Kyiv – Space Heaters, Fall Colours & Silly Logistics

Those fall colours out my window are at their peak in that image above. There was more green and much more foliage a few days ago , so I think this is as good as it gets. My view out the window that is. Perhaps the fall colours in the country-side are much more spectacular. I soon shall see.

Foliage a few days ago.

We’ve been very busy here in Kyiv. Rob especially. I’ve spent too much time on email updates so figured I better do a post. It’s funny – our day to day lives here in Kyiv seem pretty pedestrian to us since, well, here we are. I forget that maybe it’s not boring to you. And someone else’s day to day life in Kyiv certainly would not have been boring to me a few months ago before I arrived here.

It’s Cold and Sunny in Kyiv

It’s been cold here the last couple weeks. Monday’s high was 5 °C. And it’s only October. At least it is beautifully sunny. I heard a rumour that today will be a high of ten so hopefully we’re back to warmer weather for a while.

Our apartment is a bit chilly. We’ve got the space heaters on and they’re not really making a difference. In fact, I’ve got one right adjacent to me this morning. Slippers. A sweater. A little brrh.

Like most in Ukraine, our apartment is heated by hot water radiators. I’m told the city actually controls the flow and Kyiv hasn’t turned the hot water on yet. I’m curious to know if we’ll be toasty or always chilly this winter.

We’ve got five large radiators spaced throughout the living / dining room. And another long one in the kitchen. I’m hopeful that if we close up the two sets of doors we can at least heat this space comfortably. Though like every room in the apartment, the living room is huge. That’s a dining table for eight right now. We put the extensions and extra chairs away.

Our grand gallery of a hallway has no radiators at all. So it may be a chilly walk from the bedrooms to the living area. Who knows. Maybe we’ll be able to keep the doors open and heat the hall as well.

I’m not sure if you can get an idea of the scale in that photo. I think the hallway may be as long as our house in Canada. I took the photo from the centre of the end of it. There’s still a bit more.

Yes, we’re still waiting to hang the art.

Did I tell you it takes me two hours to vacuum?! Okay, it’s a crappy vacuum but…

Uber & One Stop Shops

Another expat spouse and I took an Uber to a large store – Metro Cash & Carry – kind of like a Costco. It was pretty much a one stop shop for me that day. Though we could only buy what we could both fit in an Uber ride back home. And then again, only what we could each carry from the Uber up to our apartments.

Uber is pretty cheap here. The forty minute trip to the Metro was ₴130 (less than $7 CAD). The store was less than 7 km away. We set out at ten in the morning and I got back home four and a half hours later.

Overall? – Silly logistics really.

Even when I take an Uber loaded with groceries from a central well-stocked store, it’s a good forty minute drive through traffic. A route easily walked in twenty minutes. So I try to avoid the overloading.

Our personal vehicle arrived with the sea shipment and is parked in the garage waiting for Ukrainian licence plates and registration. It’s been two weeks now and I don’t have any idea when I’ll be able to drive it.

I’m looking forward to some autonomy. I don’t think a personal vehicle is going to cut down on my shopping woes but at least I’ll be able to make multiple trips up to the apartment with groceries I can leave in the car.

Yay, I get to see the girls soon …

So that’s just a quick update on a few things. I can’t really talk about what’s upcoming, public platform and all. And I do really hope to share more of the last few weeks with you. Though, if you’ve read about it in an email … meh!

I get to see Hannah and Emma soon. Though I’ve pretty much adjusted to them being away – alarmingly fast – I’m looking forward to seeing them.

Anyway, thanks for checking in. The chilly morning air here smells just like Canada. I am missing the glorious fall colours back home though.

As always I’m thinking of you all,
Colleen

Daily Expat Life in Kyiv, Ukraine

View from my Home Office 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?

Anyway,

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