Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Our Arrival

We arrived in L'viv on Friday, August 10 after a relatively smooth, but long trip. We now have DSL set up in our apartment and will be able to provide updates on our travels more regularly. The last few days have been busy, setting up the apartment, getting acquainted with the city, and meeting new and old friends.
Upon arrival in L'viv from Vienna, we climbed down the stairs from the plane (there are no gateways in L'viv) and onto the bus waiting to carry us 50 yards or so to the terminal. The locals quickly rushed off the bus to get in line for passport control. Much to our surprise and delight, we were moved up to first in line because of Carter (everyone with small children was able to "cut" up to the front of the line). Our good friend and colleague, Viktor Krevs from Ivan Franko National University in L'viv, met us at the airport with Serhiy, the university's best driver. All of our baggage arrived intact, and we settled in our apartment.
The apartment is in the best location possible - in the center of downtown - and is quite nice. To the right is the view from our window. The apartment is the L'viv homebase for Alex and Yasia Tsiovkh, faculty members at the University of Kansas (they are originally from L'viv). We have a foyer, large living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. The staff that manages the apartments is incredibly nice and accommodating. They have already made a repair to the washing machine and arranged for quick DSL setup.
Our first task was to seek out provisions. An hour after arriving in L'viv, Erik went to Arsen, a local US-style grocery store chain, and got the basics. On Sunday, Yasia Tsiovkh's brother Walter took us to the two markets closest to our apartment (a 5 minute walk to one, and a 10 minute walk to another) and we bought fresh fruits and vegetables. The prices at Arsen are comparable to the US for many items. But, the market prices are much cheaper.
Erik also needed to do some extra shopping since his glasses broke on the plane. Fortunately, he had his prescription with him and went to a nearby optician. He placed his order on Saturday and the glasses were ready on Monday morning – and they cost $40. Shopping has been an adventure, as Lea has been trying to find all kinds of things, such as hairspray (lacquer here), and hopes to find the rest of the items on the list tomorrow. Some may be impossible, as trying to find cups larger than 8 ounces has resulted in bewildered reactions.
Carter has been amazing: patient, curious, and good-natured about all of the change. He was fantastic on the airplanes, and much more tolerant than his parents. He has been happy we brought some of his favorite toys. He wants to go on stroller rides around town, and walks down the stairs from the apartment loudly reciting his alphabet while we carry the stroller. At least he is reciting it forwards, of late, he has only wanted to do his alphabet backwards. Despite attempts to get him to do normal children's activities, his favorite thing to do in L'viv is to "go feed birds." L'viv has many lovely parks and public squares where birds congregate. His howls of joyous laughter have entertained many of the locals. His stale Dora the Explorer cereal has kept the local birds well-fed, also. On the left is a photo of Lea at a local cafe.
On Monday, Erik met with colleagues at the university to discuss his teaching schedule, locate his office space and so on. He will be co-teaching a class on elections with Yuriy Shveda and a class on democracy with Anatoliy Romanyuk. He knows both of these scholars well, as they visited the University of Kansas in the past and he has seen them on his previous visits to Ukraine. On the right is a photo of Erik and Carter in front of the L'viv Opera House, a 5-minute walk from our home in L'viv.
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1 comment:

Connie said...

Of course you'd go to Ukraine when there's a constitutional and a political crisis going on. Far be it for you to go teach somewhere warm and sunny:-) Looks like fun. Wish i was there.