After seven months of living in Ukraine, I can barely remember my life in Canada. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Part of the reason may be because I’m living my best life now, as if whatever happened before – besides notable events with family and friends – doesn’t matter now. It’s also because I’m starting to forget the Canadian lifestyle, which seems so much quicker and more intense than the pace in Ukraine.
This became especially evident while living in Chernivtsi for seven weeks. I heard Bukovynian people were among the most hospitable and kindest in Ukraine, and I experienced it myself within my first week in this western part. Someone from the dance ensemble I trained with invited my Canadian friends and I to her family home for the Feast of Epiphany. The next week we went to another new friend’s birthday party, celebrating with his closest family and friends.
The kind nature of people in Chernivtsi could be because of its population and size. Inhabitants number approximately 266,000 – nearly three times smaller than Lviv, and it’s a compact city. It’s also less of a tourist spot than other Ukrainian metropolises I’ve lived in, so the true character of the city shines through.
Various nations have occupied and ruled Chernivtsi, and people of different backgrounds, including Polish, German, Armenian, and Moldavian, to name a few, live there today. Locals told me that it’s because of Chernivtsi’s history they think it a tolerant city, and that people are accepting of different nationalities. But as one person said, it’s important to be kind to all since you never know when or how relations with others can change.
Multiculturalism is evident on the streets of Chernivtsi – along Kobylianska, the pedestrian street, the city’s name is written in several different languages. Plus, other countries have influence over Chernivtsi’s culture since they are close to the city – in just 60 km, you can get to Romania or Moldova.
People in Chernivtsi seem easygoing, remembering to take time for themselves, like sitting at a café to meet with friends, rather than taking a coffee to go as they head to their next meeting. I also noticed this easygoing attitude at a couple of malls. It would be midday, and some people were just opening up their shops while others were closing down for the day. But it’s not that they aren’t hard workers – people I talked to said they worked up to six jobs to support themselves and their families.
My time in Chernivtsi reminded me to allow for changes in my schedule. It’s like what a friend told me when I first moved to Ukraine – time floats here. You’re never early and you’re never late. You are always on time. While living in Ukraine, I’ve adapted lifestyle habits I hope to keep up when I return home, and I challenge you to take note from Bukovynian people: be flexible with your schedule, take time for yourself, and be kind.
It’s no secret that Kyiv is in need of urbanisation. The existing system of payment for things like city transportation is out-of-date and has many disadvantages. This is something that our Verkhovna Rada has also acknowledged and on 17 January 2017, a law covering the introduction of electronic tickets for public transport was adopted. The […]
Fog Lavender is the third album from Kyiv-based music project Blooms Corda. Their debut, Monodance was released in 2015, with follow-up Gigotosia (meaning ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’) dropping in 2016. In what has become tradition for the group, they first present their new music in live format, then post tracks […]
Looking for a traditional gift to wow your friends back home? We have something that will knock their socks off – and you’ll have just the gift to replace them! Just in time for that bone-chilling Ukrainian winter season, why not pick up a pair of Carpathian wool socks? Featuring traditional designs and wonderful, warm […]
Superstitions – in and of themselves – are not inherently bad. They can give a culture a layered richness that defines it as unique from all others. However, not all superstitions are cute or quirky. In Ukraine, perhaps the most annoying are the Soviet-era health myths. Go ahead – ask your Ukrainian friends how they […]