Writing a quick entry to let you know how we are doing in Ukraine. Everything is pretty good! There are some major cultural differences between here and Amsterdam and I think that is just part of the experience of living in both eastern and western Europe – they are different! Here in Kyiv, from the people (lots of beggars and drunks), to fashion (lots of stilettos and acid wash) to the food (lots of “American” attempts #fail) to the architecture (lots of beautiful churches and then crumbling streets), it is a bit of a culture shock. It takes some getting used to it. Jaro and I spent the weekend exploring all over the city so the I could get to know my way around. Now that he is at work, I feel very comfortable on my own with our immediate surroundings. Key word: immediate. However, I do have a map and know how to use it. When Jaro was here in August, he found us an apartment off the main shopping stretch- Kreschatik. All the major designers have stores here. It is a bustling and very dangerous part of the city. Dangerous because of all the shops, of course. Thank you, Jaro, for finding something where I feel right at home! The apartment itself is very nice, completely renovated, clean and new. From the stairwell, you would never know… It looks like the stairway to hell. Like a war zone. Like the type that would inspire a horror movie. Also, the apartment across from us has a padded leather door, I’m pretty sure a mad scientist lives there. And yes, you can hear the political protests from our balcony. A man sits on a stage with a microphone and shouts. All. Day. Every. Day. Ahh, city livin’. I am having difficulty with the language, since it is a different alphabet. This was expected. Reading streets signs and menus is hard (okay, impossible), but some things have English translation which obviously helps a lot. Of course, I can read price tags so that gets me by! Jaro taught me some basic Ukrainian phrases over the weekend and we will keep working on building that. What makes it frustrating is the lack of Ukrainian spoken here – everyone speaks Russian. Poor Jaro tries to communicate with people and it’s a struggle. But, his Russian will get better (even though he really doesn’t want to resort to it), which will make things easier for us. So far so good with food. We’ve had a few misses (several “um… Let’s not finish that”), but overall we have eaten at nice restaurants. I will post more soon about things we have done and seen here. Again, once we get our computer I’ll be able to start sharing pictures via Flickr or Facebook. Thanks for reading!