Author Archives: Greg T.

Do you work in Ukraine?

Question: Do you work in Ukraine? Yes, I did work in Ukraine during my first year here, and I did so completely by the book. That is, I got my “Ч.П.”…Russian for, “Private Entrepreneurship.” I worked as both an English teacher and a guitar teacher. Although teaching guitar was the only job I’d had my whole life and the business I’d sold back in Arizona, it felt new and interesting to me teaching guitar entirely in Russian. It was also great practice for my language skills. Until then, I hadn’t learned the words for “diminished chord” or “alternate picking”! Soon, ... Read More »

Ever have any embarrassing experiences due to a cultural or language misunderstanding?

Question: Ever have any embarrassing experiences due to a cultural or language misunderstanding? Yes. Many. But here’s my favorite: When I was at having dinner at my girlfriend’s parent’s home one night, the subject came up of a photo I’d sent her recently. It was a photo of me, taken back when I’d been regularly working out with weights. In the photo, I must’ve looked fairly muscular. Dasha’s her brother in law, Sergei, asks me, “Do you get harmony from this? For working out?” Remember, he speaks Ukrainian. His Russian isn’t as good as Dasha’s. Hence the strangeness of his ... Read More »

What’s it like going shopping in Russian or Ukraine?

What’s it like going shopping in Russian or Ukraine? “Mega-malls” (as I call them) are becoming more popular in Russia these days. Moscow must have twenty such malls. Watch the video below for a fun tour of Sevastopol’s own mega-mall called Muson. For the most part, the shopping experience in Russia or Ukraine is the same as in the U.S. (though they don’t accept check here. Heck, they don’t even know what a check is.) They do accept credit cards, usually, but primarily these are still cash economies. When you think of the Soviet Union, you think of long lines ... Read More »

What is a Russian or Ukrainian apartment like?

What is a Russian or Ukrainian apartment like? WATCH my tour of a Russian apartment… Conditions of Russian apartments vary widely. If you’re in a “luxe class” (aka VIP, 1st class, Euro-remont) apartment, you’ll be very comfortable. In a “luxe” (short for ‘luxury’) apartment, the bathroom will ne nicely tiled, the kitchen well-equipped, the bed and furnishings all high quality, and so on. It’ll likely be a new building with an elevator, too. On the lower end – but still liveable – are the bulk of standard, Soviet style apartments. Everything is functional. It’s the best word I can describe ... Read More »

What are Ukrainian women like?

What are Ukrainian women like? Russian and Ukrainian women are – to me – exceptionally beautiful and feminine. I’m sure that’s partly genetic, but it’s also a result of their culture. They tend to walk much more and eat much less than their American counterparts. (Unfortunately, they also tend to smoke more, but that, too, effects their figures: Nicotine is an appetite suppressant.) But due to a shortage of eligible bachelors in Russia and Ukraine, there is strong competition among the women to attract the few remaining good men. Hence the noticeably sexier styles of dress, and great attention paid ... Read More »

Why did you decide to live in Ukraine?

Question: Why did you decide to live in Ukraine? I decided to move to Sevastopol, Ukraine so as to master the Russian language. Although located in the country of Ukraine, the city of Sevastopol is a 100% Russian speaking city, as is all of the Crimea, and pretty much all of the eastern part of the country. Sevastopol, though, is a particularly good place for studying the Russian language because there are Russians from all over living there. In Sevastopol I’ve met speakers born and raised in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Murmansk, Vladivostok and so on. They all moved to live ... Read More »

Dante’s Trip to Kiev and Vinnitsya

Name: Dante McElyea Age: mid-fifties Cities Visited: Kiev and Vinnitsya (Ukraine) Where did you go, and why? In 2012, I decided to visit two Ukrainian cities, Dnepropetrovsk and Nikopol, to meet a lady from an online dating web site. All my life I have read and heard that the most beautiful women in the world come from Ukraine. But, along with meeting that woman, another factor in going to Ukraine was just plain curiosity. Since I had been working and traveling to Germany and Holland for many years (as a contractor for the US Army), I had always wanted to ... Read More »

Why Travel to Yalta, Ukraine?

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Why Travel to Yalta, Ukraine? WHY VISIT?: Once a Black Sea playground for Russian Tsars, Yalta has turned into a summer haven for Russian and European travelers. Below is a video I shot during a trip to Yalta: HOW TO GET THERE: Yalta has no airport, so some combination of planes, trains, buses and taxis will be needed to get you there. Flying into Kiev is a must. From there, most travelers then fly to Simferopol (the capital of the Crimean peninsula). And finally, from Simferopol they take either a bus or a taxi down to Yalta. WHERE TO STAY: ... Read More »

Why Travel to St. Petersburg, Russia?

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Why Travel to St. Petersburg, Russia? WHY VISIT?: The beauty of St. Petersburg is reason enough to visit, but that it’s home to the Hermitage – a museum rivaled only by the Louvre in Paris – vaults it into Must-See status. HOW TO GET THERE: You can of course fly to St. Petersburg. But since it’s located on the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea, you can also visit on one of the many cruise lines that visit the city. (Royal Carribean, Princess, and Cunard being three of the biggest.) WHERE TO STAY: Compared to Moscow, the prices in ... Read More »

Why travel to Sevastopol Ukraine?

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Sevastopol is one of the tougher cities in Ukraine to get to, but with its amazing waterfront and dramatic scenery, it’s absolutely worth the extra effort. Below are a couple videos I shot during the summer in Sevastopol. Summer in Sevastopol Sevastopol Boardwalk HOW TO GET THERE: Although there is an airport in Sevastopol called БЕЛЬБЕК (Belbek), it’s rarely in use, so the train is your best option. Assuming you’d be flying in to Kiev, here’s what to do next: Plan to spend at least a day in Kiev. Then, head over to Kiev’s main train station to buy your ... Read More »