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Times are changing, but traditions remain the same. I have always found Ukrainians to be friendly and polite. Several times when I arrived in Ukraine, I was greeted by friends carrying bread and salt on a traditional Ukrainian cloth embroidered in red and black. I also saw this at weddings as well. My friends told me that welcoming new couples or friends with bread and salt shows that even if a home only has bread and salt to offer, the person will always be welcome. Ukrainians are beautiful people and are overly generous with everything they have. Even if they don't have anything, they will find a way to prepare a feast for you in their home. I will always remember appreciative people giving me gifts of sunflower seeds, paper cards they had made, stickers, just anything to remember them by when I was going away. I think Ukrainians are wonderful and have huge hearts. They adopted me as their own and now I have not one, but three Ukrainian families. Ukraine is known as "the Motherland" and I will always be greatful that she accepted me as her own with open arms.
Written Jul 7, 2005
Just stand by the side of the road and stick out your arm. Private cars will stop and the driver will ask where you want to go. If he is going that direction, he'll tell you to go ahead and get in and then take you where you need to go. I often did this when I was in Kiev and never had any problems with it. Just one time my friend and I were out well past midnight and got picked up by two men in a BMW with black tinted windows. They were very polite and dropped us off where we need to go and never charged a kopeck. The only problem was the creeped out part because they kept telling us we should join them at their private dacha in the nearby forest to enjoy the sauna and who knows what else. Luckily my friend is Ukrainian, so she did all the talking and I just sat there agreeing with her, "Da, da, konyeshna."
Written Jul 7, 2005