What is it like being a Jamaican in Ukraine?

Xavier: What is it like being a Jamaican in the Ukraine? Hi, I’m Xavier Murphy, the founder of Jamaicans.com and today in Jamaicans to the World, I’m talking to Owen and Tarek. Jamaicans that are living in Ukraine, Owen, Tarek welcome, how you guys doing? 

Owen: Thank you for having us, Xavier. I am not doing too bad. Just a bit tired; had exams today, but everything is good. 

Tarek: Oh, thanks. I’m doing well myself, you know, just a bit tired as well, had exams, but today is bright and sunny so everything is all well 

Xavier: Arright. (Alright). Nice. Nice. First question, and I’m going to start with you Owen. Which paat a Jamaica yuh come from? (Where in Jamaica are you from?).

Owen: Originally, I am from upper St. Andrew a place called Rock Hall, I doubt many persons would know that, but it’s close to Sligoville. It’s the route you would take to go to, where is that? Western Jamaica, if it’s that flat bridge is blocked, but currently now I reside in Harbour View. 

Xavier: Okay. Alight. Tarek. 

Tarek: I’m from St. James, Mobay to be specific. Yeah, so I’m actually from the city of Montego Bay. 

Xavier: Great, great. Now, you know, you know the next question, if you watch dis (this) thing, which school you representing? (Laughing). 

Xavier: Let’s start with you Owen. 

Owen: My vein, my blood, my everything beats purple. I am a die hearted (loyal to) Kingston College pass students, forever will be in love with KC (Kingston College) 

Xavier: Alright (Laughing). The [1:52 inaudible]. 

Owen: ‘Fortis Cadere Cedere Non Potest.’ 

Xavier: The purple, the purple [1: 56 inaudible] (Laughing). 

Owen: Purple. 

Xavier: And Tarek. 

Tarek: (Smile) The one and only original CC Cornwall College. You know, you have that, dem (they) other two CC, I think there’s another one Clarendon or something like that, but only one exists, it’s Cornwall College, yeah. (Smiles). 

Xavier: (Laughing) I’ve had quite a few, Clarendon College on here and I’m sure when they see this, this is going to bring to a smile their face. (Laughing). 

Xavier: We gonna start with you Owen, tell us your story on, on how you got to Ukraine? 

ukraine center

Owen: Okay, so I came to Ukraine in 2016. I was at a crossroads, so I was working at the time at a Forestry Department and I had decided I was either going to do medicine or go and specialize in a Master’s Program. I got information about Ukraine from a friend at church and I applied, within like two weeks I was accepted and started the paperwork, this was maybe in June or May of 2016. Paperwork got completed in August there about and by October I was on a flight to Ukraine. (Smile) Pretty simple. 

Xavier: Wow, wow, you Tarek. 

Tarek: Almost the same story, the only different, working just the same and I always had a passion for medicine and I was trying to find the cheapest route because you know, UWI (University of the West Indies), is quite expensive and not a lot of persons are able to access, access the subsidized program in Jamaica. So, um, heard about Ukraine and decided to jump on that ship as well. 

Xavier: You’re, so you’re both studying medicine there. 

Owen: Yea 

Tarek: Yes we are. 

Xavier: Wow, amazing yuh nuh (you know), two future doctors I am, honored, I am honored (Laughing). 

Xavier: I can’t imagine the amount of work you put in. I mean, wow, wow, hats off to you guys. 

Owen: Thank you. 

Xavier: I’m going to jump in a little bit in terms of the, the culture and the people, tell us about the people, um, in Ukraine, what are they like, the theme, and again, I don’t want to stereotype the theme. I’ve heard when I talk to folks about Europe is, takes a little bit for people to warm up. However, I know I have some friends from yuh nuh (you know) Eastern Europe, that area, and, they will tell you like it is. I don’t want to stereotype, yuh nuh (you know), Europeans, or Ukraine, tell us about the people? Tarek, I’m going to start with you this one. 

