Author Archives: Greg T.

Tips on Buying an Apartment in Ukraine

7-balcony

I know many guys – Westerners, I mean – who’ve bought apartments in Ukraine. It’s a relatively easy and painless process. I was with my wife through the whole process when she bought our Sevastopol apartment, so I have a first hand account of all the details. First the question is: Should you even bother to buy? Or, Why should you consider buying an apartment in Ukraine or Russia? Well, if you travel there enough, it can certainly be worth it. I know guys who spend six months out of the year in Ukraine, and there’s no doubt it’s more ... Read More »

What Is Banking Like in Ukraine?

privat-bank

As with all things about living in Ukraine, there are pluses and minuses to their system. Here's the big plus: You can easily earn 20% on a deposit. Can you imagine that? In the U.S. my money earns 2% if I'm lucky. Read More »

Having A Baby In Ukraine

birthing-room-russia-ukraine

On August 1st, 2013 my Ukrainian wife delivered our son, Andrei in her hometown hospital, here in Lutsk Ukraine. As I write, I’m sitting beside his bassinet as he sleeps. In this moment of calm, I’d like to describe for you what it’s like to deliver a baby in Ukraine. Let me tell you: It’s a weird system over here. As a Ukrainian citizen, my wife’s health care is free. In fact, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, they pay women to have children: $4K for the first, $7K 2nd, etc. But that’s not the weird part I’m talking about. The weirdness ... Read More »

Russian Holidays

Kiev_at_xmas

Living here in Ukraine, it sometimes feels like every third day is a holiday. They honestly seem to have a LOT of holidays here in Ukraine (and Russia). Without a doubt, the most important one is New Years Eve. This is when they give gifts, so it’s almost like Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years all rolled into one for them. If you can ever attend a “Novi God” (sounds like “NOH-vee gote”) celebration with a Russian or Ukrainian family, take advantage of the invite. It’s a special treat. To see how my Ukrainian wife and I celebrated a recent New ... Read More »

What Are Russian and Ukrainian Trains Like?

Although I have ridden on Russian trains, I have much more experience on Ukrainian trains, especially in the past few years. So, what are they like? Watch this video, first, to get a good feel… Sure, Ukrainian (and Russian) trains are fairly loud and rickety, and they can sometimes be stuffy…but they’re also a whole lot of fun. Personally, I love the relaxed pace of sitting in the “CB” (pronounced “ess-veh”) two-person VIP sleeper room. I bring a good book and just relax and enjoy the ride. The bumpy ride and noise bothered me on my very first ride, but ... Read More »

Life in Ukraine Q & A

lvov1

I had an exchange on Facebook with Brandon Hayes who was asking about the advanced Russian Accelerator course, as well as what life is like in Ukraine. I thought this would be an interesting read for many of you, so I’m posting it here: Q & A with Brandon Hayes Brandon: Wow. you live in Ukraine…I didn’t know. Where in Ukraine do you live? What do you enjoy most about Ukraine? Mark’s response: Hi Brandon, For five years I lived in warm and sunny Sevastopol, Ukraine on the southern tip of the Crimean Peninsula. It’s a gorgeous Black Sea town. ... Read More »

Shashlik: Barbeque Russian Style

shashlik-8

Stay long enough with your Russian friends during the summer, and they will eventually invite you to a Russian-style cookout called shashlik. Sure, on the surface, barbeque is barbeque wherever you go, but nonetheless the Russian experience is unique, and very worth doing. Here’s what will happen: Everyone packs into a car or two and drives out of the city to the woods. It might be to a designated area of sorts, with picnic tables, but just as often it’s simply to the woods themselves, perhaps by a lake. First tip: Bring OFF or some insect repelling equivalent. After finding ... Read More »

Think you know what a Russian dacha is?

dacha-preview

Think you know what a Russian dacha is? In Russian, a ‘dacha’ is a simple – often primitive – home erected on a plot of farm land. The dacha owned by my Ukrainian wife’s parents, for example, is just over three acres. These are not intended as quaint, country homes for weekend getaways (as seems to be the perception among westerners.) These are places where Russian and Ukrainian people can go to grow their own food, and they are literally vital to their way of life. As you’ll see in the photos below from a recent visit to my wife’s ... Read More »

Behind Closed Doors in a Ukrainian Dating Agency

Russian Dating Agency Not What You Think

Behind Closed Doors in a Ukrainian Dating Agency Warning: You’re about to discover who’s actually writing you “love letters” from that dating agency in Ukraine you’ve been using. If you believe that those letters are being written by the same beautiful women in the photos, you’re in for a shock. Not long ago I was in Odessa, researching a location where I might possibly open a language school. Prices on the main walking street, Deribasovskaya, were out of my range, so I found myself wandering the side streets of Odessa’s old town. As I wandered, I happened upon a dating ... Read More »

Travel Mistake in Russia: Not Bringing Gifts

A gift for you!

Have You Made This Travel Mistake in Russia? Headed to Russia or Ukraine on a social visit? Here are two words of advice: Bring gifts!. In the U.S., we rarely bring gifts when we travel, except on Christmas, of course, or when visiting a relative who has a young child. But in Russia or Ukraine, gifts are always given by the visitor, to each of the people he or she is visiting. Yes…I said “each.” Living here in Ukraine, now, for six years, I can say it’s a major pain in the a** any time I take a trip somewhere. ... Read More »