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Holly Friesen on January 14, 2010

For those of you who want to know what it is like & how it is different.....

These crosswalk...er, run signs crack me up! The drivers don't watch out for pedestrians, so if you want to make it across the road alive you had better be alert & move fast!

I will be using public transportation initially. There are buses, taxi's, and a tram. I am working on learning the system so that I can take the right bus or tram and remember where I want to get off. I think it will be awhile before I am ready to try to explain to a taxi driver where I want to go. I have a feeling I will be doing alot of walking! The good thing is, all the missionaries and my Russian tutor live within about a 4 mi. radius.

It has been unusually warm since I arrived which is good...except for all the mud it creates. I am told this is only a taste of what it is like in the spring.

 Behind the mud is a private ambulance shed. The vast majority of people here in Odessa live in apartment complexes like the ones you see behind the shed. I will be living in the Suko's apartment initially while they are on furlough and will be looking for an apartment of my own to move into before they return in July.

We have McDonad's! It is the only western resteraunt that I am aware of in Odessa. It is a good place to get coffee, ice cream, and wi-fi. I was told the burgers aren't the greatest though.

Other tidbits...

I am learning Russian & that is what most people speak here, but Ukrainian is the national language so many signs and labels are in Ukrainian. There are some similiarities between the languages but they are enough different that it makes shopping even more of a challenge. I like the packages with pictures!

Speaking of shopping - you either have to buy your bag or bring your own. That is one way to encourage recycling!

Shop keepers in the market are not pushy like I experienced in South America and most of them have the prices marked. When I was shopping for a coat & boots some of the shop keepers practically ignored us. Once you engage them in conversation however, most of them are quite friendly.  I bought a pair of gloves and when the "babushka" who sold them to me felt my hands she made me put them on right away!