Saturday, August 13, 2011

Culture Class

Just a bit of my doodles from the 8 hour training.
During training this last week, we were able to go to a culture class for Ukraine taught by someone who had already been there through the program. It was interesting but as those of you who know me well, I sit still and listen best if my hands are occupied with an ink pen and some paper. ------>

Now, to the real deal. Just as in any culture, there are taboos, superstitions, dress etiquette, and not to mention impolite gestures. Here's just a small list of the many things I have to watch out for.

  • The metros and buses are always SUPER crowded and it considered rude to cross your legs or leave your backpack on because it takes up too much space.
  • There are also certain seats reserved for the elderly, handicapped, and people with kids. You are supposed to give up your seat to these people. If you don't you should prepare for a Babushka (grandmothers) To come give your a hearty lecture that you do not understand. 
SIDENOTE: Speaking of Babushkas.. they are like the strictest form of policing in Ukraine and I am dead serious. Babushkas are grandmothers who believe that it is their duty to keep the world safe. Apparently if you are not wearing a hat, if you jacket isn't zipped up, etc in the wintertime,  they will come over to you and start lecturing you and literally pull up your hood and zip up your jacket--all the while, still keeping up the long lecture. I am honestly so looking forward to this in every way.

Anyways, back to more culture differences! Hooray! 
  • You are not allowed to shake hands over a doorway. It will bring bad luck upon the place.
  • You are not allowed to whistle in public or in your basically, don't whistle.
  • If you sit at the corner of a table, you will never get married (according to Russians). 
  • I have learned to keep an eye out for this gesture: if a person flicks his neck with his middle finger. It means that he is drunk.
  • Ukrainians dress to the tens everyday. Even in the heart of the winter in the frozen, barren tundra, you will see women still wearing their stilettos and skirts. I'm definitely going to stick out! But don't you fret, pictures will be applied to his concept quickly.
  • Do NOT laugh if a man is hitting on you in any way. They see this as consent and you will get a horde of drunk Ukrainian men around you. You have gotta be gruff and rude and ignore them altogether. 
  • If a woman sits on the ground without a chair or cushion, she will go barren. Apparently my ovaries are going to freeze.
  • Most people in Russia and Ukraine don't have the best manners in public. They push and shove. You have got to be on the defense at all times.
  • The best advice so far that I got was to be assertive and walk with a purpose.
  • As many of you know, I LOVE being colorful. I can't help it! Well, that's just something else that is going to make me stick out in Ukraine. They generally wear a lot of black and grey and not very many colors at all. Dang :)
I am really looking forward to this experience! Don't get scared by anything on here! Trust me, I'm not--if anything, I am more excited! Ukraine, here I come! :) :)


  1. Jill - You will be wonderful over in the Ukraine...BECAUSE you are colorful. It's obviously ver important to respect the culture and traditions there. But I know that the people you encounter there will love you for the unique Jill-isms you will bring to their lives. I am so excited to read about your adventures over there! This is one of those experiences you will talk about for the rest of your life! Soak it in baby! :)

  2. Bring me back something fun!