We thought it might be fun to include a little “human interest” blog of things we see and do in Kharkov which have become just our way of life here. Life is simpler here than in the U.S., and it’s really quite nice.
Fall has been beautiful here this year and much warmer than last year. We rustle through these leaves each day as we leave our apartment to walk to an appointment.
These buildings are called the blocks and are everywhere. During the Soviet era the people were encouraged to leave the countryside and come to the city and live in these huge apartment buildings. The apartments in them are very small and usually house a couple of families.
Since most people don't have cars, most of the traveling from place to place is done by the Metro (subway) and these small buses called marshrutkas. Sometimes people are jammed into them like sardines.
The tram bus or electric bus is also highly used, plus a tram on rails. At rush hour these are highly packed, too.
Every city has its resident pigeons. We always think of the song Feed the Birds in Mary Poppins when we see them. This is in front of the train station.
Many times we see people playing music on these steps leading down to the Metro. Others sing with their guitars or play flutes on the Metro cars. They are all trying to make some extra money using their talents.
One day we saw some of the grand old minds of the city playing chess in one of the areas in the Metro.
Around the city we see lots of the babushkas in their typical scarves and attire, and then we see the other extreme of fashion on the young looking like they belong on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
This is the building which the church purchased and remodeled for the Central Branch in the city. This is where all the Institute activities take place, plus teacher training and other branch and missionary activities.
This is the grocery store called Billa where we do most of our shopping. It's similar to our super markets in America.
Across the street from Billa we buy all of our fresh vegetables and fruits at an open-air market. The produce here is the best we have ever seen. This outdoor market operates most of the year except when the temperatures get way below freezing. We have a favorite vendor here named Meggie.
In our apartment we are so thankful to have a little washing machine which actually gets things very clean. Eight years ago hardly anyone had a washing machine.
And we're thankful to have it even through it is squeezed into the bathroom. There is no passing lane in the bathroom. The commode is in a little room about three feet by four feet, but all the plumbing works. We've become so thankful for such little things in our lives. Last week a new section of blacktop was poured on the walk leading to our apartment, and we were so thankful for this new walk. Before we called it the alligator pond where one could break an ankle in one of the holes.
This is our dryer - a rack and two fans set up in the living room. The towels are pretty stiff, but they make good back scratchers.