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Back to reality…and a new assignment

January 20, 2011

I was wondering how long the “buzz” of my wonderful week would last…it was exactly three days, by my count. Last night I needed to take care of a couple of things, and of course, living where I am, I asked a friend to assist me with the language (because I am STILL nowhere near where I want to be as far as speaking. It sucks when you don’t have a tutor or daily lessons).

Off we went to the first destination – my Internet Service Provider. Each month, I purchase money, load it onto my modem, take out the SIM card, put it in my phone, activate the package, remove the SIM card, put it back into the modem, and can then use the Internet. This past time, about three weeks ago (not quite, actually), I had a hard time activating it. So I went to  the provider, told her what happened (to the best of my ability) and she plugged in my modem, then said “it’s working.” Okay, great. I used it for four days, was gone for ten, used it for one day and was then told I had no MBs left.

I purchase 5 gigabytes every month and NEVER use them all up, because that is a lot of MBs to have to use. I never use them in a month, so how in the hell could it have happened in what was effectively FIVE DAYS of use? So, using my friend, I explained all of this to the guy who was there. First he told me he could not help me because “they” had come and taken his laptop computer. So what? Go retrieve it – this is a customer-facing role – he basically told me I needed to return today.

Well, I am getting sick of this kind of “customer service” and was not feeling particularly charitable towards him, as I had been sitting in fumes all day, had a headache, my back hurt and I wanted my damn Internet back. So I told him I was not leaving, that I wanted help then and there. So then he insisted I did not have the phone number with me (I did) and he called someone in Kyiv. After talking to them, he said I had used all the MBs. I said that is not possible, given what I was doing.

In the meantime, other people had come in and were waiting to be helped. One guy started saying something not nice about Americans because he caught on to the fact that I was one. To his credit, the CS guy told him “hey look, these other people are waiting too,” and the guy got huffy and left.

Yet, I still have to return tonight and argue with the woman who helped me a couple/few weeks ago to activate the package.

In case you don’t understand why this is SO maddening to me, it is because I started with one provider, K, got crap service from them (and they ate up 125 uah in five minutes, would not give me a refund). So I switched to M, bought a modem from them, it NEVER worked, I returned it and guess what? NEVER got my money back. I was given this modem, and for a couple of months it looked as if I may actually have regular (if slow) Internet service. So when this happened, well, I am quickly losing any patience I had left.

So despite the fact that I paid for Internet for the month, and did not use it for ten days, I have no service at home.

Our next stop was the post office. In order to send anything anywhere here, you have to buy the packaging at the post office, and send it from there as well (unless you use a private shipper). We waited in line, a woman line jumped then got mad when I told her I was next, got to the window, got the envelope, and then was told “you have to come back tomorrow because we did not receive the things we need to send something from Kyiv.”

Huh? Seriously? COME ON!! Just ONE thing work the way it is supposed to, please!

So reality, as it is, hit me with full force yesterday. I can honestly say that I walked out of the ISP place saying “I hate Ukraine today.” Sometimes the everyday challenges or annoyances just get to you. The thought that I just voiced does not generally last long. After a while you have to just give up getting annoyed because things are different here, that’s just that. So yes, it got to me, and then I had to get over it. But I can still write about it!

On another note – my new (and third, I think a PC Ukraine record) assignment is somewhat official, so in case  you had not guessed from other posts, I am now assigned to the Kirovograd Oblast Research Library Named After Chyzhevsky.  I am working in the foreign languages department (aka Window on America Center). I have already begun a blog for them (by their request), am working on a series of country studies presentations (the first of which is on their web site), will be doing an AIDS program, plan to apply for grants for programs on working with people with disabilities and (I hope) for democracy programs, working to upgrade their stock of English-language books (any ideas or anyone want to contribute to this, please let me know), working on Sister Library outreach, and other things as they come up.

I still am working, as secondary assignments, with the Technical University and Technical College (affiliated with the University). Next month I will start up again with them, conducting guest lectures and English Clubs. Gotta work to earn my living space…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Heidi permalink
    January 20, 2011 2:51 am

    Yeah… I have had those days here too… 😦 And for some reason Denmark has no customer service either. First, our road (which is off of the main road going directly into town) never gets plowed or salted by the county (despite us paying the same taxes as everyone else.) The farmers take turns plowing portions of it when they can. So, 4 weeks go by and no one has picked up our garbage. Since I didn’t want rats, I was keeping it inside (gross). So I call teh county, and the garbage man hadn’t done our road because it had snow and ice on it and he couldn’t drive down it. Now… the road isn’t great, but all of us in this town manage to drive on it in our cars, and he has a huge truck. What was I supposed to do with the garbage? Just sit it outside by the can that was full and he would pick it up when he was able to drive on our road. Because living on a farm with all sorts of scavenging animals is where I want to set out bags of garbage for weeks on end.
    Right after that conversation, I called my bank to get an idea of how long it would take them to clear an American check if I deposited it in my bank account. They had no clue what I was talking about. I will give you that my danish is a bit hard to understand over the phone, but seriously? So finally the woman gets what I want to know and tells me she can’t help me, I have to talk to someone else, transfers me, and after spending 5 min trying to understand me, doesn’t bother to explain to the new person what it is I am asking about. So we do it again. This lady never understands me and puts me on hold. 7 min later, after never hearing from her again, I hung up. (I ended up emailing my bank guy, who said not to deposit it, because it was only 100 dollars and they were going to take 80 of it just on their end.)
    Do you feel any better that you are not alone? 😀

  2. Linley permalink
    January 20, 2011 9:58 am

    We had Tang in Morocco. Had forgotten all about it. It’s considered “juice.”

    I rode the city buses in Cairo when I went. Impressed the heck out of my friend Tarik.

  3. Renate Strina permalink
    January 24, 2011 7:12 am

    Hi Karin,

    Your new assignment sounds exciting – I already read your first blog on the site, which comes just in time for my interview for citizenship on Jan. 27th ***wink smile*** Yeah, then I’ll be an American, too, but I’m able to keep my Italian citizenship as well. Thanks for your continued posts/blogs – really educational! Greetings, Renate 🙂

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