For the past hour, I’ve been reading the blog of a former coworker who joined the Peace Corps and has been living in the Ukraine for the past couple of years. The Ukraine! Can you imagine thinking “I’m going to go live in the Ukraine”? And oh my gosh, it is absolutely fascinating to read about all the differences between living there and living here in America. It sure makes me feel lucky to live here.
Here in America, unless you’re homeless or very, very poor, your home is heated warmly in the winter. Apparently not in the Ukraine! My former coworker says that heat is incredibly expensive there, and that during the winter, she wears basically three layers of clothes and two pairs of socks all the time. Plus, they have no hot water to shower in—and even if they did, she said she’s not sure if she’d even want to, because it’s too cold to get undressed to shower!
Brrrr…I don’t think I could handle that.
I can barely handle not having the normal Chicago summer 90-degree temperatures and have been remarking to people lately that it’s been a “cool” summer (temperatures have mostly been in the 70’s and sometimes low 80’s). I am so damn spoiled!!
She also wrote about buying fruit in the Ukraine, and that you really have to watch out for worms in the fruit. She wrote, and I quote:
“If you watch a Ukrainian eating fruit, they take very little bites and look at the fruit in detail with every bite. When was the last time you picked up a piece of fruit and ate it while reading, driving, or working on the computer without thinking twice? Yeah… worms…. So, that is probably my biggest fear. Pray for my tummy.”
WORMS in my FRUIT?! I don’t think so!!!! I inhale blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or peaches on a daily basis, without giving a second thought to how safe they are to eat. I am absolutely cringing at the thought of having to watch out for worms while I eat my berries.
And there were so many other differences between the Ukraine and America, that made me so grateful to be living where I am today.
And particularly, I feel very lucky to be living in a city where I can walk out on the street and have trains and buses and taxicabs all within less than a block of my apartment. I live in an apartment with a kick-ass heater and air-conditioner, with a swimming pool, laundry room, and exercise room on the 7th floor, accessible by elevator. I even have a little grocery store (7-Eleven) on the ground floor of my building, which sells NON-WORMY fruit.
I have a doorman in my building who keeps us safe from unwelcome intruders, and twenty-four hours a day, I can order a pizza to be delivered right to my door. I also have over 30 fast-food restaurants in my neighborhood—ten in my building alone!—not to mention the countless other sit-down restaurants within a couple of blocks of home-base.
And even if I do eat at home, I have a dishwasher that washes all the dishes for me.
I have a job about a half-mile away that I can walk to every day, which mostly involves talking to people on the phone (no manual labor there), and which pays me a good salary.
I can get a prescription filled at any time of the day, and can do my entire grocery shopping, birthday gift shopping, and Christmas shopping within the privacy of my own home—thanks to the lovely interwebs.
I am one damn lucky girl.
Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of that.