Tarek: Alright so, I guess it depends on the day and who you come in contact with, but oftentimes a lot of the persons that you do meet, they’re a bit stand-of-ish, some of those who have been in contact with, if it is that they’re not into you, they’re just not into you. They won’t speak and stuff like that compared to like Jamaica where you, you have a question, somebody will be willing to help you. They’ll, you go to country and they gweh follow you go all the way round de corner to show sey yes, a right yah so mass John shop deh (you go to the country and they will follow you all the way around the corner to show you where Mr. John’s shop is). You won’t necessarily find this at all times, you might find someone who is willing to help you. Other things that are different in terms a de (of the) people here, you’ll for example, standing in line to go in the bus, they’ll push pass you, it’s like they’re trying to pass through you, so it’s quite a different culture in terms of all of that. 

Xavier: Arright (Alright). 

Tarek: So, yeah, it’s quite different. 

Xavier: Owen what’s been your, what’s been your experience? 

Owen: For the most part, it’s been the same sentiment, persons here aren’t as warm and open as we are accustomed to in the Caribbean, there was this joke going around, was it last year, when they had the football competition, that they had to teach the Russians how to smile. 

Xavier: (Laughing). 

Owen: (Continue speaking) It’s basically the same thing you’d say, you, you don’t see many persons smiling. If you’re not close friends with someone, they find it strange if you even say good morning, or how are you doing? Which for us, it’s customary, you see someone on the road and you say, good morning, wah gwaan (what’s going on), how yuh do (how are you) and you go about your ways, here it’s not the same, persons are more to themselves unless you’re closely acquainted. 

Xavier: Wow, and, and so when you find like, yuh nuh (you know), a friend group do you have a, well I mean you’re at school, do you have a friend group that has kind a yuh nuh (you know) warmed up or, or it’s a challenge, I’ve heard people say, oh it’s a challenge sometime to find like a little friend group. 

Owen: Well, it’s a bit different for us because our friend group (Fingers expressing exclusivity) at school, it would be International students. We don’t actually study with the Ukrainians because we study into different languages, International students, mostly studying English while the national study in Ukrainian or Russian. We wouldn’t make friend groups from that, but we, Tarek and I have started playing this sport called [7:30 inaudible] Frisbee we have made a friend group from that, you know, everybody in the same theme so it kind of the same camaraderie, but uh, the level of friendship that you’d have with somebody from Jamaica, it’s not the same, even though we’re closer at a typical Ukrainian, on the street, it’s still not the same. It can’t be measured. 

Xavier: Hmmmm, I see, Tarek have anything to add to that I (Chuckles). 

Tarek: It’s, it’s the same thing. You don’t necessarily have friend groups per se, and like they’re quite different in terms of your friendships so. 

Xavier: Arright (alright). 

Tarek It’s quite interesting, yeah. 

Xavier: And you, you mentioned language there and, you’re saying your two languages, Russian and Ukrainian 

Tarek: Yeah, Ukrainian 

Xavier: Ukrainian. 

Tarek: Ukrainian, so the country is divided, divided into the Western and Eastern bank. On the Western side, you have the Ukrainian being the predominant language, whereas, on the Eastern side, which is where we are, the more spoken language is Russian due to the fact that coming out to the USSR and being closer to Russia, this is a language that which is spoken more on this side, but the national language is indeed Ukrainian. 

Xavier: Okay and is there a battle, in terms of the, the Russian side and I not trying to bring you all into it now, so we don’t have to dig too deep into it (Laughing). 


Xavier: (Continue speaking) Is there some tension? Is there some, you know, type of rivalries there, you know? Yeah. (Chuckling) Any of that going on? 

Owen: I Think there is some form a tension because you will hear persons who, it’s like JLP and PNP. You’ll hear persons who are die heartedly saying Ukraine should maintain its national language which is Ukrainian, because they’re their own country, they’re their own territory. Now and on the other hand you have another set of persons saying that we are from the USSR, we should hold on to Russia and you have these two different sides are basically, it’s not physical fight but they are fighting, which language should be spoken. And I recently, within the last year or two years, it was mandated in the law that in public places like Supermarket, Pharmacies, Police Officers, they now have to speak in Ukrainian. 

