Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Outing

Going to the market is NOT enough excitement for one day. Especially during Independence day weekend. I took pictures of some random stuff that I thought was interesting. Once again, we rode the Metro to go downtown.

This is me locking the door. Our keys are different than the ones we have in the USA.

This is the steepest wheelchair ramp ever! Could you imagine pushing someone up, or even worse, down it? I’ll bring a ruler someday and calculate the slope. Yes, I am a math nerd!

This is me crossing the “Do not cross” line at the Metro.

I live in “Ah-bah-lawn.” That’s how you pronounce those odd looking characters.

This is me in downtown Kiev. I was at Independence square.

Here I am in front of the “Women of Ukraine” statue. She symbolizes the strength and power of the women in this culture. The women in this culture are strong leaders.

I read in my Ukraine history book a legend about the founders of Kiev, Ukraine and how the name came to be. “According to legend, it was Kyi, together with his brothers, Shchek and Khoriv, and sister, Lebid, who founded Kiev and gave it its name.”

This clock is made out of flowers.

Independence day celebration set-ups. The day of the concert would be Monday, on their actual Independence Day—24 August.

This is a music conservatory.

Pretty fountains.

Closed street due to weekend. Khreschatik is closed to cars every weekend.

Chestnut trees Christmas lights. One of the symbols of Ukraine. On the Metro token is a Chestnut leaf.

Ukraine Flags.

City Hall, Mayors Building.

First day of school is always the 1 Sept. even if it lands on a Saturday. It is considered a holiday. A senior, will take a first grade girl, to ring the bell, to signify the start of school—it is called “The Day of Knowledge.” Children go and meet their teachers, celebrate, and then go home.


On Saturday morning Masha and I went to the market to buy items for the apartment and for me to buy “house set-up goods.” That was my first Metro experience! I gave the machine 10 hrv. (pronounced gree-vins) And I received 5 tokens and three 50 copec pieces.

At the market, I purchased a nightstand, an umbrella, a nightlight, a blanket, some sheets, a garbage can, a mirror, and all sorts of good things to have. My favourite purchase was the blanket and sheets. The blanket is without down, so I am not allergic to it, and it can be one blanket thick, or two blanket thick in the winter. It uses snaps. The sheets I bought are cute, pink on one side, purple on the other side, butterflies and hearts.; very girly-girl. Since we had so much stuff, we took the taxi home. And yes, there’s a nut on every car! =)

Our new welcome mat inside of the apt. Masha and I both fell in love with this immediately so we bought it!

My new sheets--cute and girly!

In the late afternoon, Masha made Borscht. I decided I like Borscht. This was a new dish in my diet. The vegetables were directly from her families garden, double yummy! =)

First you cut the vegetables.

Then you saute them.

Boil potatoes.

Smile at your roommate who is taking pictures of you making a very common meal. This is Masha, one of two roommates.

Simmering potatoes and vegetables. This will become Borscht after a few hours. I forgot to take pictures of the final meal. It was delicious though! Guess I was too excited!

Day 4 in Kiev

Opening the door. There is a top lock and a bottom lock, and to get the bottom key in, you have to lift a lever. There is a square key and a round key and they are very difficult to copy--that is good.

Front entrance. We now have a shoe rack. Go straight and you enter the kitchen. There is a toilet room and a shower/sink room on your left.

We are on the first floor. It's kind of like a split level house though, to go to the first floor, you walk up some stairs. This is where our mailbox is--you walk up to the in between first and second floors.

My apt. is where the open door is. On the right would be our neighbors. I have never seen them.

This is our kitchen. Complete with a microwave and a gas stove! I love looking out the window, there are always people sitting and conversing or playing at the playground!

This was the big day for me, I was moving into my apartment. I was really apprehensive and scared about moving into my own place. It’s one thing in America, where you know the language; it’s another in a foreign country, where everything is different. The toilets are not the same, the light switches are different, and the list goes on, but none the less, it works, and people have lived just fine for centuries.

I was worried about quite a few things, so I made a list. Mom taught me well. I then shared this list with Dai and Neva and we came up with an action plan and prayed about the things that were bothering me. Some of them we were able to take care of immediately. For example, I had no food. I had no towel. I had no cooking utensils. I still have no bed. And I hope to buy a scoff soon. The unknowns can be quite scary. In the USA everything seems easy, here, it feels quite arduous. I am not sure if it really is more difficult, in fact it might be easier, but for me, every little decision is huge.

Neva took me to Billa (kinda like a HEB) and Jyst (kinda like a Bed, Bath, and Beyond). I was able to purchase towels and food. Neva helped me with purchasing foods, things like I recommend this, Americans like this, we eat this, etc. You can buy this, you won’t find this, but this is sort of like it... Neva’s help was wonderful and put me much more at ease. It was good to look at beds and have a clue as to what I might want to purchase at a later date.

In the late afternoon, Dai took me to the apartment, and I met one of two roommates, Masha. Masha is a wonderful young woman! She is brilliant and a very good teacher, soon to be my Russian teacher! She speaks Ukranian, Russian, English, and a little French and Italian. Masha is 28, and people keep saying that we look similar. Hahah!

