Mrs Biljana Zdrale is the wife of Milomir Zdrale, sales director of the Bavaria Woltex Ukrayina, a branch of the Bavaria Woltex Company, (Munich, Germany) in Ukraine. Once, she phoned the office of Welcome to Ukraine Magazine to say Thank you. In the interview she has given to Olexandr Horobets, editor in chief of Welcome to Ukraine, Mrs Zdrale has explained:
You see, to a large extent, Im here now, in Ukraine, thanks to your
magazine, Welcome to Ukraine. When over a year ago, my husband and I were
offered to go to work in Ukraine, I wanted to find out something about your
country of which I knew very little. So, I asked someone to find some good
magazines, published in Ukraine. I think looking through such magazines
is the best way of learning a lot about a country you want to visit or live
in for some time. You can get the spirit, so to say, of the country, its
intellectual potential. Among the magazines brought to me, I found several
issues of Welcome to Ukraine. I looked them through, read articles, and
said to my husband: All right, lets go. He was surprised
I had arrived at this decision so fast. I explained I was fascinated with
what I saw in Welcome to Ukraine. Its an excellently printed magazine,
interesting articles, beautiful pictures and photographs. And bingo
here we are, in Ukraine!
Horobets: How long have you been staying in Ukraine?
Zdrale: A whole year now.
Horobets: Its long enough to come to know the country well. Have you been disappointed?
Zdrale: No, absolutely not! I can tell you this. Im a psychologist and I know for a fact that its those who are dissatisfied with themselves get disappointed. Weve lived in several countries and so weve had enough experience of living abroad. I love it here. We used to live in Germany, for example, and I can tell you I would not be able to stay there for long. Kyiv is a very beautiful place, with wide streets, excellent parks. And very clean too. I was impressed with it on my very first day here. A lot of beautiful people, especially women. Easy to socialize with. Its something that you cant help noticing right away.
Horobets: What about men?
Zdrale: Men? (laughs). Oh, probably men are all right too, but you see, I have my husband and I dont care to look at any other men. In general, men here seem to be clever and nice but still less attractive than women.
Horobets: Have you been to any other towns of Ukraine?
Zdrale: Yes, weve been to Yalta in the Crimea, a very nice place too, but its a place just to visit. Kyiv is special, its nice to live in it. I was told thereve been a lot of changes in the past ten years. From what I see around these changes must have been very positive. The country appears to be developing fast.
Horobets: What about your everyday life here? Any problems? With buying food, for example?
Zdrale: Oh, no problems at all with that. Theres enough in supermarkets of everything but I prefer to buy things at a peasant market. The quality is excellent and prices are low. Sour cream, eggs, lard, for example, are priced ridiculously low, you cant find such low prices anywhere else. I wonder why people care to buy imported food products at all! Local things are much better. Well, yes, there are certain products that are not grown in Ukraine, or grown but little, then, naturally you have to pay higher prices, in some cases, unreasonably high, Id say. We have meals at restaurants too, some of the restaurants are very good, but unfortunately the prices are too high. I dont care for American-type restaurants. I like those that serve food of Ukrainian cuisine. Its so much better!
Horobets: During the year that youve lived here youve probably seen enough to pass a judgement on cultural life. Do you find Ukraine to be a sort of a European province?
Zdrale: First of all, I do not think its right to speak of one cultural centre in Europe. Each country has its own culture and within each country theres its own cultural centre. From what Ive seen and learnt youve got enough culture to consider yourself a major European cultural centre.
Horobets: Are you a theatregoer?
Zdrale: I love theatre, concerts but unfortunately I dont get to go to see them often enough. But Ive got my favourites already. My husband and I, we often go to see exhibitions, particularly the ones that are shown in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery. For some time we lived in an apartment that was decorated by a Ukrainian painter Oh, Im so sorry I cant remember his name! When I remember Ill call and tell you. All the walls were hung up with his paintings. All those who came to see us, were so impressed. They said they had never seen anything like it.
Horobets: All that you say is very nice to hear. But is there anything that you have found you dont like here?
Zdrale: Well, yes, there are certain things that I think need improvement, like parking lots, for example. Also, I think in Ukraine you have a problem with drinking. People seem to drink too much. Its particularly bad if it involves young people. Its a bit worrying that people consume so much alcohol with so little regard for their health or job responsibilities.
Horobets: Thank you for your comments and for your appreciation of our magazine.
Zdrale: Thank you, too. And keep on publishing it! Im sure there must be a lot of people whove come to learn a lot about Ukraine thanks to your magazine.