Xavier: Hmmm. 

Owen: (Continue speaking) So, this is where the government is stepping in to try to enforce the national language. 

Xavier: I see. Have any of you, and, and again, if you watch these videos, you know, I have sumtn (something) coming up in the language later on, but have any of you, learned either Russian or Ukrainian? 

Tarek: We, um, throughout our study, we have four years where we do, we study Russian, we have a Russian class and, but most of it is more medical Russian compared to, regular street or anything like that. We have developed on that so we do speak some form of Russian. Ukrainian, no. 

Xavier: (Smiling). 

Tarek: (Continue speaking) We mainly hear like, so we can repeat a few Ukrainian words mainly from what we hear in the Metro stations and stuff like that, but in terms of like reading Ukrainian, not so well, it’s not, so we’re not fluent in Ukrainian at all. We can have a conversation to some, for the most part in Russian. But in Ukrainian, no. 

Xavier: Ahhhh, (Laughing) So the Ukrainian unuh haffi go brush up, brush up pon Ukrainian (So with the Ukrainian, both of you will have to catch up to speed with your Ukrainian). (Laughing). I am gonna move into another area, yuh nuh (you know) being, being, black and, you know, you’re there, and I know we’re also Jamaican but you know, how is that, how has that interaction? I’m sure you have probably, you may have come upon folks that for the first time they’re actually seen live, maybe, a black person and I’m, I don’t know, again, maybe that’s not new. But have any of you experienced that where, for the first time yes and I know Owen, yuh nuh (you know) your hairstyle is probably one of those that, you know. Maybe somebody wants to come up and touch it and, you know, um, that type of thing, you know, I’m going to start with you Owen and jump over to Tarek in terms of your experience, from that perspective.

Owen: The most part persons and mainly children like teenagers and younger will stare, but other than that, we don’t get the impression that we are being looked at because we’re black. 

Xavier: Okay. 

Owen: The first year they had, but every year they have it, it’s a huge, we have a huge square in the center of the town where they have this huge Christmas tree and they have Christmas celebrations there, in first year we went there and we were experiencing what it was like to have our first Christmas in the Ukraine and a few persons came up to us and asks us to take pictures and I was fine with it, but that was about it. 

Xavier: Arright. (Alright) 

Owen: That was pretty much it, that was pretty much it. 

Xavier: Anything to add Tarek? 

Tarek: No, that’s basically it, just persons coming up, oh, can I take a photo with you at, but so at first I was fine with it because, oh, maybe it’s the first year maybe seeing a black person, but then after a while I’m like, you know what? I’m not necessarily sure if this is something good or something bad, you want to say, oh, I met black people or you want to use it in some other negative way. I’m a bit more stand-of-ish in terms of um, just readily and openly taking photos with random strangers now. 

Xavier: Alright. 

Owen: The hair, when they hear those Xavier, I have had like a few girls staring at it and I was on the bus one day and this little girl, maybe six, seven years old was asking her mother why do I have this type of hairstyle? She’s never seen it before, but I have seen a few amounts of Ukrainians here with locks. If they don’t use the actual hair, they buy what’s that weave or something. 

Xavier: Right. 

Owen: And have it locked in, so it’s not something that is strange to their culture, It’s not popular but it’s not strange. 

Xavier: So you touch on a couple of things earlier in terms of Christmas, in, in Ukraine and, and, do they celebrate, I know, some places in Europe they celebrate on, on different days. 

Xavier: Or it’s a different time because, of, of, you know, Orthodox or one of or so forth, do they celebrate, on a different day or, yuh nuh (You know). 

Tarek: They do. 

Owen: Christmas here is on the 7th of January. 

Tarek: January. 

Xavier: You guys get to celebrate two Christmas? 

