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was 12, and I cannot imagine taking a bridal photo tour of New York. Why not? I adore New York as much as Kyivites love Kyiv. But those bridal photographs in front of the Opera House are more than just pretty pictures; they betray a patriotic pride, ownership and appreciation of these treasured Ukrainian landmarks. Ukrainians also take advantage of their parks and public spaces all the time, not just on special occasions, like Americans would. On my way to work, I see people of all ages sitting quietly on park benches, having a morning chat or, for the less ambitious, a morning beer. Perhaps we Westerners have become a bit desensitized to such things, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. The last “quirk” I’ll point out is the tangle of superstitions that presides over everyday life here. There so many superstitions that I’ve become convinced that I’m always unknowingly courting misfortune. Only whistle indoors if you want to be divested of all your money. Resting your purse down on the floor during dinner? Unacceptable (and most Ukrainian restaurants have tiny, pursesized stools to prevent this). Cracking the window in a moving car? Better not, no matter how hot it is, because you might catch an ill-wind. Thinking about sitting on a stone bench while pregnant? Think again (and any passing babushka will grab your arm and make you stand up, as my pregnant friends will attest). It’s such a privilege (and a pleasure) to explore a new culture, particularly one that injects such beauty into the mundane. We were all brought up to see things a certain way, but being an expat challenges all our preconceptions. I probably won’t be able to resist opening the windows in a moving car next summer, but I’m way more likely to spend time in my local park. Yohanca Delgado

Cheeky Political what-ifs, the ongoing vote count, and food-related orgasms... It’s all in the Tweets of the Week!

Taras Kyiv (@Ukroblogger) has an idea: Ukraine’s ex-PM Lazarenko back in US jail - until court decides whether to deport him or let him stay. Why not let him run for US president? Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro RT) is talking vote count: Yet the biggest sensation of this #ukrvote is triumph of right-wing radicals. 20% in Kiev is a truly astonishing result Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) Vote counting in remaining constituencies in Ukraine election looks increasingly murky. This risks tainting the process even more Taters (@jmtaters) derives way too much enjoyment from food: How many chicken Kiev balls does it take to make an orgasm? Wait. No. How many chicken Kiev balls does it take to make MULTIPLE orgasms? Dear Larry, Two friends and I are visiting Ukraine. We went out last night and met three lovely ladies at a nightclub in Arena. After a few hours of dancing and drinking, we invited them over to our place. The rest is a blank – we woke up this morning with empty pockets. Everything was gone! Are all Ukrainian ladies like this? Swindled and Sad Dear Swindled and Sad, Well, Swindled and Sad, I’m not going to pass judgement, but it sounds like you probably came to Kyiv in hopes of meeting some sexy ladies. And so you did. Obviously, not all Ukrainian ladies are like this, not in the least. But when you drunkenly set out looking for an easy lay, know that there’s an equal and opposite reaction: con artists looking for an easy target. I guess last night’s bull’s eye was on you. Better Luck Next Time, Larry

Brand New Art

With the 7th Art Kyiv Contemporary underway at Mystetskyi Arsenal and Pinchuk Art Centre’s Future Generation Art Prize Exhibition going strong, Kyiv is chock full of awesome modern art. Don’t miss it!


Great décor, courteous service, and a dizzying menu of Ukrainian classics- Pervak is a great place to take first-time visitors to Ukraine.


As the temperatures drop, it’s nice to seek shelter in Kyiv’s extensive underpasses. You can find anything you might need, from flowers to waffles and hats –all while taking a little refuge from the biting cold.

Unscrupulous Taxi Drivers

We can live with the modest “foreigner” tax that taxi drivers in developing countries tend to charge. What is not OK is trying to charge 100hrv for a five-block ride. That’s how you convince people to take the metro instead.

Post-Election Friction

What’s Not


’m Yohanca Delgado and I’m squatting in Neil’s cosy corner of the magazine for the week—and I’m definitely making myself at home, though I am stopping short of decorating it with flowers and pictures of puppies... As a disillusioned electoral hangover sets in, Kyiv is in a bit of a funk. The weather’s grim; evening starts at approximately 9 AM...everything is just a little dreary around the edges. Luckily, I had a little company this past weekend to cheer me up. I had an American friend come to visit from London and showing her around reminded me how unique Ukraine really is. What other city in the world has whimsical statues all over it? Hedgehogs, Pinocchio, a Degas-style ballerina... and that’s before you even get to Fashion Park, with its technicolor peeing boys and gorgeously tiled Alice and Wonderland slides. My friend jokingly suggested that Ukraine set up direct flights to Brooklyn, because it’s such a perfect place for New York hipsters. If you’re not familiar with the term, hipsters are a special breed of horn-rimmed-glasses-wearers who adore all things quirky and offbeat. They like things a bit rough around the edges and unique. Needless to say, Ukraine would win over even the surliest hipster with its effortless fancy. In fact, after Ukrainians, hipsters are the second most frequent patrons in Little Ukraine, a cluster of Ukrainian-owned restaurants and businesses on the Lower East Side. But Ukraine’s idiosyncrasies are not only aesthetic. We happened to explore Fashion Park on a Saturday and my friend was pleasantly surprised to see all the beaming brides getting their picture taken there. As I explained that this was a regular occurrence, it occurred to me that Ukrainians appreciate and take advantage of their landmarks and parks in a way that Americans and Western Europeans do not. As a native New Yorker, I am ashamed to admit that I have not visited the Statue of Liberty since I

What’s Hot

Provocations and Observations

As the election numbers roll in, international observers are weighing in, mostly negatively, about the authenticity of 28 October’s parliamentary vote. How will this affect Ukraine’s geopolitical and economic standing in the coming months?

November Rain

Not the Guns ‘n’ Roses song, which is fantastic, but the current weather. Everywhere we go, we’re carrying umbrellas at the hip like holstered weapons – you never know when the next drizzle will start.

If you have a question about life, work or relationships in Kyiv please write to

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What's On Issue 41 2012  

The Scottish/American foursome Garbage come to Kyiv this week, we dive into Plast - a Ukrainian scouting organsiation that has been around f...

What's On Issue 41 2012  

The Scottish/American foursome Garbage come to Kyiv this week, we dive into Plast - a Ukrainian scouting organsiation that has been around f...