I am well into my first week in Kharkov, and progress is slow at best and non-existent at times. One of the great things about being abroad for me is seeing the many ways in which a culture solves its problems. To combat the cold at home, we install double- and triple-paned windows with high tech gases between the panes. Here, I have two heavy rolling shutters over the main windows that I close every night, making my living room feel like a bunker. Is one better than the other? I don't know, and I don't care. I went into this adventure trying to eradicate my expectations and predispositions so that I could experience the culture honestly, so I will save these kinds of judgements for others.
I'm still having plenty of trouble, of course. I needed to mend a button on my coat but had no scissors to cut away the old threads. Today, though, I picked up the thing I found I have missed most: A Swiss Army pocketknife. With a tiny pair of scissors, a sharp little blade, and tweezers, I realized that this was one thing I shouldn't have forgotten. Now I can fix the button on my coat, trim my beard a little (I have seen no sign of beard trimmers yet, but I am hopeful), and do all the little things I used my knife for every day.
Margarita told me about a good language school that I hadn't heard of, and I planned to go to them today and give them my resume. But by the time I finished editing and printing it, I decided it was too late in the day to begin the walk. So I will go tomorrow.
I still have not adjusted my body clock to local time. I can fall asleep by around midnight, but I wake up every day at 4 a.m., tired, bored, and unsure what to do. By about 8 or 9, I'm very tired again, so I go back to sleep and end up sleeping the rest of the morning away. I hope this goes away soon...I have few hours of daylight to get anything accomplished with this kind of schedule.