Owen: Now, now we do. When we just came Christmas, we had classes on December 25th, which was a bit strange for us, but they have changed it now to include it as a holiday so we do have two Christmases now. 

Xavier: Oh, I was joking. I didn’t know it was official. (Laughing) 

Owen: (Laughing). 

Tarek: Adding something to that, Ukraine or I’m not sure if it’s all Slavs, Slavic countries or cultures, but in terms of Ukraine, they have an old and a new New Year. They welcomed the New Year with us and then I think on the 13th or 14th of January, which is post-Christmas their Christmas, they also have another New Year celebration. This is when they have what is called, Shchedrivky, which is like Christmas caroling in, Jamaica, the U S where kids go out and they sing and they collect little treats, sweets, whatever it is, and you have a day for girls a day for boys and a day when they go together. 

Xavier: Okay. 

Tarek: Yeah. 

ukraine sunset

Xavier: Nice, nice. Well, I hope the, I hope the rest of the world looks and start to celebrate two Christmas. (Laughing) 

Xavier: I’m going to ask some about, about the reaction when folks know, you know, obviously yes, they see you’re black, but when you say I am Jamaican you know, what is the typical reaction you’re getting from folks when they realize that, that you’re a Jamaican I am going to start with you Owen. 

Owen: The typical reaction is weed. Jamaica [17:09 inaudible] reasons, whether it’s Rastafarianism or, people with dreadlocks, but we are known for weed. Ironically, I don’t smoke at all and persons just come once they hear Jamaica, they start going, do you smoke weed? I don’t smoke weed and they’re like, really? You don’t smoke weed, but you’re from Jamaica, and I’m like, no. The second thing is the climate because Ukraine is cold for maybe six, eight months of the year, a lot of persons wonder why would you leave such a wonderful tropical climate to come here and suffer throughout winter. Winter is not just the three months [17:52 inaudible], because winter here can start from as early as September, October it gets real frigid. 

Xavier: (Laughing) Tarek what’s, what’s been your experience? 

Tarek: There’ve been different experiences, separate to the weed there is, they have two songs, one is about, they’ll start singing ‘Yamayka’, I don’t remember the name of the person, um, who sings that song and then there’s another song, which, is from the 1999 World cup, ‘Kakaya bol’ which is when, , Argentina defeated Jamaica five nil. (Five zero) So they have a song ‘Kakaya bol, kakaya bol Argentina, Yamayka pyat nol,’ it’s um, ‘what a pain, what a pain. Yeah Argentina beat Jamaica, five nil. (Fiver zero) that’s basically it, and the weed, that’s it. 

Xavier: You know, the song you mentioned, I think it’s come up twice in, in previous interviews, I’ve done the Jamaica song. I believe it was done. It’s the first time I heard it. It was when I did the interview with young lady in Russia and, it seems like it’s a popular song, I believe it was done by an Italian and, and, we actually did a story on it on Jamaicans.com because we heard it and we’re like, wow, we have a song popular without knowing it 


Owen: We have a song that Jamaica knows nothing about. 

Xavier: Exactly nothing about but apparently, you know when people see and hear that you’re from Jamaican, they’re singing it to you and 

Owen: (Nods) Yeah. 

Tarek: (Nods) Yeah. 

Xavier: Music, you know, since we’re on the topic of music, what are you hearing there? Um, yeah, have you heard any reggae at all? And I know we don’t listen to the radio stations. I know everything is online now and people really don’t listen, but you know, do you hear any Bob Marley here or a Chronixx or is it mainly the techno electronic EDM, pop? What is the music there, or maybe you don’t have time to listen music. (Laughing) 

Owen: (Laughing) I mean, when we do go out, like we’re on the bus or in a taxi, or even at a gym, you hear a bit of reggae, especially at the gym, you’ll hear a good amount of Sean Paul. I haven’t actually heard any Bob Marley. I went to this one restaurant that’s named Bob Marley and obviously you’ll hear Bob Marley’s music but outside a dat (of that), it’s mostly Sean Paul, mostly Sean Paul you have a lot of Sean Paul playing over here, a part from dat (that) you’ll hear a lot of American hip hop or pop music play, yeah. 

