15 November 2005

It's Not a Suburb

We just moved to a village on the outskirts of Kyiv. A village where the old men and women sit on benches made of planks and inverted metal buckets. They sit silently with their heads at a slight angle watching their world change around them. The flow of newly imported cars, the old dachas being replaced by immense monstrosities and the flood of people at the marshutka stop all part of a new world that has been involuntarily thrust upon them. To add to their sense of disorientation here we com, this pack of loud Americans, moving into one of these architectural caricatures of a house. Never mind their amazement during our move into the house what with truck after truck hauling in 19 tons of strollers, hockey sticks, books, vases, and other crap we accumulated at our apartment in the center. The villagers peer in sometimes after we pull in to our driveway and before our automatic, remote controlled gates totally swing shut separating US from THEM. The scene must, no doubt, be horrific to them. Or maybe bizarrely fascinating is more accurate, as if a UFO has landed. The oversize doors of the SUV fly open. Empty juicy-juice boxes and lollipop sticks fly out to the ground followed by the footfalls of three….um…enthusiastic, simultaneously speaking children. And to think their coats are not zipped and its 13 Celsius out here? What’s that over there? Can it be the little girl has her coat off and she’s swinging it around above her head on the way up the stone stairs? And did the father just look at us and say something in Ukrainian? What the hell is going on here?
In light of all this it’s hard to agree with my friends who claim I live in the suburbs. It’s not really a suburb, more like a surreal version of a subdivision. A pack of huge funky (some may say ugly) houses built close together on top of old dachas and farm land. The kids love it. I think we’re staying for a while.

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