Author Topic: Long time lurker, first time poster  (Read 149 times)

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Offline JoeAnna

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Long time lurker, first time poster
« on: 15:14 18-Feb-2021 »
Hi,

Call me Joe. I'm an American who's lived in Ukraine since 1996. Next June, surviving Covid, I should hit 25 years. I write for some toothy periodicals published both here and in the US. I'd love to hear from anyone, but if you've got any advice about US Covid stimulus checks and/or about reacclimating to the US, you'd have my extra special attention.

Good work on the forum; it's a real help in a place that struggles as hard as Ukraine does with public information releases.

peace from Kyiv

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Offline AkMike

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #1 on: 05:43 19-Feb-2021 »
Hello Joe, There's a local man here that's been here since 88 so you don't have the record yet.. But you've still got a chance.. :D
 If you've been paying US taxes then the check should have been deposited in the same account as you pay them from. At least that my understanding.
 If you're planning on moving back depending on where you go and where you're at now it might not be a big change. Or it could be huge. Personally I think that during the next 4 years are going to see a serious decline of the US. I hope that I'm wrong. We'll see.
In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One. Yakov Smirnoff

Offline UKUA

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #2 on: 15:24 20-Feb-2021 »

 Personally I think that during the next 4 years are going to see a serious decline of the US. I hope that I'm wrong. We'll see.


So, for the next 4 years, you'll be biding ( :D) your time? Could be 8 or even 12. Who knows?

Online Fraucha

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #3 on: 08:57 21-Feb-2021 »

 Personally I think that during the next 4 years are going to see a serious decline of the US. I hope that I'm wrong. We'll see.


So, for the next 4 years, you'll be biding ( :D) your time? Could be 8 or even 12. Who knows?

I dunno about anyone else but I am never going back for any reason. The U.S. has worked my last nerve.
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Online Tnic

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #4 on: 13:16 21-Feb-2021 »
Joe, welcome and I hope to see more of you (here in the forum, don't get creepy now) in the future.

I'm in Maine waiting for things to settle enough to get my bride's Visa Interview scheduled and done so I can bring her here to help finish building our little cabin in the hay field/love shack.  Far too many things I enjoy doing here that are impossible for me in UA.  Like Keeping & Bearing and waking up to the cries of coyotes at midnight and roosters in the morning and a beautiful sun rise without a concrete canyon spoiling the view.

Fraucha:  You know too much to come back.
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Online gregorycrs

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #5 on: 13:48 21-Feb-2021 »
Joe, curious as to what age group your are in.  Being in Ukraine 25 years is a long time and begs the question what is leading your path to want to move back to the US after all these years.  I think the biggest shock will be prices for most things in the US and of course many aspects of medical/dental care. 

For the past 4 years, we have lived part time in Kyiv and in Florida, flying between locations on average 2-3 time per year because of the 90/180 limitation for me.  We own homes in both locations.  My Ukrainian wife received US citizenship this year and I (64 years old) received my Ukraine Permanent Residency, so we are contemplating moving to Kyiv full time for a few years.  I'm thinking the adjustment may be difficult for me at my age.  But flying back & forth becomes exhausting too.  We love Spring, Summer, and part of Fall but winters there are horrible for us.  Pre-COVID, we hoped to spend winters in warm destinations such as Thailand or other warm countries.   Florida real estate prices have skyrocketed this past year (so has insurance and taxes) so we are feeling this year may be the time to sell (home value increased 30% in the past 12 months).
         

Offline JoeAnna

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #6 on: 12:42 04-Mar-2021 »
Hello Joe, There's a local man here that's been here since 88 so you don't have the record yet.. But you've still got a chance.. :D
 If you've been paying US taxes then the check should have been deposited in the same account as you pay them from. At least that my understanding.
 If you're planning on moving back depending on where you go and where you're at now it might not be a big change. Or it could be huge. Personally I think that during the next 4 years are going to see a serious decline of the US. I hope that I'm wrong. We'll see.