Xavier: Okay, same. Tarek can [20:48 inaudible]. 

Tarek: The same, Sean Paul, Shaggy, I’ve not heard any other artiste separate to those two and there’s just mainly one Sean Paul song, I think it’s Sean Paul and Sia, that’s constantly on, replay here. 

Xavier: Mhmmm, Sean Paul seems like him need to come have a concert there, him have fans. 

Tarek: Speaking about concerts probably two or three years ago, Shaggy with Sting. They had a concert in Kiev in August, cause usually in August they usually have like big concerts with international artiste and Sean Paul and Sting, they were here one year. 

Xavier: Did you get to go? 

Tarek: Not Sean Paul, sorry, Shaggy. 

Xavier: Shaggy. Were you there? 

Tarek: Shaggy and Sting. No, I wasn’t here at the time. 

Xavier: Arright (Alright). Shaggy, Sean, Paul, if you’re coming back, please get Owen and Tarek VIP tickets (Laughing).To enter the concert. Arright (Alright). So I’m trying to get you all to hook up here. (Laughing)

Xavier: I wanna (want to) jump to food and earlier, Owen and I were talking and I know I’m sidetracking here. Owen has a, has an extremely happier face today because he had his ackee and his selfish this morning. Hats off to you Owen. 

Owen: (Smiles). Thank you. 

Xavier: Tarek, I don’t know if you, you had that for breakfast ask you, you or had any breakfast yet, but we gweh (we are going) to talk about Ukraine food first, so what is the food like? And if you were to suggest one thing that you would say, you know, Xavier, if you, if you come to Ukraine I would recommend that you try this? I’m going to start with Tarek on this one. You know, what’s the food like? That’s part one of the question and part two is if there’s one thing you’d recommend, what would it be? 

Tarek: Arright (Alright). Food here is very different from Caribbean, Jamaica and Western food in general. The flavors aren’t the same, that’s the first thing in terms of the cooking style is also quite different so the better tasting food that you would eat is a home cooked meal from a Ukranian’s house, that’s it hands downs, in terms of what I would suggest you eat, that is actually Ukrainian, because we’re now learning that a lot of the foods that we do think are Ukrainian dishes aren’t actually Ukrainian dishes. 

Borscht is one, it’s good. I’m not a soup person, but it’s something that I would recommend. Borscht is actually a soup that contains cabbage. It’s a red soup well it can be green as well. They have different types, you have red or green Borscht, they have beetroot, which is grated and boiled and they cook the meat it can be beef, pork, chicken, whichever, and then they cut up cabbage and they serve it to you. This one is actually, they have two or probably three, I’m not sure how many varieties of soups, but they do have hot soup and cold soup and Borscht is a type of hot soup. I would recommend Borscht or, Pelmeni. 

Pelmeni is something like dumplings, but it’s actually stuffed with, meats. The meat can be ‘Farsh’ is what we call mince. You can have Chicken Farsh or any other type of meat stuffed into this and then they boil it. That’s actually a good dish as well, Pelmeni. 

Xavier: Arright (Alright) Arright (Alright). Owen what will you reco? What do you think about the food and what would you recommend? 

Owen: The food here like Tarek said it’s pretty different from what we are accustomed to. We are accustomed to seasoning our food with all types of different spices, you have you pepper, you sweet pepper, you garlic, scallion, onion everything, here for the most part, they season it with just salt and black pepper and for them that’s okay to each his own, uh, the food that I would have recommended would have been the ‘Borscht’ as well but Tarek just said it 

Owen: I’ll go with Dolma. Although I recently learned it’s not Ukrainian, but it’s still very delicious and I eat it here. Dolma is basically grape leaf, the young grape leaf, they boil it and they wrap it like how I guess we would do ‘Duckunoo,’ they wrap Farsh and rice inside and continue to boil or steam it, I am not sure exactly, but it’s very, very delicious, um, the texture of the leaf is kind a like callaloo and it has a good taste and I would allow you to drink that with either some Linchpin or some Compote. 

