Getting out of Dodge
Living the non-American-consumer life in the Old Country
by Si Brunk
I am Si Brunk, and my wife is
The Culture Change website has been an
inspiration to me and my wife. I use to work with the killing machine
"US Army" 10 years... but after discovering peak oil and energy
issues my wife and I decided to move to Europe. Now we live in Ukraine and
are soon to buy a home in a village with about 3 acres of land. We have no
car and use only public transportation. Ukraine has a great public transportation
system. We walk and ride bikes everywhere and live on $200 US a month
and that meets all our needs and more.
I enjoy life here. I don't work
anymore but am looking into farming and woodworking. Anyway we got out of
Dodge City, i.e., USA while we could. It is going to be a very, very messed
up place there in the years ahead.
We have friends here in Ukraine that
still think the USA has a future and want to go there and live. How
can we steer them right? I have laid out peak oil to them but they
write it off as a Kook theory. I
can say a few things about energy here: 75% of all electricity use runs on
nuclear power and 12% on hydro. Only 1 out of 30 people over 18 years old own a car
: There is no such thing as lawns here; people in small towns and villages or
even cities have some land and grow vegetables and fruits and store them in a
pod-vol (a small basement).
A bit about us. As I
stated I served and worked for the US Army for 10 years. Was in the Iraq
"Freedom" callup but never went there. THANKGOD!!!!! My job in the
Army was Petrol supply. So I knew a few things about Petrol and oil. Anyway I
knew about peak oil and the real reasons behind the war in Iraq and when my
contract ended I was out by January 2004. My wife, who is originally from a
small village in Ukraine, and I felt it best to sell out and move to
Ukraine... We would place all we had made in the bank and energy stocks and
some silver, gold, and live off that. It's about $225 US a month
In Ukraine the homes
and crap apartments in the cities are selling high between
18K-50K. Kiev is very high now, but in villages and towns you can buy a nice
home for about $8,000-12,000 US. Some homes sell as low as $800 US.
fair home in Mechalivka -- our town whose population is 15,000 -- runs about $3,000-6,000
The home we have has
only a well with no water coming to the house but we have a drainage system.
We have to hand pump our water and heat it on the stove. We have an inside
bath and an outhouse, a summer kitchen and a pad vol for storage of vegetables in
winter. It is about a 750 square-foot home. Also we have a place for animals and
over 14 fruit trees: plum, apple, apricots, pear. We also plan to grow
most of our foods like 99% of the other villagers in Ukraine. We walk or ride bikes everywhere or take an electric rail to the cities if need be.
Ukraine has great public transportation system and it's cheap! The center of
our town has an outdoor market and a few cafe's and stores, a park, two
churches 1 Baptist ,1 Orthodox a small hospital, 2 dentist, a furniture store,
a few appliance stores, center-of-the-region police station, and office
buildings. We don't have many cars here and the air is fresh. Our town of
15 thousand people has as many cars as a 200-person village in the USA would have.
sure beats Zaporoshia: "lots of coal plants there." That city
is 1.5 hours north by electric train. Our home is made of traditional block as
with most homes in Ukraine. Now it is heated with Liquified Natural Gas
from Kazhakstan but I am looking into a different type of heat I feel Ukraine may be out
of LNG soon because Ukrainians don't want to pay heating bills... the Germans
and French will pay, and thus Russia will cut off LNG to many Ukrainians.
photo by Galen
In our town we are
close to a forest and vineyards. The Crimea is 4 hours south by rail and the
Sea of Azov is 1.5 hours to the south of us.
As for us we are
rather simple and even more simple. We don't have real "jobs" - just
kind of do what we want. Working 10 years for the army... I have no desire to
go back to a job! Anyway why do I need to work? To buy junk I don't need?
we grow most of our foods and all I need is enough money to pay the gas and
electric... we have small property tax here, and all our bills combined a
month are only about $50 US.
