Ukrainian Culture and People

Kyiv at Night

Kyiv at Night

I first traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine in the winter of 2002. I was stunned by the overwhelming hospitality of the people of Ukraine. Never before had I met a people so interested in making friends and being friendly. Upon my second trip to Ukraine in 2011-2012, I remain equally impressed with the substantial differences between the Ukrainian culture and the culture of the USA.

Here, family and friends mean something that they simply do not mean in the USA. They really mean something. Please, this is no slam on the USA, so please don’t take it that way. What I intend to communicate is a vast cultural divide, not a judgment about which side of that divide is superior. It might come off that way, however, because I have my own preferences.

That is to say, I have a certain way that I treat friends and family. I am incredibly loyal to those I call friend or family. I would never, under any circumstances where it is possible to help a friend or family member, refuse to help. I would always put forth every effort to be of aid to my friends and family when they request it.

I would refuse help only when it was not possible, or when the “friend” in question had proved themselves unfriendly through their actions. I would otherwise attempt to give any aid requested, provided I had the ability to do so. Read more »

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On Becoming an Expatriate

Alternatively: I’m an American in Ukraine….

Okay, I just had to borrow a line from Sting. I know, I know, it would sound so much better if I were an Englishman, but I can’t satisfy everyone all of the time, and this time my friends from the UK will no doubt be glad I didn’t try. (Hello, Mike, Nick, Angela, Joel and Chris!)

I haven’t written an article here for a while, so this update may be a bit of a surprise to my readers. I’ve moved overseas!

That’s right, I’m no longer in North America. I made this change for a number of reasons, and expressing them is the purpose of this article.

You’ll notice a new category appearing here on my main blog: Expat. This is the first article in a new series I’ll be authoring about what it is like to be an American expatriate living in Eastern Europe. This first article, however, will focus on one thing….

My Reasons for Leaving the USA

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USA Travel Advice for Europeans

Shopping in New YorkI’m taking a CELTA course in Krakow, Poland right now, and I’ve been struck by the strange travel plans or travel histories to the USA from the Polish folks I’ve met.  In each conversation I’ve had about travel to the USA, the first thing at the top of their lists seems to be, “to go to New York City in November to shop for the holidays.”  This strikes me as totally bizarre, so I wanted to give a tiny bit of friendly advice about travel in the USA.  First, I’ll respond to this particular desire – shopping in the USA – and then I’ll offer up my Top 5 places to visit for a European, and why.
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Official Launch!

space shuttle launch

A space shuttle launch

I’ve been working on this little network of blogs, and preparing it for launch for quite a while. It has been a side-project until recently, but took center stage when my little self-improvement project began to focus on the problem of procrastination.

I’m so happy to finally have this site ready to share with people!

I would love it if everyone who visits  would:

  • take a peek around at the several blogs you will find up there in the “blogs” menu
  • leave at least one comment on one of the posts
  • share at least one post on one of these blogs on your facebook wall
  • subscribe to any or all the blogs on this network
  • post a link to any blog in this network on your own blog or web site

I know that most blog readers don’t bother with most of those things, but all the same, I’d love it if every visitor did at least one of the above.  I hope you’ll find the things I’ve written about so far (or what’s coming next) well enough that you feel like doing one of the above.

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Evan’s Pure Paleo-Organic Pot Roast

the paleo diet
About the Recipe:

This recipe is my attempt to turn my mother’s excellent-tasting pot roast, which unfortunately was made with lots of commercially grown and preservative-filled ingredients, into a purely organic and natural recipe. I just cooked it for the first time, and I feel it is up to snuff. Mom’s recipe has always been great-tasting, so I wanted to try to reproduce the flavors without all the unnatural ingredients. I think I succeeded beyond my hopes. This has a deeper and richer flavor than her original, and is made with excellent all natural ingredients. I even used grass-fed beef for the pure Paleo Diet result.
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Review: HSBC BestBuy RewardZone MasterCard

My recommendation: DON’T GET ONE OF THESE.

I have one. I have one mainly because I went through a bankruptcy a few years back, and this is the only “normal card” (one without a ton of fees) that would take me. My credit score is good now, it is just the bankruptcy on my record that screws me for getting credit. So, in attempting to re-establish my credit, I am willing to accept deals from jerks like these guys. Unless you’re in my situation, you should find a better card.

Anyhow…here’s my review of their services and two recent stories about my experience with them.

HSBC Best Buy RewardZone MasterCard

Out of 5 possible stars (1 being “suck” and 5 being “awesome”)

Rewards Program: ****
Customer Service: **
Terms and Conditions: *

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Review: Trek 3900 & Reseda Bicycles

Several months ago, I purchased a brand new Trek 3900 mountain bike with front suspension and aluminum frame from Reseda Bicycles here in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley.

I could not be more pleased with my purchase.


This bike is lightweight, fun to ride, and has performed flawlessly thus far. It has 24 speeds and shifts smoothly and easily. The brakes perform better than any bike I’ve ever owned. The first time I needed to stop fast (going down a hill at about 50 mph when the dang light changed right in front of me), I nearly threw myself over the handlebars. That’s how much stopping power the brakes have on this thing.

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Samsung Transform and Credo Mobile Review

I don’t like phones that much. I never have. I much prefer to speak in person, or to use text to communicate. And so I am not in the habit of replacing phones often. This is how it comes to be that it took until 2011 for a techie geek like me to get a new “smart phone.”
samsung transform

I finally got tired of that tired old Motorola RAZR and its battery that died at weird unpredictable intervals, only to regain full life after being turned off and then on again. I finally got fed up with typing text messages on that crappy little phone keypad.

I broke down and got myself a Samsung Transform running Android 2.1 on the Credo Mobile service. I am in love with both my new service and my new “smartphone,” which I think is truly deserving of the name Tricorder rather than phone.


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Coming Soon!

I am just getting things set up around here, learning how to use Word Press, and working with the installation of everything I need to get up and running.

In the near future, this domain will host a small network of blogs, all maintained by myself, e.b. sarver. I plan to mostly feature my own writing, and occasionally feature links to articles I find of interest. More likely, I will write my own commentary, and include a link to their content in a short post.

I hope you’ll enjoy my writing. I plan to write articles on a variety of topics, and plan to have several blogs in this network. These shall include:

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Celestial Mechanics: What Is Happening To The Sun?

Solar Cycle 24 NASA Estimate

Solar Cycle 24 NASA Estimate

Here is some research I have been reading about the sun and celestial mechanics. A large part of it has to do with climate change, and a potential lengthy cooling period coming up for the sun as well as the earth. Personally, I have no idea what to think, but I did find the research below fascinating.

The solar cycle was expected to restart in January of this 2008 at the latest, according to most predictions. So far, there have been only a small number of tiny sunspots, but compared to a normal cycle, nothing… The current solar minimum has now lasted more than twice the length of most solar minimums on record. This could mean nothing more than a slow start to the cycle, something that happens at regular intervals…or it could mean the hypotheses of the papers below have some truth to them.

Either way, we will know who is right about the time of that most “fearsome” date of 2012. Haha. Not that I believe any of that millennial mumbo-jumbo, but there it is. If the sun is going into a massive cooling phase, there will be no denying the evidence by then.

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