Linchpin is their version of sorrel? It’s a warm wine that they have different sizes with cinnamon, pimento and stuff in there and the Compote, it’s their version of how we make juice. Instead of using the blender to blend everything, they have the water boil and then they put the fruits in there and then leave it for a couple hours and then they pours it off and add honey to it. 

Xavier: I see and it definitely sound like, you know, Owen is into the seasoning because him start to talk what in season? What we season with and everything like that. 

Owen: I properly miss all the seasonings from Jamaica, we don’t have scotch bonnet here, there is no browning, the Curry taste different. 

Xavier: Is there a store? I know in some places they have… They say is an African store. Is there a store that you can go and get stuff. Is there one where you all are? 

Tarek: There are a few African shops around the place. What you can get like yam, but Africans are only used to white yam. 

Xavier: I know, I know. 

Tarek: They don’t know what yellow yam is. 

Xavier: Yellow yam is nothing to them (Laughing). 

Tarek: (Laughing) They only use to white yam, um, so you could get white yam there, what else? 

Owen: Pepper. 

Tarek: Peppers and plaintains, that’s where we use to get plantains and bananas. Green bananas are now being sold in, some of the larger Supermarkets so that’s a bit more easy to access and sweet potatoes. 

Xavier: Good, good at least yuh (you) get a little bit a something. 

Owen: Yeah. 

Xavier: (Laughing) You know, we talked about people, talked about the food and so on. If somebody was visiting and you said to them, here is a place or an experience that I would say, if you come to Ukraine, you must do this and again, it could be an event where you said, this is just an awesome event that happens annually, you know, come at this time or it could be, hey, the sunset overlooking here is just really awesome because practically the sun up all day you know or whatever it is. (Laughing), or it could be just a place. What would that be? I’m going to start with you Tarek on this one. 


Tarek: Arright (Alright). In terms of a place, I don’t have a particular place, for me it would be just walking around the city, especially in the summer, because one thing that Ukraine is very good at, is it aesthetic, at this point in time there, the whole place is decorated. You have, different designs with flowers. The place is just bright and pretty. You can just walk around the city go to the different Parks and just have a good time. It’s quite an awesome feeling walking through. I would just say that, that would just be my recommendation. 

Xavier: (Nods). Okay, Owen. 

Owen: My recommendation would be to come in Christmas time, if you’re from Jamaica and you haven’t been abroad and you want to experience snow, you want to be those white persons making snow angels and gallop and thing in the cold Winter is definitely the time to come as Tarek mentioned earlier the aesthetics here are off the chart. Christmas in the square I mentioned earlier, there is what seems to be a Christmas tree like a hundred stories high, and it’s thoroughly decorated and each year the theme changes. Last year, I think they had their version of Santa Claus and, his wife and his granddaughter, the year before, it was a completely different theme and the year before was a completely different theme. If you want to see Ukraine a good time to come, would have been Winter experience, the snow experience, the Linchpin, the warm wine and it’s just beautiful outside is beautiful. I mean, the ground is perfectly white. 

Xavier: Wow, wow (Laughing). It leads me to, there’s two places I want to go. I want to start with this one, which is, is there a custom in Ukraine that when you got there, you’re like, Ooh, this is kind a different apart from Christmas being celebrated in January. Is there any type of customs you can think of that you, know that is there? It could be the simplest thing as how I greet someone, how I bring gifts, different customs that people do. have you come up on any? 

Owen: One of the costumes I came upon was when you’re pouring alcohol, the glass should be on the table or if it’s in the air, you should have something like the palm of your hand on the glass or under the glass. My student recently told me it symbolizes that if the glass is just hanging in the air, it means your life will be empty, to have a full life, you need something under the glass. (Shrugged). 

Xavier: (Laughing) Okay, that’s interesting. 

