Monday, June 16, 2008

Nice Ukrainians...

So I've lived in Ukraine for almost 4 years now (startling really) and one thing I have come to learn is that Ukrainians are typically NOT very nice in public, but very nice once you get to known them and are welcomed into their homes and lives. The irony is I've probably experienced some of the best hospitality in my life through living here, as people tend to give generously out of the little that they have and make you feel like royalty if ever invited to a meal, or even just to tea. But on the other hand, in public (namely on transportation) I have probably experienced some of the worst treatment in my life through living in this country. From the elbow jabs, to the stern faces and evil glares, to the just plain rudeness, the public persona of this country can leave much to be desired.
However, after that little introduction, I have to say that this weekend I was given a new perspective, a glimpse at how there actually are "nice Ukrainians" in public when a young mother is perceived! For the past 3 days I was that young mother! My dear friends Kelly and Tyler left for a weekend to visit some friends in Russia and left me with two of their 3 children, Hannah (5) and Joshua (almost 3).

So I got to experience what it is like to carry two small children and a stroller throughout the streets and public transportation systems of Kiev, and boy let me tell you that I gained a new level of respect for all those Kievian mamas out there! Now I know how they stay so skinny!!

With sweet little Joshua watching elephants at the zoo!

So anyway, I had this revelation over weekend that Ukrainians are actually quite friendly, helpful and downright NICE when a young woman is trying to maneuver a 5 year-old in one hand, an almost 3 year-old in her arms and a stroller strung around her shoulder all the while trying to walk up a flight of stairs and then board the almost moving tram in 85 degree heat! I was shocked as numerous men and women would offer to carry the stroller, carry little Joshua or let me off and on the trains and trams first and without pushing and shoving. Maybe you are thinking, "well that's the way it should be"-- and believe me, I agree, but after my years of living here, this little weekend made me very appreciative that the not so nice Ukrainians can be very nice...when they need to be!


Hannah enjoying some cotton candy at the zoo!

5 comments:

Tyler and Kelly said...

What cute kids!!! =) We sure thank you Karen!! I'm sure we haven't stopped hearing...'guess what we did with Miss Karen?' You are loved!! Anytime you need more transportation kindness...you are welcome to borrow one!

Heidi & Felix said...

Sounds like a fun weekend with the kids!!! Your observation about Ukrainians in public vs. private was exactly what we experienced living in Puerto Rico!! Very kind and generous at home/in private - but bulldogs in public.

SET said...

I'm proud of you K! Wow, three kiddos to yourself!

Monique said...

You sound like you had a fun weekend!! Thank you for sharing some photos of you and the kids :)

ukrainiac said...

It's good to know that those folks are out there!