This morning I flew out of Moscow, which has been my home for the last eight months. To be honest, I was ready for a change. I’m so fucking happy that I made the choice to go to Russia, I would do it again in a heartbeat. However, I had had enough.
Teaching kids is really fucking difficult. Their behavior can be so terrible, and their needs so high, that I often found myself acting more as a baby sitter than as a teacher. This whole month I’ve been counting down the days till I could leave.
Today was that day. Before departing, I had several concerns. First was the reduction in my worldly belongings. I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the last eight months, but I’ve picked up a few things along the way too. That meant that I had to get rid of almost half of my stuff. Most of it was easy, except for loosing a few pieces of clothing that I really liked.
Adapt or die, the saying goes.
My Final Preparations for the Trip
My second concern was my new backpack. The thing has more straps, buckles, and dangling pockets on it than a paratroopers survival pack. All that hardware is great for every day life, so convenient! But I was worried that along the way, some of it would get caught in a conveyor belt at the airport and my pack would be shredded like a politician’s tax return.
So this morning, I wrapped my pack in a role of pilfered scotch tape, crossed my fingers, and dropped it off at the airport.
Fast forward two hours, I’m in Kiev and there’s my bag, the same as when I dropped it off.
The Cutthroat Taxi Business at the Airport
Before I had even walked the hundred steps to the money exchange counter, I had a guy asking me if I needed a taxi (нужно такси?) I ignored him, got my money changed, and then gave my business to the second guy who asked me if I needed a taxi. He was the lucky one I suppose. I got to my hostel, checked in, found a map, chatted for a while in Russian, changed my shirt, and went to explore Kiev.
It turns out that my Hostel is located ideally downtown. I’m a three minute walk from the main square! In New York, first off a hostel could never afford to operate in such a location. Second, hypothetically if it did, it would cost $75 a night.
Kiev prices: about $15 for two nights. How amazing is that!
My First Impression of the City
I’ll give my first impressions of the city. I like it better than Moscow. That could change as I learn more, but here’s why I feel like that now.
Everyone seems to smile a little bit more. God, the soul crushing frown of Russia was starting to get to me. I’m not saying people are happy go lucky in Ukraine, but it seems that everyone’s spirits are at least mildly improved.
The city is beautiful! It seems very European, with cool architecture and a nice theme. Moscow is very nice too, but I feel like Kiev has it beat.
The food is better. I had some traditional Ukrainian food (couldn’t tell you the name to save my life) and it was like biting into god’s dinner. What a fantastic treat! You can be sure I’ll be going back tomorrow.
Those are my three impressions for the day. Tomorrow I’ll walk around more, go visit some parks, find out what the Metro is like, and try to get a data plan for my phone.
I’ll leave you with some pictures from today. I actually came at a perfect time. The weather is outstanding and it happens to be Kiev day! The main road was closed off, flags were everywhere, and people were having a blast. Kiev couldn’t have possibly have made a better impression on me if it tried.
It’s 7:20 In Kiev
So Many Candles, I Couldn’t Tell What the Shape Was Though
There Were a Bunch of Kids Playing in this Cool Fountain
Some Pictures from the Recent War
That Star, and All It Represents