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Kiev capital city of Ukraine

In July 2007 I set out on a journey to the capital city of Ukraine Kiev, there I was to study at a Russian language school. Also I was to stay with a Russian family, this I hoped would give me greater knowledge or of the Russian culture in Ukraine. I have previously been five times to Ukraine but never found that I was learning Russian enough, this was because the people that I met and stayed with all spoke English and as a consequence they all wanted to practise with me. On many occasions the religious sect the Mormons would also come to visit and talk with me in English.this was my reasoning behind studying at a language school and living with a native Russian speaking family. Arriving at Kiev airport where I was met by one of the school representatives who took me to meet the family I was staying with however, as it turned out I was staying with a single woman  around 30 to 35 years old. You may think this could be a good thing single lady and me however, this was not the case and we just got along okay.

After visiting the school the next morning to find out about the course and where is was to be held, I was informed that it was at another building within the city some 2 km away but on the same road. This meant that I was going to need to master the metro system in Kiev this was one of the first things that challenge me, as everything is written in Ukrainian and very few people understand English. Adding to this dilemma is the fact that Ukraine has a completely different alphabet lucky for me I had a guidebook the Bradt travel guide of Ukraine. I recommend that if you are thinking of going to Ukraine then this is a must have guide.Having a few days before lessons started I was able to explore the city via the metro network, this is a great way of getting around the city without too much difficulty, if you use the guidebook that I recommended. Contained within the guide book there are street maps and where to go for such thing as parks, museums restaurants.

Armed with this guidebook I am setting off for a new adventure of discovery in the city of Kiev. In the summer Kiev whether is wonderfully warm sometimes to warn around 40C too hot to be out walking the streets however, walking around the parks and gardens it is a much better option, where the temperature is a lot cooler and if you're lucky you may see a red squirrel darting among the trees. I was lucky to see two red squirrels but they were not going to let me take any photograph of them.nevertheless on a previous visit to Ukraine in the city of Kharkiv I did indeed see and hand feed red squirrels with peanuts, some of you may think why am I getting excited about the red squirrel but, in England these are very rare to see and the last time I saw a red squirrel in England I was 16 years old and living in the county of Suffolk 34 years ago.


After spending three days exploring Kiev before my Russian lessons started and finding my way around the metro system I was able to find the new location where I was to be taught to improve my Russian.these lessons were taken in a small group of six students all from different countries, it was also lucky that the common language was English which helped me out no end. As I mentioned previously that the temperature in summer can climb very high it made learning that much more difficult being so hot even with a fan however, I did manage to pick up a great deal more of the Russian language and correct my pronunciation together with improving my spoken language. Also from this visit to Kiev the Russian language school introduced me to a young Lady Yuliya who wanted to practise her English spoken word and I could also practise some of my Russian.Our first meeting took place in a metro station this seems to be where everyone seems to meet each other, great feature of the metro system is that your mobile phone works all the time lucky that Yuliya and I both have mobile phones. Yuliya took me to see the open-air folk Museum which was outside of the city were needed to go to the last stop on the metro station and take a bus, I'm glad to say that Yuliya new her way and all the connections. The folk Museum I must say was one of the best museums I've ever seen, the Ukrainians have taken all the old buildings around their country and place them in this massive park.If you loved history like me this is a must see place, with this visit we were lucky to have an exhibition of traditional metalworking methods used throughout the ages by Smith's. There was one thing that I noticed that the children were getting involved in making full use of the metal forge, something that you would not be able to do in England.

Yuliya and I went to see a open-air rock concert that had been arranged by the Russian Orthodox Church, this was to be held just outside the historic religious centre of the Lavra. Again I was to meet Yuliya outside the lavra this you may think was not too difficult however, I think that yuliya was testing me because yet again it meant another trip on the metro and changing Metro lines also, this was a real test of my Russian because as I've said before nothing is written in English even the way out signs directions to other metro lines are all in Ukrainian language, however I did manage to get to the right station and to meet yuliya outside of the lavra.This was a great night out four hours of great music and a great big fireworks display at the end, which I love to see lots of fireworks what was also great it was a free concert. I also saw another free concert at the open-air theatre where young students from the music college in Kiev played a number of classical performances, which were outstanding.

On a Sunday afternoon at the two brothers monument open-air theatre the retired citizens of Kiev meet to sing traditional Ukrainian songs culturally this is far removed from English culture, to see all these people meeting up not staying at home but enjoying themselves and also entertaining the general public. Traditional Ukrainian and Russian culture was for me one of the most interesting elements of my visit. I also was surprised by the youth in Kiev who were not drunk in the streets causing damage misbehaving unlike the youth of England today. I saw a group of young people dancing to 1940s tunes in another open-air theatre enjoying their selfs and entertaining others, far removed from our culture.


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