Expats in Kyiv, Ukraine

We’re officially expats! The five of us arrived in Kyiv (Kiev) Ukraine almost a month ago now – on the second day of August.

Hannah, Emma, Ben and I have been entertaining ourselves exploring and dining Kyiv. All this while Rob kind of, mostly but not always, enjoyed the challenges of this new contract he’s committed to.

Our housing is assigned. I can’t say I would have picked this place myself – it’s a huge apartment and a little gaudy in a Greek Revival kind of way. I admit I kind of like the architecture and we have an absolutely gorgeous view.

Early this morning Hannah left for the airport. She’s off to university. I can’t even begin to describe how I feel right now. I’ve been excited for her for months but now I’ve realized what has happened here. Nothing is going to be quite the same.

It’s early morning as I write this. Emma is still sleeping. Ben is getting ready for school. Rob is travelling with Hannah. I am lonely already. Sniff.

Emma leaves for her school soon – in just a few days. And then aside from the hopefully not infrequent holiday I’ll be down to just Ben. And Rob of course. Growing up just sneaks up on you. I thought I was looking forward to endless days on my own. Hopefully I am not just kidding myself.

Living in Kyiv

We are enjoying Kyiv.

We haven’t explored any other parts of Ukraine or Eastern Europe – yet. But we do have a very long list.

The last four weeks we’ve been tromping around Kyiv – getting a little lost. I’m learning where to shop (and where to not). A lot of Kyiv is beautiful. A lot is crumbling. Being an expat here is challenging at times. But it is doable and wonderfully fun.

A ton of things are as inexpensive here as you hear about. A crazy amount of things are very dear indeed. A small bottle of Tobasco at my local grocery store is 300₴ (300 Hryvnia or about $15 CDN). Yes, it’s imported but holy cow! International wines are $4-5 and those are imported.

Dining out is super cheap. Well, it can be. It can easily exceed dining out at home. There are some crazy priced restaurants we’ve stumbled into. $150 entrees!

Kyiv Sunrise

That image of the sunrise at the top of this post is just part of the view from our apartment window. Aside from adjusting the size, the photo is not edited. And my crappy photo doesn’t do the real view any justice at all. It is a glorious Kyiv sunrise. It’s a little bleary because I’ve been crying.

What Things Cost – Kyiv, Ukraine

vodafone is one of many super cheap cell phone options in Ukraine

Cell phone service for a family of five – 823₴

That’s $42 Canadian. $31.50 USD (ouch!, converting to USD always hurts these days).

That’s for FIVE! local SIM cards – no contract – with service for one month. Two with unlimited data and three with 10 GB of data each. All of them have 500 minutes of calling within Ukraine. And 500 texts. Unlimited calls and texts within the network. We opted for Vodafone but there is lots to choose from. Theres other stuff but … ?!

Cell phone service is one of the crazy cheap things in Ukraine.

4 Replies to “Expats in Kyiv, Ukraine”

  1. Nice to meet fellow Canadians! Quite the change of pace being expats in Ukraine isn’t it? I know when we spent a month in Kyiv last year we were really surprised by the city – wasn’t anything like we expected. Yes, we expected some poverty and crumbling architecture, but we didn’t expect some of the fancy stores, restaurants and the modern highrises. Or to be able to find great wines at half the prices that you’ll find in Canada. Have you been to “good wine”in Kyiv? That’s where I’d do some of our grocery shopping…

    We were also blown away by some of Kyiv’s highlights. Very impressive.

    Lviv is very different and will remind you of most of Central Europe. It has tons of charm and it’s an easy city to fall in love with. After 5 years of full-time travel it’s actually in the top 3 of places we enjoy coming back to regularly. And don’t make the same mistake we did – take that high speed train from Kyiv. We didn’t know it existed at the time and did the trip on the slow hot train (10 hours i think) with shirtless soldiers drinking beer…

    How long will you be living in Kyiv? I’ve seen photos of the city in winter and it looks magnificent…

    I don’t know if you’ve been but you should visit the Canadian embassy some time. We were invited to a “Canadian party” by the ambassador last year and met lots of interesting Canadians. I’m sure they’d be happy to meet some Canadian expats living there.

    1. Hi Frank,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Rob has been to Lviv a few times now. And it’s a favourite for him too. It’s on my short list. I don’t know, I may opt for the slow train based on your experience.

      We’ll be in Kyiv a few years. I’ve seen some nice photos of Kyiv in winter as well. I’ve heard some reports about grey days, slick roads and treacherous sidewalks. I’m looking forward to seeing it myself. Though I don’t much like grey. I’ll take it over cold!

      The post where you mentioned visiting that embassy party is how I found your site. I think the Ambassador tweeted it.

    1. Oh I do miss that witty thing you do.
      I opted for the Galaxy 10+. You know, so I wouldn’t be obsolete too quickly. Far too much phone for me. I have Uber and gmail apps. Just added a time zone widget. And I’ve used maps a lot. Oh and What’sApp.Everybody cool uses that.

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