Imagine that it's your first day in a new country, as it was mine in Ukraine in January of 2016. I had never been to Eastern Europe, let alone Ukraine or Kyiv. Imagine that you're starting to get that sinking feeling in your gut that you really have no freaking idea how to do anything. That's mostly because you can't read most of the signs on the streets or on the buildings, no one can understand you and you have no idea what anyone is talking about.
You've had a long day setting yourself up as a Ukrainian business, negotiating a baby contract and doing many other things, all in Ukrainian. It's dinnertime, and all you want to do is find somewhere near your hotel where you can eat. You think about room service, but the only TV networks you get are showing either fruit or trains.
You wander out into the freezing winter night, and even though you can't read the sign, the lighting makes a building seem like it's a restaurant or a pub or something that has food. You realize when you walk in that it is a pub or something like that, and you're thrilled - you can get beer and food here.
You sit down and grab the menu, purposely not paying attention to the fact that everyone else in the place is looking at you as an obvious misfit. You start to look at your options for dinner and see the following:
You decide to go with the bechkne, as it's the most expensive thing (about $1.50 American) so you like your chances. You see a guy with a huge, dark beer at a different table and point at that when the server comes. You're not sure what's about to happen, but you don't really care anymore.
A few minutes later, out comes your dinner:
It's a wooden platter of no-batter, deep-fried pigs' ears. That's right - pigs' ears - the 'treat' that you feed to your dogs. Fortunately, it came with ketchup, so that masked about 2 percent of the horrifying taste but sadly none of the vomitous texture. You choke down about 3 bites of this and decide to flush the remaining $1.39 down the toilet.
That's what it's like walking around in a city almost totally illiterate and barely able to communicate. You wind up with dog treats for dinner and in a strange way consider that an accomplishment.
Starting to get the picture of how quickly one can begin to feel like a total moron?