I would rather live
here and work at a flee market than go back to the USA! No joke! I feel many
jobs will be done away with very soon in the USA anyway and most of them will
be doing the same as I do now: food production! Anyway $200
a month is very comfortable for us here. That's more than we need; most
Ukrainians in our town make $50-75 US a month and get by ...They are NOT miserable
people; they are lively and enjoyable, make better friends than Americans.
enjoy lively conversion with them. I also speak Russian. Money I think works
against Americans in this aspect. But sadly a lot of the TV here now is
American shit that whets the appetites of Ukrainians for more and better stuff
that really don't need.
photo by Galen
makes me sick. All I see there is fat asses and consumerism! Last night
I watched the news here and they showed America in some snow storm and I saw
100's of cars stuck in the snow: "Why the hell they were driving in
a blizzard is beyond me!" And some fat lady in sweat pants complaining
that she was stuck in the Target parking lot -NO JOKE. I think every day
"boy the oil crisis can't happen soon enough to that nation." I feel
for folks like you Jan who have to live there! I feel Ukraine will fare
much better in the post oil world, as people are use to less and still know how to
grow their own foods. I feel before this decade is out Americans will be the
place NOT to live!
On the army side I
left as a SGT. I thought while in the army "What am I fighting for? So
more strip malls will be built? So more Americans can go to Wal-Mart?
cars can be made? So more rap videos can be produced? So we can kill innocent
lives for oil so Americans can drive? I wasn't fighting for one thing
cultural! America lost its culture in the 1960s. All I was, was a hired
mercenary! Once the dollar falls many troops will leave the service left
and right that's the only reason most are there: $$$....take that away and
America has no army. I think you can see where I am coming from,
from reading Culture Change.
On energy note I don't agree with nuclear power. I can live without
electricity if need be. I just mentioned nuclear's contribution to show that
at least Ukraine will have power when the USA doesn't. In Zaporoshia we
have one of the largest Hydro Dams in all of Europe . It should be on a web
site if you google Zaporoshia hydro damn...That's in our Oblast and we get
most electric from there.
I again enjoy your
writings! They are to the point and right on.
If I have bothered
you from what I said about America please excuse me. But as for me it is a
lost cause and not worth defending! As Jim Kunstler says it was
tomorrow! I would rather work at an outdoor market and make $50 US a month
than return to America. My wife didn't even apply for a Green card and
threw away all her USA documents; she never wants to step foot in the USA
again. She spent 5 years there in college. We met at a local college in
photo by Galen
We are setting ourselves
up for the inevitable!~ PEAK OIL PRODUCTION! My wife and I feel massive change
especially for the West before this decade is out. We are doing our best to
become self-dependent. Anyway
we enjoy life here...and the freedom we have. Well I was going for a
walk today but it is 10F outside, burr....Oh on this note we've had a
very mild winter in Ukraine thus far....Global warming???
of our friends here in Ukraine is packing up and going for more money and
moving to Britain--- London at that population close to 10 million ++. I tried
to tell her a little about the North Sea oil decline and how it seems very
likely that Britain will be having to import natural gas this year.....In one
ear out the other it went.
This girl thinks Britain is
going to be like it has been for the last 50 years. I told her that island has
60 million people and can only support around 30 million via non petrol chemicals
or imports. When I think of
Britain and its future the Irish potato famine comes always to my mind...had
it not been viable for the Irish to flee and go to America they would have had
1/2 their population die off.
I ended talking with the girl and
stating "one of the last places I would want to live in the years
ahead would be London England." she said ahhh, don't worry I'll be
alright...I said "I hope...." Maybe
I am too negative but of all of Europe I strongly feel England will be the
MOST fucked up place 10 years peak oil. I have more optimism for
America's future than I do of England's.... I think Jay Hanson would agree with
me on England's likely outcome.
Write to Si at email: sibrunk "at" google.com
Si Brunk in his old life in the war machine
The new Si Brunk takes a stroll in the western
Ukraine town of Truskavets