Things I love about Ukraine…. and things I love less

1.       The appreciation shown for extremely random and therefore excellent music. I’m not even talking just about my beloved Eastern European pop (exhibit one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBdCSFm-G0E) but also stuff from much further afield! Today I was delighted to hear my favourite French Canadian singer Coeur de Pirate on the radio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL_EdIfr24U 
2.       The abundance of Georgian food. Khachapuri is perhaps my favourite thing in life. Definitely did not eat a whole one after church on Sunday.   
Amazing cheesy goodness.
3.       The general cheapness of living. I shocked my class today when I said that one journey in Zone 1 on the Tube costs £2.10 (26,4 Ukrainian Hryvna) when one tram journey here in Odessa costs 1,5 Hryvna. Sometimes I go crazy and take a bus AND a tram. 
      

      Food is super cheap, and also very tasty. It would be rude (or indeed churlish, as my father would say) not to take advantage of this fact.  Plus, who can say no to cheap Moldovan wine…

4.       Crazy but awesome students. Some of them are too cute for words, some make entirely unintentional hilarious comments, some bring champagne to class (win) and SOME of them even seem to be genuinely interested in English! Shock horror. They give me the confidence to look ridiculous (dance moves should always form part of an English lesson surely) and not give a damn…. for this I will be forever grateful. 
5.       The people I have been blessed enough to meet. At school, at church, on the tram, in cafés, on the street- people are great! Particular mention must go to Erinn who is my companion on the foodie tour of Odessa. You are insane.  
      When I left church on Sunday I felt about as joyful as I can remember feeling in a long time. Before I started going to church I used to think this whole idea of a ‘Church family’ was a ridiculous lie. How wrong can you get? I literally wanted to dance down the street.

Coming from a church as big as Hillsong Paris, I was a little apprehensive about what a much smaller church would be like. Oh my. So much love for the people there. And adorable letters.  
And awesome worship in 3 languages (English, Russian and Ukrainian)- what’s not to love?
6.       Snatches of beauty 

7.       Not being presumed foreign. I like the fact that people ask me for directions etc on the street. Of course their illusion is soon shattered when I respond with what could be translated as “I so sorry, I no speak good Russian”, but I like the idea nonetheless.
Things I like less:
1.       Pavement/ lack of it. Never again will I complain about potholes or the state of the pavement in the UK. When we had rain here there was just mud… everywhere. Where did it even come from?
2.       People who check receipts at the exits of supermarkets. Why? This would possibly be okay, except sometimes they don’t want to see your receipt and get annoyed if you show it to them. How are we supposed to know?!
3.       People spitting on the street. Ewww.
However, you can be made to feel better about almost any problem with the help of a (very reasonably priced) beer.
All in all, life is good.
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