When we first arrived at post, quite a few of my husband’s colleagues would refer back to their first post with such fondness. I can completely understand that now in retrospect. We lucked out with Kyiv as our first post, and I will always be fond of the beautiful city.
Our neighborhood had such a great feel – children played in the parks, families walking around. Our local coffee vendors knew our order and left water bowls outside for dogs. One time I walked past a local coffee shop, and the owner flagged me down to return our dog’s tag that I didn’t realize was missing, but fell off a day or two prior.
The people of Kyiv also impressed me with their incredible work ethic and attention to detail. They were so polite, genuine, and helpful. My Russian tutor was one of those people, who would step in to quickly help with a reference of where to go, recipes, and advice on general cultural norms. Plus she gave me the best birthday gift- an oil pastel she drew of our dogs..
Another great thing about Kyiv was the convenience of so many things and the low cost of living. From Uber to Metro to the Tram, there were a ton of inexpensive and convenient ways to get around. iBoxes around the city were easy ways to pay for internet and cell phone. Glovo and Zakaz were easy ways to get food delivered.
My husband also made a great group of friends, a mix of expats and locals, at a local park where we took our dogs. They included us in many activities, such as hikes, snow sledding, and a birthday party. Their send off to us was a tree planting ceremony at the park, where they planted two trees and named them after us.
Finally, I have to say the fellow EFMs and colleagues of my husband and I were supportive and always there for us with answers to any questions or needs. Even through COVID, our amazing CLO office scheduled virtual events and did their best to keep the community engaged. I heard that if you stay in the foreign service long enough, you will run into each other again, and I sincerely hope so.
Until we meet again, Kyiv. You will always have a special place in my heart.