Friday, July 24, 2009

Lucky Duck

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.


jp said...

Yes, I would certainly not do well without my comforts, many of which I take for granted.

Wow, you have a lot of amenities in that building. Most of what I need is within a 2 block radius but it would be even nicer to not have to leave the building at all.

Do you have a balcony of terror like Buck does?

Miss Healthypants said...

JP--yes, we have a balcony of terror,'s even smaller than Buck's balcony--but only half the way up that his is.

Sling said...

Wow..No wonder I'm always getting e-mails from young women in the Ukraine that are anxious to meet me!
We live in the greatest country in the world. :)

Mathman6293 said...

I guess we don't know how good we have it.

And you family has taken control of my computer; you have one window and Iwanski's Flickr has the other.

Buck said...

I doubt that Grubhub delivers all the way to Kiev. Those poor people!

sageweb said...

Everytime I go on a business trip to another country I am reminded how lucky I have it compared to other people. Everytime I read peoples blogs in the winter I am reminded how lucky I am.

Jeanna said...

When you sneak hot cocoa and brandy into the ballpark in July you know about too cold to shower, but I'm sure not to that extreme.
We have a small Rot that barks if you don't park your car where she wants, does that count?

Anita said...

I think we often take for granted how charmed our lives really are. I've never lived in the "city" like you, but when I was younger that life held such mystery and interest. Now I'm a total suburbanite, even worse, I'm in a small city! I'm spoiled too, now I wake and turn on my I phone and from that little 2x4 device I can check my mail and facebook and on and on it goes.
I am not the adventurous type, but I admire your friend, and those like her.

Lorraine said...

Amen, sister friend, amen.

Lorraine said...

And JP, there is nothing terrifying about Iwanski's balcony.

Lisa said...

We really are lucky. When I contrast the difference between now and just a few years ago, we are even better off than we were then, if you can believe that! When the kids were little, there was no dishwasher, no garage, we parked on the street, no basement in which to lock them....

The reminder - it is necessary.

MaryRuth said...

Yeah...we have it pretty dang good here, and I am very thankful. If you want to hear some music about the tribulations of both Ukraine and USA, check out Gogol Bordello. Get your dancing shoes on first.