Tarek: For me, what I learned, one of the things that I’ve learned was, just as in Jamaica, you do not open an umbrella inside or else you won’t get married. If you are single, you do not sit on the edge of a table, right at the verdict of the table, you don’t sit there if you’re single, because you won’t get married. That’s something that I learned about recently, yeah. 

Xavier: (Laughs) So, you just open up now Tarek, you just open that door, you just open that single door and you two are doctors right. 

Tarek: Yeah. 

Xavier: (Continue speaking) And so yuh nuh (You know) yuh nuh (you know), any experiences, any, you know, you don’t have to get into any detail, but in terms of, you know, customs in terms of dating, in terms of dating a Ukrainian woman or, or so, and again, you guys may be too busy for this. Arright (Alright). I know you’re studying but any tips, any experiences, anything you want to share. (Laughing) 

Tarek: Something, well tried dating once. It didn’t work out because, after a while, well more than once, it never worked out cause communication stopped after maybe a week or so and later on I found out that with Ukrainian girls, they’d like to play this cat and mouse type a (of) game or some form a (of) bird game. If it is that, they stopped showing interest you need to pursue them. You need to continue pursuing them and that is how they showed their form of affection, yeah. 

Xavier: Yeah. Okay. 

Tarek: Yeah, so it’s… 

Xavier: That’s very interesting. You must be in the chase.

Tarek: You must be in the chase, you must pop… it’s like those cartoon games where you just pop up with rose and chocolates. (Laughing). And those things. That’s the type of thing that they like here, yeah.

Xavier: Owen, I see you quiet. Anything to add to that or yuh sey (you say) no, I am leaving this one alone. (Laughing)

Owen: It is the same thing. I was advised, here it’s like a Disney channel movie or Lifetime movie where the guy meets the girl one day on the road, and then they run into each other again, which in reality doesn’t happen. Someone advise me that if I see a girl that I like, I got her number and just stop responding, which they often do, I should pop up where she is with flowers and chocolates and I’m not a stalker, if I meet you on the road, I don’t know going where you live, I don’t know where you go to school. I don’t know where you work and I can’t just magically pop up. 

It hasn’t been working out best, because I don’t understand how I’m supposed to pop up. I think, as adults if you’re interested, you’re interested. You can express your feelings or your sentiment, but here it’s different. It’s a different ball game and I’m not trained in that ball game. 


Xavier: Arright (Alright). Well, listen, that’s, that’s some good advice. Folks know that, hey, you know, there is this chase and, and maybe for the folks who have the time, the chase is, you know, good and folks who don’t have the time and sey (said) listen, because I think you know, our culture is like hey ‘Mi like yuh and mi nuh like yuh’ ( I like you or I don’t like you). 

Tarek & Owen: Like yeah, that’s it, 

Xavier: That’s our culture and that culture maybe, hey, it takes some work here (Laughing). 

Tarek: I think, I think adding some things to the culture, cultural aspect, when we came, in 2016, what shook us was the level of PDA that you actually see in the streets. This is, now, we don’t see it as much but like in the Metro, you’d see everybody just paired off eating off each other’s faces and stuff like that. 

Xavier: Woooii, (Chuckling). 

Tarek: Yeah, that was something that was very common back then but now, you don’t see it as much. I don’t know. Maybe they changed [36:18 inaudible]. 

Xavier: COVID, COVID, yeah since COVID keep. 


Xavier: Things change. 

Tarek: COVID mash up wi life (COVID destroy our lives). 

Xavier: Exactly. Guys, listen, you have provided a wealth of information. I can’t thank you enough for spending the time just telling your story and telling us just a little bit about Ukraine. Winding down, couple more questions here. The first one is this one. You leave Ukraine and it’s a scenario, you leave Ukraine, you land in Jamaica. What is that first thing that you’re doing? Whether it be the food, whether it be this whatever? What is that first thing that you’re doing? And I start with you Owen, what’s that first thing you’re doing, it could be food, it could be, you know, it could be a visit here, it could be kiss the girl it could be you know, the beach, it could, what would that first thing be? 

