If you talk to any Ukrainian, they will tell you that March 1 was the first day of spring.
My friend Zee tried to prove it to me:
There are four seasons, each of which takes 3 months. December - February = winter. March - May = spring. June - August = summer. September - November = fall (autumn). Therefore, March 1 is the first day of spring, regardless of the vernal equinox taking place around the 20th of the month.
Today temperatures were right about 39*F, whereas in the past few weeks they've been in the 20s. The icicles have melted, the snow is melting, sidewalks are clearer -- soon there will be GREEN plants and colorful blossoms! As I rode the bus this afternoon, I saw a group of men playing football (aka soccer) down the road from us.
Temperatures have been slightly warmer the past few days, and I'm finding that I don't want to hear any songs about winter or think about cold weather any more! If anything, this idea that spring started on the 1st of the month is a morale booster!
Tuesday, March 8, is International Women's Day. I had never heard of this holiday until I came to Ukraine.
This holiday is about as big as Mother's Day in the US, but all women are honored. Last year, our headmaster gave us flowers (and the day off). This year, I think I am having a movie night with some friends, then a brunch with a few folks from the Bible study I attend (through the international church).
Rising Fuel Costs
A few days ago, one of my friends asked me if gas prices were rising in Ukraine. I told him I didn't know, because I don't have a car and don't pay attention to the costs. The reality is that everyone is being affected, even those who don't have a car.
In late January, my roommate and I found out that bus #464 had increased its fare from 2 грн to 2.50грн. This was understandable, because it is such a long route -- it goes from Lukyanivs'ka metro, past our house, to Mins'ka metro (near the Obolon church). We just didn't like pulling out a coin to hand the driver along with our 2грн bill.
To get to/from school, we can take the 6K, 25, or 587, all of which cost 2 грн. A couple weeks ago, I discovered that the 6K had also gone up to 2.50. Today, bus 25 was 2.50 too!! Also, I noted that the exchange rate had gone from 7.93 грн = US$1 down to 7.90грн.