Author Archives: Greg T.

How is local law enforcement in Ukraine?

Question: How is local law enforcement in Ukraine? I honestly can’t say. I’ve never had any issue. Sevastopol in particular is a very safe city because of the presence of the Russian Navy. The constant presence of soldiers in uniform (even though they have no jurisdiction there), tends to keep people well behaved. And they are everywhere in that city. Having spent time in other Ukrainian cities, I can say that the police presence is much more scarce than in similarly sized U.S. cities. But I’ve never felt threatened or unsafe anywhere in Russia or Ukraine. Next Question: Is the ... Read More »

What’s Russian humor like?

Question: What’s Russian humor like? We all know English spelling is ridiculous. I mean, how you get the sound “Farve” out of the name “Favre” is unfathomable. Why is ‘Kansas’ pronounced “can-zas” but ‘Arkansas’ is pronounced “ar-can-saw”?? Anyway, Russians have a joke about our bizarre spelling rules: If it’s spelled “Manchester” it’s pronounced “Liverpool”. Here are a few more jokes I translated from the newspaper. They’re typical of Russian humor. – – – – – – – A dentist is telling his patient, “Try to relax, ok? I’m just going to give you a little local anesthetic.” “Are you kidding?” ... Read More »

What should I consider before planning a move to Russia or Ukraine?

Question: What should I consider before planning a move to Russia or Ukraine? Pack lightly. Moving is a pain, and if life here doesn’t suit you, it becomes twice as painful having to then move it all back. Double-check with the IRS of course, but be aware that if you open a bank account overseas in excess of – I think it’s $10,000 – you need to report that to the IRS. Next Question: What’s Russian humor like? Read More »

Any suggestions for someone considering a move to Ukraine?

Question: Any suggestions for someone considering a move to Ukraine? Many guys are curious about how they’d occupy their time. I’d put language lessons (as in, learning to speak the language as fluently as possible) high on your list. It’ll make your time there increasingly enjoyable, and it’s apparently one of the best things you can do for your brain, to keep it active and growing. Beyond that, consider getting a job at a local English school. They’ll be excited to have a native speaker to practice with! It won’t pay well…you’ll be lucky to make $10/hr, but you could ... Read More »

Is the Ukrainian government Stable?

Question: Is the Ukrainian government Stable? It seems so. Ukrainians will tell you “everyone is corrupt” or even that “the elections were rigged” and so on. It’s hard to know the truth. But it’s not like there’s a coup d’etat every week or anything. How about local schools? (I’m thinking: What if I lived in Ukraine one day and we had children…) I don’t have much to offer here, though I can say that the facilities are certainly in disrepair on the outside, and probably inside, as well. But Russia and Ukraine must be doing something right. They’ve always been ... Read More »

What’s the cost of living like in Russia or Ukraine?

Question: What’s the cost of living like in Russia or Ukraine? You can buy a nice, two-room apartment in Sevastopol for under $50,000. (And under $40,000 in most other Ukrainian cities, except Kiev.) I’ve never owned a car here. Never had a need, because we lived in the center. That is, we could (and did) walk everywhere. Even the grocery store was a two minute walk away. And the bus system in Sevastopol is great, too. So for further distances, you take the bus. (Cost = 25 cents per ride.) Food is about the same as in the U.S., and ... Read More »

What do you eat on a regular basis in Ukraine?

Question: What do you eat on a regular basis in Ukraine? For breakfast I either cook kasha, which is buckwheat porridge. It tastes decent enough, especially once you add some fruit. And I also like Muslix cereal. The other meals vary. Nearly every day I have a salad, often Greek Salad, which is delicious and consists of the following: diced tomatoes and cukes, olives, fetta cheese, diced yellow peppers, and topped with olive oil. So, that’s a given, whether I make it at home or buy it in a café. I like pelmeni, which are basically small raviolis with various ... Read More »

What is the phone system like in Russia or Ukraine?

Question: What is the phone system like in Russia or Ukraine? The phone situation here is bizarre. At least five competing cell phone providers. It’s free to call people on the same network, but prices between networks vary wildly. And you pay up front for the minutes you use. You go to these kiosks, buy a card, scratch off a long number, type it into your mobile phone, hit dial, and then you have that much more money on your phone. I have two phones, for the two most popular networks (LIFE and MTC, if anyone needs to know). People’s ... Read More »

What are some differences between Americans and Russians or Ukrainians?

Question: What are some differences between Americans and Russians or Ukrainians? There’s a subtle difference between Americans and Ukrainians which I’ve only just recently noticed: Ukrainians don’t eat. Well, you don’t ever see them eating, is what I’m getting at. No one eats on the street, or in the mall, or on the bus. They might gorge like King Louis XIV at home, but out and about it’s a city full of Ghandis. I’ve been tempted more than once to gulp a handful of nuts while riding the bus, but I never do. I worry some kid will point at ... Read More »

Any tips on finding work in Ukraine?

Question: Any tips on finding work in Ukraine? Teaching English is the easiest and most obvious choice. You might be thinking, “But I have absolutely no experience teaching, and I don’t really know all the terms for grammar and stuff.” No problem. You wouldn’t be the one teaching them grammar. What you’d be doing is simply talking to them, and helping them with pronunciation. You may not realize it, but as a native speaker of English, you have an amazing, world-class skill: You can express yourself fluently in English, and you can understand virtually anything you hear or read in ... Read More »