Monthly Archives: April 2015

Add Kiev to Your List

Kiev always had a special place in my heart.  When I decided to look abroad for a wife, Kiev was the first city I visited.  It was exciting to travel and meet the first girl that I was corresponding with over the internet.  Kiev is a very charming city with beautiful churches and a lot of history.  The parks were nice to walk through and very romantic.  At the time I visited, Ukraine was celebrating their Independence Day and I watched a spectacular fireworks show on Independence Square in the city center.

fireworks

Firework show at Freedom Square during Ukrainian Independence Day

The relationship with the girl I visited didn’t work out.  She was one of those girls who felt that the best way for us to bond was to go on a shopping spree at my expense.  Things didn’t last to much longer between us after that and it was a long trip home, but it seems that Kiev has a special place in my heart.

My first trip was several years ago, long before the revolt that would run President Yanukovich out of the country and lead to war with the Russians/Separatists in the east of Ukraine.  I have recently returned, and while the city seems to have retained much of it’s charm, it’s baring some scars of it’s recent turmoil.

For one thing, it is nearly 25 grivna for a dollar.  This is a big jump from the 8 grivna per dollar that I received when I first visited Kiev and the 13 grivna per dollar when I visited Kharkov last year.  This makes things very affordable and cheap for Americans, but it’s distressing to know that Ukraine’s economy is teetering in the brink of collapse.  Ukrainian ladies will likely be distressed also and reevaluate their future and consider moving abroad for the right man.  Kiev has a reputation among bride seekers of being an overfished location, but I sense a change in attitudes during my recent visit and I think Kiev should be added to your list.

Other scars are much more physical.  Independence Square is very much the same from when I last visited, but seems to be a shadow of its former self.  There are broken windows that were hastily repaired with whatever panes of glass that could be salvaged.  Granite facades have been cracked, broken and lost.  Paving stones have been plucked from sidewalks and foundations and carried off.  For example an interesting monument that I visited during my first trip showed mile markers and directional arrows designating distances to various cities throughout the world.

mile marker

Mile marker as seen during my first visit to Kiev

Today, that mile marker has been picked clean of stones.

Mile marker with missing stones

Mile marker with missing stones

Remember it has been at least 14 months since the assembly of Ukrainian people at Independence Square demanding change in their government.  However, if you’ve heard nothing from the news about the recent past, you can tell that something happened here and the authorities seem to be too preoccupied to do repairs.

Kiev Connections Apartments

It’s not just public areas that seem to be in decline.  I reached out to Brett Ousley from the Marriage Agency, Kiev Connections to rent an apartment.  The girl I was meeting wasn’t from the agency but Brett and I had a nice dialog over email where he answered a lot of my questions about his agency and conditions in Kiev.

Unfortunately, I didn’t ask Brett about the conditions of his apartments.  I should have because the apartment I was living in was atrocious.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’ve cautioned my readers that Western standards really means conditions you might see in Western Europe, but Americans should still find this adequate.  I’ve been on my mission for a foreign bride for several years and this took me to many cities and apartments.  The apartment that I ended up getting was the worst apartment that I ever rented.  Tile was lose and popping from the floor.  Many of the lights weren’t working.  Furniture was stained and threadbare.  The standing shower was no longer working because wire was tying the doors shut.  It seemed to be this way for a while.  You were forced to use a handheld shower head in the bathtub.  The towels actually seemed like they came from a hotel that went out of business right after the Berlin Wall fell.  Fortunately, there was hot water or else the place would be unlivable.  And toilet paper, there was barely enough toilet paper.

When I asked about Brett, I was told by Tanya (the site claims she is a Matchmaker, but she’s really just an office manager) that Brett has been in the states for a while, so Brett is managing the business remotely.  I don’t even want to guess when was the last time he’s seen his apartments.  But if they look anything like the one I was in, then he needs to fix them up, pronto!  I would also suggest that he move back to Ukraine.  I don’t see how you can manage an agency from the states and uphold the same standards that resulted in him gaining such a great reputation among other bride seekers.

The silver lining is with Kiev Connections’ driver.  If you use Kiev Connections, ask for Victor to pick you up at the airport.  He has great ideas about romantic places to take your ladies and gives some pretty solid advice on how you should act and behave with them.  Most of the advice can be summarized as being the man and be willing to lead.  A Ukrainian woman has to be able to look up to and respect her man.  I agree with this advice, so don’t be afraid to pick his brain.

Considering all that has happened before and during my trip to Ukraine, I met a girl that seems to be an angel and took the setbacks with grace.  So I would consider this trip a happy one and feel that the future is bright.  No matter what Kiev has been through, it will be a special city in my heart.

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