Ukrainian Culture 101: Why is There a Man-Drawn Carriage in the Road?


It just accrued to me that I am one of the luckiest men in the world. Not only do I get to live in a foreign country and do what I love on a daily basis. I also get little surprises like the one I received today.

I went into town to by some flash cards in order to study Ukrainian. It took me a while to find what I needed, but after a while I made due with some thick paper and a pair of scissors.

After I finished shopping I decided to take the 30 minute walk home rather than hopping on the bus. This decision was due to the fact that before I left the house I broke my diet. I ate about four handfuls of baby sized chocolate chip cookies given to me by the Peace Corps director early this week.

Nevertheless, I was about half way home when I came across a party of about 20 Ukrainians celebrating “God knows what.” But, anything that is capable of stopping traffic with 20 people celebrating around a man-drawn carriage must be awesome.

I was stopped by the mob as I passed through the crowd.  They offered me food and drinks. I pleased to accept their gift. I was also pleased, because it took them about 2 minutes to realize I was not Ukrainian. After I told them the group all stopped and looked at me.

I was wondering if that was a good thing or not. Then, they erupted after a few moments of silence, “AMERICA, AMERICA” they cheered. One man insisted I drink more and join their parade. However, I needed to get home and study.

Only in Ukraine will you find this type of joy. It is unlike any other country. The people here are warm and sincerely. I am surely a lucky man.

*These are the thoughts of Richard J. Roman and are in no way connected to the Peace Corps or its affiliates.

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