Sunday, September 15, 2013

Surviving the first week

One week has gone by so quickly and I am still alive.  It's hard to believe that after all the visa hassles I finally made it to Kiev.  My apartment is quite nice, spacious if a little dark because of all the trees outside blocking the sunlight.  And brown walls, brown carpet, brown furniture doesn't help brighten it up.  I do have a green chandelier though.  The apartment is very reminiscent of the Soviet era.
At school I was thrown straight into the deep end with three PYP information evenings
three nights in a row.  That was the easy part.  Walking to and from school has been a challenge.  Especially in the rain.  After the first night walking home, I started cheating and taking a taxi home.  A full day's work and all you want to do is put your feet up and relax, you definitely need to get home as quickly as possible.  As a person who's walking has been limited to a day spent browsing shops at a mall, I have had to dig deep for my morning walk but the fresh air is quite enjoyable.  Or so I keep telling myself.  It is only a 30-40 minute walk though.  I can do it.
Not to many people speak English here, or if they do they are too embarrassed to try.  Haggling with the toothless old vegetable sellers who frequent the entrance to the metro is an interesting if entertaining experience.  Lots of grunts and gestures.
The bakery across from the school sells the most divine bread and pastries.  To date I have been good and avoided the pastries.  The school lunches are interesting at best and very Ukrainian.  I've had a delicious borscht and some other strange things that I was unable to identify.  Some tasted good, others okay and the long green things impersonating green beans but which tasted like fresh seaweed, I just could not do.  My taste buds huddle up and start shivering at the thought.
Being alone is well, lonely.  To come home to an empty apartment is not nice and I really miss my kids and family, especially Siobhan who was always a loud presence.  I find I talk to myself quite a lot and even start discussions about what I should eat for dinner.  The problem is that I have now started answering myself.  I wonder what I'll be like after a few months?
As I can't get the TV working (I need to get the landlord in anyway as the door to my little balcony where the clothes drying rack resides is jammed and doesn't open) I have been watching the TV series and movies I had saved on my hard drive.  Movies and series I had been saving up for just a time like this.  At least my internet works now.
It seems that walking is the norm here, and I looked up on Google maps and found a little supermarket about 1km from where I live.  The range of salamis and smoked meats and cheeses is extraordinary.  However, I did not find Gladwrap, tin foil or toilet paper.  The toilet paper that seems to be used here is definitely recycled paper and resembles the roll of paper that goes into the supermarket till machines.  It is rough and hard on your bum.  I was hoping to find some nice soft 2-ply but to no avail.  I haven't given up yet.  The meat looks fresh and good but what type it is is a mystery.  I think I bought some pork chops, beef mince yesterday, but the red steak/stew meat I have no idea.  It looks a little red to be beef...
Friday night, stopped off at a little bar/restaurant on the way home with some colleagues and had a very large pint of draught apple cider that was delicious and refreshing.  Yesterday there was a beerfest in town, but with rugby on and the rain pelting down, I decided to rather find the supermarket in between showers, and buy some washing powder to do some much-needed washing.  Two weeks worth as I had a pile from the week I was holed up in a hotel in Pretoria waiting for my visa.
Of course I have nowhere to dry the washing, so my clothes are spread out on the furniture in the lounge.  Apparently the central heating is switched on by the government mid-October regardless of the temperature, and it stays on until about April next year.  You can't adjust the settings and temperature, and while it is minus temperatures outside people walk around in shorts and t-shirts inside their apartments.  I suppose when that happens my washing will dry quite quickly.  I found an iron in the cupboard so guess I might have to finally learn how to iron.  Something I have managed to avoid my entire life so far.
Well I guess it's time for me to use some of that heavenly bread I bought and make myself some breakfast.  I want to do some writing today.  My goal for yesterday was watch rugby, find a supermarket and do my laundry.  I reached all targets.  Today's goal is to write my blog, pack away my hopefully dried clothes, do some school work and work on Hush Baby.  Sundays will definitely have to be writing days as there is no time during the week and when I get home I just want to chill.
Have a great week ahead!

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