I just wanted to take a quick moment and let everyone know how things are going in Ukraine. I just wrapped up a few days in Kiev on my way to work in Europe. It was a good trip that went off pretty well. With the current state of affairs on the news about Ukraine, I can imagine that there is some concern for a few people about taking a trip over. I want everyone to know that there is no concern at all about being there, especially if your trip is taking you to Kiev or the western part of the country.
I had booked my ticket over, round trip, on a last minute booking for just under $1,000. Had I of booked it a little more in advance, I could have gone over, round trip for around $800. When I did my apartment search, I was really pleasantly surprised at the availability and prices. I settled on one that was about 50m from St Micheal’s, at the top of the hill from Independence Square. The price was $36/night, and the location was fantastic. One thing I noted on this trip, was that some of the apartment brokers, are advertising a place as being close the the central area, but then when you read the fine print, they say they have several in the area that you could end up with. Some are not right in the central area, so make sure you have a specific location that you are happy with.
I’d arrived in the morning on my flight, then caught an unmarked/unofficial taxi for 200 UAH. The first guy wanted 260, but the next was ok with 200. The going rate seems to be 200-250. I arrived at my place and the agent met me there with the key. My only complaint was, there was not a stand up shower, something I really recommend. Many places will have the euro-hand held shower. (When I checked out, they were installing one since I’d mentioned it to them). I had bought some credits for my sim card at the airport, so I topped off my phone and sent a text to my girl. (I arrived at Terminal D, and they had sim cards for sale, in addition to top ups.. So you can buy one there on arrival for your unlocked phone. It’s up on the third floor in a magazine shop. They are charging an additional $1 or so for it. The lady speaks English and can help you get it in your phone and get you started).
So I sent my girl a text and we made arrangements for her to come meet me. No, I haven’t met her yet in person, but we had been Skyping for a long time with each other, and were very comfortable in who each of us were at the this point. We agreed to meet outside my building, and went for a walk to have something to eat and a drink.
One thing I noticed with this trip, was that even though we had Skyped for a long time, and were very comfortable with each other, there were still huge struggles with communication and cultural understandings. Which brings up the point that we have tried to make sure people understand. Pursuing this kind of relationship had great rewards, but also huge challenges in the beginning, that you need to be prepared for. Seeking the right fit, and then being extremely patient at the beginning cannot be over stressed. It’s not as easy as thinking, I want a beautiful Eastern European girl who treats me well, so I’ll just go get one. The have wants and expectations, just like an American girl, and will expect things from you that you may not be used to with an American girl.
Being “The Man”, as Scott has posted about many times, has a lot of nuances that you should be prepared for. Like how to romance them in the beginning. Some of the things I though were petty, (since an independent American girl would do some things without thinking), these girls wanted me to do. Like being attentive to their wine glass. One of their complaints about their men is.. They are extremely attentive in the beginning (which is what they will want from you), but then their men don’t do that later (which they will want you to do). Be aware of the fact that women are women, and will always want certain things from their men. Don’t think that an eastern girl will expect less from you. She will just want different things than an American girl may want. If you’re familiar with the idea of different love languages, they speak a different love language than the average western girl. Taking the time to understand how they understand you care and how they show they care is important. For example, I found that they give words of affection easily, but don’t always mean it. So talk is cheap in their culture.
So take your time and do your research and preparation wisely. All of this begins with one of several trips over. Plan on a couple of trips to meet the right girl, then a couple of trip to spend as much time with her as possible. Learn the subtle nuances of dating and romance the way SHE understands it, so that you are talking as close to the same romance language as possible. The peacocks over there puff up their feathers differently.
So back to the trip report and Kiev…
Kiev itself in the central areas around Independence Square looks rough. If I hadn’t seen it before all of the protests, I would have thought I’d walked into a bad place. It looks rough, but the atmosphere is really good. The locals are still occupying it in tents, and it’s become a little touristy with people getting photos in front of the damage from the protests. One of the main buildings is burnt out, the stones from the streets have been torn up to use as barricades, and it looks a bit like a war zone, but it’s anything but.
Your presence there as a foreigner is really welcome. They want people to see and understand what is going on there. They welcome your presence, and want you there, so don’t let the current events keep you away from the Kiev or the western part of the country. Have beer with people, leave donation money for the occupiers to buy food and heat, and don’t be afraid to be out. I don’t know what to say about the East or Odessa at the moment. I’m sure it’s the same, but a bit more of a risk, since there is an active separatist movement going, which is being fueled by the Russians. The Ukrainians I talked to, have said the media is over dramatizing the events on TV. So take it with a small grain of salt.
What does this mean for you?? If you want to travel, you are not competing with as many guys there for girls, apartments, or travel. The exchange rate is really good, and the weather is getting really nice. The girls will want to walk around with you and talk about what is going on. It’s a great time to travel. I actually spent more time in my apartment cooking for my girl and drinking wine with her there. Any woman here will tell you how sexy it is for a man to cook for them. Just getting some simple things from the local market to make them will go a LONG way in showing what kind of guy you are. I highly recommend this approach, but it’s one you will do with someone you know better. In the beginning, they will want to meet you out, as they like to appear to be a good girl, and not just go to a strange man’s apartment.
Good luck, and I recommend just jumping in and learning to swim..
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