In Kyiv, family proved to be one of the most challenging topics for me because of the language. I wasn’t really able to chat or meet many English-speaking people. So my research if really based on what I observed, research, and what I learned from our own family dynamics.
Ukrainians are very devoted to their families. They always keep in touch with their parents and grandparents; sometimes several generations may live together in the same house. One of the main aims of children upbringing in Ukrainian families is forming the national consciousness, sense of patriotism and respectful attitude to Ukrainian traditions, rites, and customs.
Because Ukraine is a deeply religious county, their customs are heavily influenced by their faith, and I would also say the gender roles tend to be much more traditional, and grandparents play a more significant role in bringing up children.
Here’s are my research findings:
- I cannot speak much to work hours in Kyiv, though I can tell you I often went out for a run around 5pm ET and there was a massive crowd of people walking to the train stations.
- The parks were beyond lovely. There was one major park where Nolan played. I found parents to be very involved in the parks. Talking to each other and playing with their kids. Not many parents were sitting on the sidelines on their phones.
- Coffee shops were also incredible. Much like Amsterdam, there were coffee shops everywhere. Cuba Coffee seems to be our go-to coffee shops, but we did visit many others. I notice in many of the coffee shops people working on laptops, almost like a remote workspace. The coffee shops were cozy and comfortable, so I could see why people hung out in them. Most coffee shops also had really good wireless.
- A sense of “community” is really tied to the very strong sense of family and region in Kyiv. As I shared in my faith post, Ukraine is a deeply religious culture, so it profoundly impacts the sense of family.
Here are a few other general operations:
- I think the Ukrainian people are tough, badasses. They have been through a lot in the last 5-years and let’s not forget they are involved in an active war with Russia, but they are still kind, friendly people. In almost all the coffee shops, restaurant, Ubers, shopping centers we’ve visited, people are friendly, helpful and willing to try to help though they don’t speak English. Most everyone was patient, kind and honestly wanted to help me. When I did find an English speaking person, he/she was always very interested in why were in Kyiv and what we thought of the city. I would also say, I find it very sweat they every English speaking person apologized for not speaking “better” English, though I thought they all spoke very well.
- The Brown Family did really well in Kyiv. We really rallied and worked our family schedule. Our living space was a little tight because it was a big open space and both Jim and I were working, so we really had to communicate on meeting schedules. We had several family dinners, we had some great Daddy/Nolan days & some great Mommy/Nolan days, we also really embraced our individual/personal time. On a few occasions, even Nolan said, “I’m going to go play in my room” and he would go close his door and play in his room by himself.
Here are a few of my favorite picture from Kyiv:
^Morning coffee & snuggles with Mommy.
^Nolans first family selfie in Kyiv.
^Tickle fight at dinner.
^Nolan sweet talked Daddy into carrying him, which doesn’t happen much these days since Nolan is getting so big.