Monday, May 29, 2017

Lots of church holidays in Ukraine! [+Nature Vlog]

In this video, Michael discusses the abundance of small church holidays in Ukraine, which are especially important to people in the countryside.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Prosperity is not the same thing as technological progress (A perspective from an expat in Ukraine)

In this video, I talk about a somewhat complicated issue--the idea that technology and progress are not the same thing. I got the idea for the topic from a conversation that Yulia and I had about older generations in the West who experienced a simultaneous and coincidental rise in technology and progress in their lifetimes. Although people have learned to equate the two, I would argue that they are not always related to each other, which might explain why technology is currently getting better while people's quality of life is not keeping up. It's hard for young adults to find jobs and a place to live. lt seems that the average lifespan is actually declining. People are obligated to work hard for little money. Etc.

I turn to the example of Ukraine and the Soviet Union, and point out that, in the past, our village was much more prosperous. People of all ages were living here. There was a school and kindergarten. There was a medical clinic. People had jobs. The infrastructure was much better.

But if you come here now, you will notice that most houses are abandoned and that there are few people under retirement age. The infrastructure and buildings have decayed, and there are few functioning institutions left.

Despite this, there is more access to goods and services than ever before. For instance, there are more building materials than in this past. There are a wider variety of foods available at the store. We have 3g and high speed internet. Although there is more access to things that might theoretically enhance people's lives, technology hasn't necessarily lead to concrete improvements in people's lives.

While it is easy to see here, it might be harder for people living in wealthier countries. However, I think there are signs which point in this direction, and we should be aware of them.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Our marriage: One big adventure

Ever since we got married, we've either been traveling to new places or doing new things together--like completely renovating an old house and creating a huge garden and orchard without any experience!

In this video, we talk about our travels to places like Chicago, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, New England, and Ukraine.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


It usually happens around this time of the year--exhaustion. Work in the garden really ramps up. Building projects take off. May's one of the busiest months of the year for us.

In this video, Michael talks about what we do that makes us so tired. After years of near constant daily work on the house and in the garden, we're ready to make our home a place of relaxation...

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Spring in rural Ukraine: An update from our garden

It's spring time, which means that lots of our plants are growing, flowering, and fruiting! Since we have many young plants, it's always exciting for us to see what will produce next. This is the first year that we will have white mulberries, for example. We've only tried dried white mulberries in the past (very tasty), so we're wondering what they taste like fresh off the tree. We also show off our gooseberries, baby oak, poppies, cherry plums, cedars (stone pines), and more. At the end of the video we crack open a bottle of last year's elder flower champagne, which was bubbly, crisp, and delicious!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Unexpected things we've learned about

When we first envisioned living in the Ukrainian countryside and building/renovating a house, we expected and thought about a few things. What would it take to install running water in the house? How would we plant our garden and orchard? How would we collect rain water? What kind of paint would we use on the walls? Etc.

But it turns out there were a string of other things that we had never thought about and never heard about. Yesterday, our neighbor was welding next door, and, as a result our lights were flickering and our voltage stabilizer was turning the power on and off as needed to protect our appliances. Quite honestly, this was an issue that we had never thought about.

We're happy to learn about new things, and sometimes life has a way of forcing you to learn. In this video, Michael not only discusses voltage stabilizers, but also talks about ventilation for sewage pipes, inverters, uninterruptable power supplies, flashing, ...even how we learned to make videos on YouTube!

Are you doing something similar where you live? What unexpected things have you learned about that have proven to be very useful?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The streets of Lviv, a new vegetarian restaurant, and moonlight dancing!

When the weather's cold and damp, and we can't do anything outside at our place, we go to Lviv for a bite to eat. In this vlog, we walk around downtown. If you are interested in seeing what it looks like to actually be there, this video's for you. We not only show you the historic city center, but the neighborhood by Lviv airport as well. We always like to see what average life is like in other places, so we figure we should do the same with Ukraine!

We go out to eat to Dreamers Place (, a coffee shop and vegetarian restaurant. The design of the restaurant is beautiful, and the food was great! Yuila had a quinoa salad and Michael had a spicy chickpea dish.

We also show you a bakery called Veronika ( All the sweets look delicious, but we went there for their sourdough bread. They sure do know what they're doing!

Finally, don't forget to watch the video to the end because we make fools of ourselves! We think our neighbors in the village were having a wedding reception because someone was blasting that kind of music. It was loud enough to dance to, so that's what we did! Our dog, Toma, seemed eager to join, so Michael helped her onto her hind legs for some boisterous couples dancing! She's such a social dog!