Owen: Anybody knows me, knows that when I am abroad for any period of time the first thing to greet me is KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). 


Owen: There is nothing like Jamaican KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) The first thing to greet me when I land after complaining about the heat in Jamaica KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). 

Xavier: Tarek. 

Tarek: For me probably be the beach 

Xavier: (Nods) Okay. 

Tarek: Probably the Beach, yeah. 

Xavier: Mobay (Montego Bay) guy. 

Tarek: Yeah. (Laughing). 

Xavier: (Laughing) The Mobay (Montego Bay) guy said, yeah, the first thing I am doing I’m jumping in that water. Listen I am with you on KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), Owen I remember one year I visited Jamaica and I was leaving and I was like, you know, I haven’t eaten nuh (no) KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and on the way to the airport, I had to get my KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) on the way to the airport. You know the one thing I [38:27 inaudible

Xavier: Go ahead. 

Owen: Continue, Continue. 

Xavier: No, the one thing I was gonna say is you said it’s hot. I guess the cold weather you have adjusted to some of this, both of you maybe have accustom to this cold weather. The blood now, the blood now it’s hardened. The blood now is hardened to the cold, true. (Laughing). 

Tarek: Basically yes. 

Owen: It is. 

Tarek: Because you have like when cold fronts a Jamaica a experience now when people a cry, ‘oh mi cold,’ (Ohh I am cold) or you see dem (Or you see them) in the middle of the day in sweaters, you’re like what is this this, you don’t experience cold. This is not cold. 

Xavier: Arright (Alright). So here is how I typically end and I would like you to teach myself and the audience how to say goodbye or bye-bye in Ukraine. You can either choose whichever, I think, you know, a little bit a Ukrainian and you all know Russian, but I would prefer the Ukrainian since, we doing Ukraine, but in the informal way, you know we would say boy ketch you lata (See you or talk to you later), likkle more (Later, tomorrow or next week) or you know older folks wi sey ketch yuh pon de strong (will say see you or meet up with you tomorrow) and you know, sumtn (Something) like that. How would you say goodbye in the most informal way, if you can remember for Ukrainians. 

Owen: This is embarrassing, sadly, I don’t know how to say it in Ukrainian I can tell you how to say it in Russian but. 

Tarek: (Laughing). 

Xavier: (Laughing) Arright (Alright). Well, guess what, we will do the Russian for you Owen, and then let’s see if Tarek picked up any of it. 

Tarek: Okay. 

Xavier: So 

Owen: Okay, so the simplest way to say goodbye in Russian and the most informal way is to say, ‘Paka’ 

Xavier: Paka, Paka. 

Owen: Paka. 

Xavier: Paka, Arright (Alright) 

Owen: Paka 

Xavier: Arright (Alright). 

Tarek: Maybe pobachennya. The pronunciation, I’m not so quite sure because Russian and Ukrainian pronunciations are quite different. 

Xavier: Right. 

Tarek: They have some variations in their alphabets, Ukrainian is more sing songy, Russian is more rough or something like that. Maybe Pochennya I, I’m not sure exactly how to say it, yeah. 

ukraine statue

Xavier: Arright (Alright). So, I am going to try my best, arright (Alright). Again gentlemen, thank you, thank you for spending the time, all the best with your studies, I don’t know how many years you are away from being doctors, but, all the best with your studies. How many years you all have left, I should ask? 

Owen: One year, we did our last exam fifth year exams. We have one year left. 

Xavier: Wow, well good, good. I will be in touch. We will definitely keep in touch, I appreciate it, arright (Alright). So pro, pro, how you sey (say) it now again now. 

Tarek: Pochennya. 

Xavier: Not the Russian one, the Paka, the Paka, I remember. (Laugh). 

Tarek: No, Ukrainian, Pochennya, chennya, Pochennya. 

Xavier: Arright (Alright). So Pochennya and Paka. (Laughing) 

Owen: (Laughing). Paka, thank you for having us Xavier. 

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