No records, please! I should add that I lived in Russia (Novosibirsk) prior to Ukraine, moving there in '92. Dang. Still no record.  ;)
The problem with all that time spent "over here" is I'm a non-entity financially in the US. That means paper Covid checks, refund checks. Ukrainian banks run screaming from US Treasury checks, imagine. IMF money? They can't get enough of it, but try to cash a Treasury check and that dog don't hunt.

The decline part: believe me, I hear you. But we've got a 5- and a 7-year-old and the education options here - particularly public education - are miserable.
For a lot of reasons I was with the poster below - "never going back" - but then these little guys came along and my priorities took a hit, necessitating a serious reconsideration.

I appreciate the advice / admonition. We may find that the US doesn't suit us after a couple of years and are keeping our options open.  The pace of life over there gives me pause, I admit. The identity culture fetish (and I'm a barking liberal) is out of hand. Reasoned, sober consideration of US history is falling out of favor and in its place burn-down-the-house historical revisionism.  Frankly, it's scary. Scares my wife and she grew up a communist.  In truth, she's the reason I think we'll be able to handle it.

At least, that's what she says.  :)
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Offline JoeAnna

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #7 on: 12:50 04-Mar-2021 »
Joe, welcome and I hope to see more of you (here in the forum, don't get creepy now) in the future.

I'm in Maine waiting for things to settle enough to get my bride's Visa Interview scheduled and done so I can bring her here to help finish building our little cabin in the hay field/love shack.  Far too many things I enjoy doing here that are impossible for me in UA.  Like Keeping & Bearing and waking up to the cries of coyotes at midnight and roosters in the morning and a beautiful sun rise without a concrete canyon spoiling the view.

Fraucha:  You know too much to come back.

I hear you. I grew up rural in western Washington and Alaska, so life in the country and/or the wild provide me with a primary incentive for returning: Ukraine, for all the reasons to love it, can't equal the outdoor life of home. Even if it has been a quarter of a century since I set foot there.

We're in a similar boat re: the Visa Interview. Seems like we're further back in the line than you are, but at least the process is moving. Forward or backward, who can say, but moving. Good luck to you. Enjoy your life absent the "concrete vistas" of Kyiv.  Old Joke: What are the two great tragedies of Kyiv? 1)Destroyed by the Nazis and 2)Rebuilt by the Communists.
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Offline JoeAnna

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #8 on: 13:22 04-Mar-2021 »
Joe, curious as to what age group your are in.  Being in Ukraine 25 years is a long time and begs the question what is leading your path to want to move back to the US after all these years.  I think the biggest shock will be prices for most things in the US and of course many aspects of medical/dental care. 

For the past 4 years, we have lived part time in Kyiv and in Florida, flying between locations on average 2-3 time per year because of the 90/180 limitation for me.  We own homes in both locations.  My Ukrainian wife received US citizenship this year and I (64 years old) received my Ukraine Permanent Residency, so we are contemplating moving to Kyiv full time for a few years.  I'm thinking the adjustment may be difficult for me at my age.  But flying back & forth becomes exhausting too.  We love Spring, Summer, and part of Fall but winters there are horrible for us.  Pre-COVID, we hoped to spend winters in warm destinations such as Thailand or other warm countries.   Florida real estate prices have skyrocketed this past year (so has insurance and taxes) so we are feeling this year may be the time to sell (home value increased 30% in the past 12 months).
         

Nice to meet you. You've got a couple years on me: I'll be 59 in June.

You've got some nice advantages owning those homes. Listen, I'm no expert, but private real estate trends here are a little watery, but with a general, gradual upward trajectory. Meaning: if you own in Kyiv AND Florida, sell ONE, rent out the other, and BUY for MUCH less in Lviv. Of my (nearly) 25 years here, 17 have been in Kyiv and the city has changed. Pollution, trafffic, and (since the war) crime have increased significantly. If respiratory health is an issue, Kyiv is rough unless you plan on living outside the city. Yet, even there, you'll run into environmental and serious infrastructure issues.

Just be careful. There are good deals to be had. Single family, pre-fab homes in the outskirts are popular, but if you're the kind of couple that needs access to restaurants (that are any good), the opera, movie theaters, museums...culture in general...living in the Kyiv outskirts you might as well be living in Florida.

Then there's health care. There are, probably, a total of 3 clinic/hospital providers (in Kyiv) that I'd recommend to any "westerner" accustomed to a higher level of access, professionalism, and facilities. The rest is too similar to fly-by-night Ukrainian mercantilists of the '90s--heavy on promise, light on delivery. And, when it comes to medical care, dangerous.

But if your health is good, your finances reasonably stable and you don't need immediate access to cultural venues and modern consumerist Ukraine (they have learned ALL of the worst lessons of American culture and imitated them) then I'd look at Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Vinnitsya, in no particular order. All good, comparatively quiet places. Historic buildings. Nice parks. SLoooooW pace of life.  Yeah, Kyiv has changed.

One thing to consider about your winters. They have grown considerably milder here in the last decade or so. Of course, that's likely relative. I'm from Washington/Alaska and lived in Siberia, so a Kyiv winter is a snap. Last winter 19/20 - was, meterologically speaking, a non-winter, with no sustained period below 32F. And no snow until March 22nd, the first day of spring. In a place like this, where agriculture depends so heavily on winter precipitation, that's not a good thing. The climate has changed here. June-July 2019 in Kyiv were unbearable. 2020 was the lowest rainfall in decades.  I need more rain to be truly happy, I guess.  My advice: consider Turkey. It's close by, the winters are bearable, reports are the rates are good. Flights are also ridiculously cheap.

Why were going back now.  I wrote it above, but I'll repeat it here: my wife and I have two little boys now and we need good schools. They're both fully tri-lingual, so I'm not worried about them keeping up in the US. For special education - music, sports, intellectual challenge - we find private tutors or schools because Ukrainian public education is, in most instances, still stuck in the authoritarian Soviet model (despite the NUS program) and I don't really see it improving until a major overhaul of higher education is able to take root.  Those boys are my primary reason for leaving.

My wife matters, too. Speaks four languages, negotiates international projects and contracts and gets treated (and paid) like dirt. She deserves better than she can get here and, in the US, won't have to sell her soul to get it.

I don't write any of this with regret or malice. Hell, I spend nearly half my life here, I couldn't have hated it that much, right? But I see what I see. Living here has brought me immeasurable professional and personal benefits, but it's time.
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Online Tnic

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #9 on: 12:34 05-Mar-2021 »
Hello Joe, There's a local man here that's been here since 88 so you don't have the record yet.. But you've still got a chance.. :D
 If you've been paying US taxes then the check should have been deposited in the same account as you pay them from. At least that my understanding.
 If you're planning on moving back depending on where you go and where you're at now it might not be a big change. Or it could be huge. Personally I think that during the next 4 years are going to see a serious decline of the US. I hope that I'm wrong. We'll see.

No records, please! I should add that I lived in Russia (Novosibirsk) prior to Ukraine, moving there in '92. Dang. Still no record.  ;)
The problem with all that time spent "over here" is I'm a non-entity financially in the US. That means paper Covid checks, refund checks. Ukrainian banks run screaming from US Treasury checks, imagine. IMF money? They can't get enough of it, but try to cash a Treasury check and that dog don't hunt.

The decline part: believe me, I hear you. But we've got a 5- and a 7-year-old and the education options here - particularly public education - are miserable.
For a lot of reasons I was with the poster below - "never going back" - but then these little guys came along and my priorities took a hit, necessitating a serious reconsideration.

I appreciate the advice / admonition. We may find that the US doesn't suit us after a couple of years and are keeping our options open.  The pace of life over there gives me pause, I admit. The identity culture fetish (and I'm a barking liberal) is out of hand. Reasoned, sober consideration of US history is falling out of favor and in its place burn-down-the-house historical revisionism.  Frankly, it's scary. Scares my wife and she grew up a communist.  In truth, she's the reason I think we'll be able to handle it.

At least, that's what she says.  :)

It most certainly is a tough decision, what with rage & sensationalism ruling the news cycles.  But, I'm sure you're aware that its not like that everywhere. 

