s been quite a few months since we’ve posted here. I was very pleased to see you all stopped by yesterday.

As usual my friends, thanks for reading!

All the best to you, Colleen

20 Replies to “Daily Expat Life in Kyiv, Ukraine”

    1. Thanks Ryan.
      Marvelling at the price of things when we travel has always been a ‘thing’ for me.
      Emma and I went mall shopping yesterday. We didn’t buy anything. That’s a whole post on its own. I don’t know who buys the stuff we saw. But holy cow!

  1. No matter how boring you think your life is, the fact that you are in a different country makes it more exciting for the rest of us! I think of you as a pen pal that I don’t have to write back to. You have a more lovely view than I do when you are writing. The weather is turning here in the northeast and it will soon be fall. My winter home in Florida is currently in the path of Hurricane Dorian so we are waiting to see what happens with that situation. You will soon be outnumbered by the boys. Hope that goes well for you! It was a trying time for me as I didn’t have any brothers to prepare me! Have a great day!

    1. Nice to hear from you Nancy!

      You’re really a rotten pen pal ;0)

      When we were traveling full time, it was incredible how we settled into a routine. It made us laugh a bit. And it was weird how that became our normal. And then when we got back it was like we were never gone. It is quite the phenomenon.

      I get a whiff of cool on the breeze coming in the window too. I love the change of seasons. But the opportunity to escape the cold makes winter more enjoyable. I love Florida!

      I hope your winter home fares well.

      Best wishes and thanks so much for stopping by.

  2. Thanks Ryan.
    Marvelling at the price of things when we travel has always been a ‘thing’ for me.
    Emma and I went mall shopping yesterday. We didn’t buy anything. That’s a whole post on its own. I don’t know who buys the stuff we saw. But holy cow!

  3. Hey Colleen! Wow! I have been thinking about you since reading your last post on traveling the world, wondering what you have been up to.
    How amazing and lots of big changes. Is Hannah going to university in Canada or Europe? They do grow up so freakin’ fast, Abby is in Montreal 2nd year at Concordia.
    So happy that you are blogging about this, I look forward to seeing how it is to live an expats life. Take care and enjoy exploring.

    1. Hi Valerie, so good to hear from you.
      Freakin’ fast!
      That’s crazy that Abby is starting 2nd year. I so miss our talks. And all your wisdom.

      Hannah is back in Canada. We gave her Europe as an option and then breathed a (heavy) sigh of relief when she stayed in the area.

      We’re planning a reunion over the reading break.

  4. I’m glad the blog is back! I love your view and desk area – probably would not get a lot of writing done if I had a view in front of me. I hope it doesn’t get cold in that spot in the winter with only single-glazed windows. :

    1. Hey Nick! Yeah me too. Though there is a bank of radiators under the window. I’m hopeful they’ll make it toasty. And from what I’ve read, winters are quite grey. So I may want to avoid the window altogether.

  5. Thanks for the update, Colleen! What an adventure. It is very exciting to hear your experiences in the Ukraine. Jessie’s Dad’s family is from the Ukraine. 🙂

  6. Wow, I had no idea your family had left the country! My husband and I had just mentioned earlier in August that I should contact Rob in order to see if we could take you guys out for dinner in order to pick your brains about our own upcoming around-the-world trip (July 2020). Darn it… totally missed our chance I guess! Happy to see that the trip continues! Are the girls in school? Is Ben in an English speaking school? And why Kiev? Are you or Rob working there?

    Thank you for the post… super excited to follow your adventures once again!

    1. Hi Natalie!

      Your trip is really just around the corner. It is too bad we didn’t get to meet up. Though we may be back for a visit.

      Hannah is university (1st year) back home. She just left last week. I just left Emma at the Zurich airport with her classmates. And Ben is in an English school, yes. I’d never hear the end of it otherwise. I’ll have to let Rob answer those questions about why Kyiv.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *