Written on November 3, 2007
I am now in Kyiv since last Monday. I came for some tringing in financial management and disbursements. Perhaps not the most exciting topic in my opinion, but very useful for future work.
Being back is nice. I think that the first time I was here, the city was a little overwhelming for me. I am after all a small-town girl now after more than a year in Chisinau! But this time, I have had more opportunities to look at the actual city, and though the whether has been terrible most of the time that I have been here, I find the city really beautiful. It is strange that this large country is so unknown for us in Western Europe. Around the year 1000, Kyiv was actually the second largest city in Europe in terms of population only after Paris. And in terms of size, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe after Russia. And yet, it has been quite isolated in terms of the spread of culture, and probably much more influenced by other countries and especially Russia. However, just like with Moldova, it is nice to come here and discover a new country with a different culture, tradition and habits, and especially one which has some pieces of its history in common not only with its neighbour Moldova but also with Sweden. It is like adding another piece to the European puzzle of how we all are connected.
Also this time have my colleagues invited me to their places for dinners and taken me out in the city over the weekend. I hope I pick up these habits! (Though I guess I have to learn to cook first before inviting colleagues over for dinners…)
I also get to practice Russian here. My Russian teacher Natalia would be proud to know that I had my first conversation in Russian with a taxi driver here the other day. It wasn’t a very complicated conversation. We spoke about the where I was from, that I was in Kyiv for work, that I normally work in Chisinau and that the whether was really lousy. Of course, my Russian is still not good enough for me to tell Natalia this story!