I'll throw out a shameless plug for my little corner of the world, Bangor, Maine.  Everyone's pretty calm and considerate here.  We smile, we laugh, we treat each other with respect.  I still have my Trump sticker on my truck (yeah, I'm a redneck) and have yet to get keyed or slashed.  Most folks here are just neighborly and if you're on "the other side of the political fence" at least cordial for the most part.  I'd like to think that is really the prevailing mood across the country.

Where would you be looking to settle if you decide to head west?
Jujitsu, the fine art of folding someone's clothes, while they're still wearing them.

Offline JoeAnna

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #10 on: 14:22 05-Mar-2021 »

Quote
It most certainly is a tough decision, what with rage & sensationalism ruling the news cycles.  But, I'm sure you're aware that its not like that everywhere. 

I'll throw out a shameless plug for my little corner of the world, Bangor, Maine.  Everyone's pretty calm and considerate here.  We smile, we laugh, we treat each other with respect.  I still have my Trump sticker on my truck (yeah, I'm a redneck) and have yet to get keyed or slashed.  Most folks here are just neighborly and if you're on "the other side of the political fence" at least cordial for the most part.  I'd like to think that is really the prevailing mood across the country.

Where would you be looking to settle if you decide to head west?

We're looking at three options: your neck of the woods (red- or otherwise), western Pennsylvania, and my home, western Washington, the latter being the frontrunner. Back in the day I lived for a bit in New Hampshire and enjoyed it. Pretty conservative place but like you say, most folk balance "life free or die" with "live and let live" in my experience. Maine, NH and western Washington have an ocean, Pittsburgh, last time I checked, doesn't, and ocean air is right at the top of my list, so PA might be a last resort, though not an undesirable one for lots of reasons. Go Pens!

We also have some decent opportunities to choose from re work and the rest, so the natural setting--trees, water, hills to climb and the chance to put in a garden, have some animals--ranks high on our selection criteria. Kyiv, for all the things it offers (and it offers a lot) can't provide those to the degree I'm looking for. Yeah, I'm spoiled growing up where I did, but we need what we need, right?

It's a sad commentary, but the political divide does worry my wife some. The lack of professionalism, the lack of objectivity she sees on "the news" doesn't help, and on bad days has her wondering about American society in general. Fortunately, that legitimate concern is balanced out by the fact that she's a grown-up (and my, how wonderfully these Ukrainian woman grow) and has enough experience with average Americans to see that if you want to truly understand a culture, you'd best switch off the TV. She also has enough experience in the systemic abuse and endemic congnitive dissonance of Soviet & post-Soviet existence to understand BS when she smells it. So, yeah, we stay aware, but we've got bigger fish to fry than to worry too much about what Mitch McConnel and Nancy Pelosi are spatting about this week.

Thanks for checking in, and one piece of advice: get that bumpersticker off your truck and watch the resale value skyrocket. :)
« Last Edit: 14:26 05-Mar-2021 by JoeAnna »
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Offline UKUA

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #11 on: 23:07 05-Mar-2021 »

Thanks for checking in, and one piece of advice: get that bumpersticker off your truck and watch the resale value skyrocket. :)


 :) :) :) :)

The resale value of the bumper sticker or the truck?

 :) :) :) :)

Online Tnic

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Re: Long time lurker, first time poster
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 11:50 »

Thanks for checking in, and one piece of advice: get that bumpersticker off your truck and watch the resale value skyrocket. :)


 :) :) :) :)

The resale value of the bumper sticker or the truck?

 :) :) :) :)

ROFLMBO!!!!!!

Actually I (at least) double the Ram's value at every fill up.  :D

About our media.  Everyone thought the whole country was in flames over the summer when it was actually 3 or 4 cities and those were in a relatively small area.  Never let a crisis go to waste.  I have friends (yes its true) all over the USA and none of them saw anything like what was seen on the evening news every night.

The areas you're looking at sound like good choices, though I'm partial to Maine (I'm a native born Buckeye too) so tell your bride not to worry.  If you find yourselves in NE, I hope we'll get a chance to break bread with you.  My bride should be home (AT LAST) by Memorial Day.  Finally got her interview rescheduled and set for end of Apr.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 11:58 by Tnic »
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