Thursday, April 5, 2012


Note: Some words will be attempted (key word here) to be spelled in Russian with English alphabet letters.

I am currently in Kharkiv, Ukraine, sitting in a coffee shop sipping on a small Americano. This is really the least interesting part of the story (albeit still pretty cool), the real story lies in the process of obtaining this coffee on my own.

V was getting a haircut and therefore I was told to return to the Salon in a half hour's time. I was also told that there was a coffee shop down the street aptly called Doma Kofe (Coffee House). Doma Kofe it was, I walked down the street and popped into a very small, modern looking coffee house, with a full wall display of the most high tech espresso machines available. I approached the counter and politely stated, "Zdrastvoitye" (a polite version of hi, akin to hello but not really).

"Adeen kofye amerikanski pajahlusta" was next on my concise plan of action in trying to obtain my coffee.

I was met with a very quick answer back, to which I had no immeadeate reply because I simply understood nothing.

"Ya ni gavaru paruski" stumbled out of my mouth, a simple explaination that meant that I do not speak Russian.

"No understand" one of the baristas said.

"Nyet ya ni panimayu" (No I don't understand)

She picked up a tin of coffee beans, opened it for me to smell and put an expression on her face that I understood for something along the lines what do you think?

I told her "Da" (yes) and she then picked up a small cup asking if the size was alright.

"Da?" she said.

"Da pajahlusta" I replied.

She then turned around and started the coffee making process with the grinding of the beans.

"Sadisse" she said, motioning for me to sit down.

"Spasibo" (thank you) I said, as I chose a seat near the window.

A couple of minutes later I receieved a wonderful looking coffee, although it was missing one thing. Milk. No problem, I had this I thought.

I approached the counter and tried saying as clearly as I could,

"Maloko pajahlusta."

The barista then asked me if I wanted hot milk. The moment between my asking for milk and my confirmation that I indeed wanted hot milk lasted a good 15 seconds because I was again in a situation where I didn't quite understand what it was that she was asking me. When she noticed this she simply stated,

"Maloko hot?"

"Da pajahlusta" was again my reply.

Within seconds I had a cup of hot milk that I used to fill my cup of coffee up all the way. I sat writing and people watching beside the window for roughly 25 minutes before I decided to head back to the Salon. I packed up my things (book, pen, camera, scarf), and put my jacket on. Before heading out the door I turned to the barista at the cash,

"Spasibo bolshoi, da svydania" I stated (Thank you very much, polite goodbye), as I walked out with a big confident smile covering my face.

An overall successful coffee going experience in a foreign country with a completely different language, in my books.



  1. Amazing job, T!! You're practically a local :) Can't wait to hear more about the trip!!

  2. this is awesome, good for you ! :)