Just little things we’ve noticed since coming here…

-There are very few American cars. The first one we saw had a flat tire…our cars just can’t handle the beating they get over here.

-Watching women walk on 5 inch heels on these sidewalks is incredibly entertaining.

-The 70s are still alive over here…every time I see a man dress in head to toe white with pointy leather shoes I want to giggle.

-The 80s are still alive too…rat tails, acid washed jeans and rhinestones are all the rage.

-Restaurants put boxes of tissues on the tables for you to use as napkins. I’m guessing families with little kids don’t go out to eat much.

-Weddings are much different. They have their service at a gov’t office and then go around town taking pictures in front of all the important monuments and taking pictures. Most people don’t get married in church because that means you can never get divorced. If you marry with the gov’t and then later decide you want to stay with this person forever you can then go get remarried in church.

-Ice cream comes in tubes, mustard, salad dressing and yogurt come in pouches (like Capri Sun) and they only have about 10 kinds of cereal but a whole aisle of different kinds of ketchup.

-They eat pickled watermelon.

-Natural hair color is not popular here…at the very least most women have hight lights. More often it’s bleach blond or a strange red color.

-Man-purses are everywhere.

-You will easily be identifiable as an American if you wear tennis shoes or any type of cargo pants.

-They think it’s odd that we immediately remove our deceased family members from the house. They keep theirs there over night to say good bye and then go bury them.

-There’s a hot dog chain here that really needs to re-do their name…it looks like ‘crap dogs’ in English!

-There’s a reason no one uses shopping carts at the grocery store. You better only buy what you can carry because you have to carry it all the way home by hand.

-They get their money’s worth from their tires! They’re all Russian-made and poor quality so they don’t last long on these streets, but instead of just throwing them away they recycle them! They are used as planters, play ground equipment, decoration and to mark pot holes (which are common because the lids are stolen for scrap metal. They just shove a tire in sideways in the hole and you better avoid it while you’re driving!

-No one drinks just plain water; it’s always at least tea or coffee, even for little kids.

-Their bread is amazing and doesn’t have a bunch of preservatives like ours does, which means you better not buy more than you can eat in about 2 days.

-They have a national obsession with sunflower seeds. They love them! We passed huge sunflower fields on the train that must have been beautiful in summer.

-The crosswalk signs downtown show people walking, but those out by the orphanage have running people. I suppose it’s their way of warning us that we better get out of their way!

-The skinniest of women in Kiev are the ones we kept seeing eating huge ice cream cones. I want to know their secret! An ice cream diet sounds great to me. :)

-When you order a hot chocolate here you get exactly that…melted chocolate in a mug. It makes for a very rich drink!

-We’ve seen quite a few street performers here, but 2 guys in full military outfits singing and playing guitars are my favorite so far.

-We did find one American style toy store here and most of the dolls looked pretty normal, but this one was a little creepy. This is also the store where we were stalked by guards with walkie talkies as we took our purchases to the cash register. They didn’t seem to care that we had shoes with us, but the $1 hair clip was kept under lock and key and they practically escorted us to the register with it. I’m guessing hair clips are stolen a lot here?

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