It is always good to return somewhere you love. Lviv is treating me well. It has been nice to slowly return to the customs and culture of Ukraine.
My new apartment is very nice. It is a small two-bedroom apartment in an old Soviet-block building in city center. The kitchen has been recently remodeled and is very nice. It has a very efficient stove and oven, plenty of cabinet and counter top space, and a dishwasher. Sadly, we don't have enough dishes to ever need the dishwasher - but eventually my boxes will arrive and we will! The bathroom is split into two rooms, which is a nice feature when guests are over.
The neighborhood is quiet and safe. The building is very secure. Each apartment has its own door code for the front door, and the apartment itself has a sturdy wood door. I feel very safe in the apartment, and the hallway is always well lit and I never feel unsafe. The building also has a (somewhat rickety) elevator - which is an oddity for city center.
I live with a good Ukrainian friend who helps me understand Ukrainian culture and language better every single day. It's good to have someone to talk to and to help me process through things - it was very frustrating before (when I lived alone and then lived with non-Christians) to not have anyone to help me process through things. We found a cat already. His name is Mefodyi (Мефодій) named after one of the first missionaries to the Slavic world - Methodius.
Each room in the apartment has a giant window and a spacious balcony. The view isn't tremendous (the view from the stairwell side of the building is breathtaking!) but at least we don't have neighbors five feet across from us looking in our windows. There is an old building with a few offices, but at night there is no one behind out building.
The biggest drawback is the tremendous hill and the long hike to get to the apartment. One road is a little less steep, but it's further from the center. Behind our building is a large staircase to traverse the hillside. The stairs are in really bad shape and poorly lit at night. There is also a trail through a wooded area that is steeper, but a little prettier. I keep hoping to find some shortcut on level ground ... but so far I have been forced to put up with the slopes! This is also nice in some ways, though, because it makes the neighborhood more secluded and keeps the monthly rent low for an apartment so close to city center. It's only 5 blocks from the main square - but two of those blocks happen to be very steep!
Every day is an exercise class, and I feel healthier already. I'll try and post some pictures of the apartment as we get each room settled.