Archive for February 14th, 2007

And then there’s Reality

Imagine walking down an unlit cobblestone sidewalk to a not-entirely-known destination where you think you’ll find dinner. You took a wrong turn, try the other way. Wrong turn again, try the -other- way? Ok, you’ve found the restaurant to eat at, order what you want. None of the waitstaff speak english, maybe the person next to you does? He does, he can translate an order for you. Just pay and sit down. The restaurant is busy, people sit down next to you at your table but you can’t understand a word they’re saying to each other. Your food comes, you eat, the food is good, you leave. You walk back down an unlit cobbstone sidewalk to your apartment, in the rain.

In the world of expats they talk about the “honeymoon” phase where new expats are usually very excited and happy to be in an entirely new place for the first few weeks. After that they usually enter some sort of period where they’re unhappy, perhaps even depressed. They realize all of the home-comforts that they’re now missing and its as though reality sets in.

It’s different here.

3 comments February 14th, 2007

Another Day, Another Dollar (5 Hryvna)

I’ve been pretty careful to make sure that all of the things I’m plugging into my 1 little power adapter are 220V safe. Last night I tried plugging in a power strip. I figured this way I could use my 1 power adapter to get 6 sockets with american plugs @ 220V. Sounds like a great idea, no?

Apparently my power strip is only rated for 110V and this, for some reason, matters. When I flipped it on sparks flew to celebrate the lights going out. After a few phone calls (thanks, Ivan) I found the circuit breaker. However, I was unable to actually flip the breaker back. Everytime I clicked it over it would immediately break again. Thankfully Ivan called the landlord and the husband-wife combo strolled out to my place around 9pm to fix the breaker. I have no idea what he did differently from me but I have internet again. Thank goodness for such nice people.

This morning I decided I needed breakfast. I walked around a few nearby blocks looking for places to eat. I found a few bars but none of your typical breakfast eateries. Then I found a little tiny grocery store. I looked all over before finding a few (literally) boxes of cereal on a top shelf. I grabbed one and then asked for “milk.” The woman knew what I wanted (I found later that the word in Ukrainian is pronounced mi-lo-ko). It cost me 14 Hryvna, roughly $3, for a liter of milk and a box of cereal. Not bad.

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