"At the center of the universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service." ~Mr. Fred Rogers

Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful (Cheapest) Time of the Year

Although the rain hasn't stopped for more than an hour at a time in the past week, it's still summer vacation here in Ukraine and that means life is good! I trudged swiftly walked through the mud and rain this morning and made the 15 minute trek to the bazaar. I was on a mission, and have been looking forward to the bazaar all week long. For me, the bazaar more than a place to be seen (although my students once compared seeing me at the bazaar to a celebrity sighting). Rather, it's a place to catch up briefly with my colleagues, run into my students, and of course meet their parents. I usually talk to their parents in Ukrainian, and then speak to the students in English so they can show off to their parents. Moms and Dads always get a kick out of their child speaking to an American in English. Their faces are priceless.

In Kolky, we only have our bazaar on Sunday mornings and it's where you can find the best deals of produce, meat, dairy products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, clothes...practically anything. We also have базарчик (bazaarchick) or little bazaar everyday on the street but that only consists of babucias selling milk and random seasonal produce, usually overpriced. I usually only go to the bazaar for produce and meat and the occasional box of laundry soap, but there are quite a few options of clothes, shoes, coats, underwear, etc. in case I ever feel like trying any or all of that behind a mesh curtain in the middle of the busy marketplace. I really wanted to take and post photos of my bazaar, but the rain stopped me. When it's beautiful and sunny you'll be the first to see.

Someone asked me recently how food prices compare in the States. Well, seeing how I haven't been in the States in almost a year, I don't quite know what you pay for milk and eggs these days so you'll have to do the comparing with my list below. Mind you these are summer prices for fruits and veggies, and they go a lot higher in the winter time, but for peak season, here's what I'm paying.

8 hryvnia (UAH) = 1 US Dollar (USD)
4 hryvnia (UAH) = 50 cents
Tomatoes: 1 kilo = 3 UAH ($0.38)
Onions: 1 kilo = 4 UAH  ($0.50)
Carrots: 1 kilo = 5 UAH ($0.63)
Peppers: 1 kilo = 4 UAH ($0.50)
Eggplant: 1 kilo = 4 UAH ($0.50)
Cucumbers: 3 kilo!!! = 5 UAH ($0.63)
Watermelon: 1 kilo = 10 UAH ($1.25)
Milk: 1.5 Liters = 6 UAH ($0.75)
Eggs: 10 eggs = 6 UAH ($0.75)
Bread: 1 loaf = 1-3 UAH ($0.13-38)
Cheese: 250 grams = 20 UAH ($2.50) - I splurge on cheese so this is actually a little expensive.
Coke: 1 Can = 4 UAH ($0.50)
Laundry Soap: 1 box/450 grams =12 UAH ($1.50)
Shaving Cream: 1 can = 40 UAH ($5)
Deodorant: 1 stick = 20 UAH ($2.50)

I think a big thing that I've learned this summer is to appreciate my fruits and vegetables, because in the winter they are either too expensive to buy or nonexistent. For about 3 weeks there were strawberries, and then they were gone because strawberry season was over. Then came random assortments of other berries, and then poof they were gone. I don't have the luxury or budget to eat these things year around and soon enough it will be back to root vegetables all over again. But for now, I will bask in the glory of fresh produce, and take cover from the rain by becoming a vegetarian for a while. Not because I'm now leading a meatless lifestyle, but rather I'm too full from my veggie omelet to even think about frying up some pork. 

Happy Summer to me! (This is before the BBQ Sauce!)

Can you say less than $5?!

1 comment:

  1. Seriously... Less than $5. <--- This makes me want to live in Ukraine! And I love that you're getting an experience (granted, you're kind of forced into it, ha) that most Americans never will -- eating seasonally only. Go Benjaminian! <3