Masha loaned me her mattress for a few days, until our third roommate, Vala came. Masha slept on Vala’s bed for a few days. Meeting Masha was exciting and overwhelming! Thankfully, her English is quite good! We quickly found similarities—love tomatoes, scared of dogs, love sunflower seeds, love Jesus (okay, we already knew that!)

That first evening Masha and I went to the Supermarket across the street to purchase a few things. She helped me purchase face wash. The first night was nerve wracking and exciting. I’m certainly NOT used to loud apartments with weird noises. I woke up every couple hours, “Is it morning yet?” “Darn!”

Day #2 and #3 in Kiev

I slept until 9:30AM. 12 hours, not bad for me. Sleeping past 6AM, whoa now! I found some Honey Nut Cheerios and ate those for breakfast. Another odd thing, I don’t tend to eat cereal at home, unless it’s for bedtime snack. I lounged around most of the morning, trying to stay awake, and not do too much, as my body has been quite sick the past month in a half. Around 3:30PM I made use of the exercise bike, and showered. That was a big deal, a good one too! Aren’t you proud of me Mom, I forced myself to exercise! On my first day I had gone for a short walk in the neighborhood with Neva (Dai’s wife).

For dinner we ate cabbage and tomato salad, fresh from the garden, and had a cookout—potatoes, polish sausage, and hotdogs. Two other American missionaries joined us—Sarah and Lisa, they had both come in from Idaho, both of them have been here before, and are coming back for more of Ukraine!

Thursday was a good eventful. I exchanged some money, went to the second hand shop, Humana (Hugh-ma-nuh), and went to the orthodontist with Neva and her son’s—Casen and Nick. I then went with Dai and Jessica to pick up a new missionary at the airport, Jody. I was excited to go to Kiev Boristol Airport, this time not so zonked. I took a couple pictures, as I was too worn out the day I actually arrived.

Once at the house I helped make cabbage and carrot salad, and pizza for dinner. We (Wysong fam, plus myself, Jodi and Jessica) went downstairs to the basement to enjoy fellowship and dinner, watching Madagascar 2. I enjoyed the movie and the time I spent with the Wysong’s.

I’m Home!

Dai greeted me with a hug and pushed my cart to his car. I was very thankful, as I was exhausted and had little energy. We went to the apartment where I would be living for the next year, to drop stuff off, show me the place, and allow me to create a smaller bag, to take to his house for a few days. This took a little while—I had a lot of stuff packed in there, and it was hard to decide what I would need for a few days. I really was tired! My new home had a couple “Welcome” signs that Vala (Vall-yuh) had made for me. And some fresh flowers—not so fresh in the pictures, I took the pictures later.

Dai explained a couple things to me about culture and practicality and then off we went to the school. I met a couple people at the school and saw my new classroom—1A. Cute little room. It looks like I will have no more than 15 students for each course—6th grade math, Algebra 1, and Pre-Calculus. The school is not too archaic. They are currently renting part of the building from the deaf orphanage. Kiev Christian Academy hopes to have their own building sooner than later.

Dai then took me to his home, where I stayed for the next three days. This was a huge blessing! I was able to acclimate to the new culture, in an “American” home setting. Tuesday, the day I arrived, I forced myself to stay awake all day—until 9:30PM. I ate an apple slice, some bread, some cheese, and some ham for lunch, oh yeah, and a Kool-Aid popsicle that I spilled all over myself. Neva (Dai’s wife) and I ate our lunch together outside. The weather right now is quite nice—moderate temperatures, sunny, and blue skies. I can’t remember what I did the rest of the day, probably read some, I helped out with dinner—we ate cabbage and pepper salad, and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.

In the evening, Neva (Dai’s wife), Kayla and Kerah (two of Dai’s children, the girls), Jessica (another American missionary), and myself played a game of Guesstures. This kept me awake until 9:30, which was when I decided to go to bed.

Flights #2 and #3

As soon as I got off the plane in Atlanta, I walked straight to my gate. I called my Mom and told her about my first flight and told her that I was okay. I asked if I could please board early. I was told yes, and wait by the wall. I was then boarded in the middle of first class. Our plane was very large. There were TV screens at each seat and plenty of complimentary movies, games, and TV shows.

The couple I was seated next to were a blessing!
The wife had the middle seat and was excited about what I was going to be doing and where I was going. She had a bracelet that said, “Faith” on it. I told her that was my name. We continued to talk and had a wonderful plane ride together. Her husband was also quite nice. During the flight, we played plane trivia together. The three of us kind of teamed up, although, I kept one game, and her and her husband kept another. On the trivia game you played anyone who was playing, on the airplane. I won once! My new friend even high fived me!

Upon arrival, I once again, waited for people to exit the plane. I then walked straight to my gate at JFK. That was a much smaller flight, but people standing in line everywhere. I finally found some English speaking people and asked them if they were in line. After learning most people were not in line to speak to a representative, I went straight up to the counter and asked to board early. I was told, “Yes; just wait a minute, stand right in front of me.” I was the second person to board the plane. One other lady had just boarded the aircraft.

Sitting next to weird people on long flights does not equal cool. I was blessed to be sat next to a 13 year old Ukrainian girl that spoke English and Russian—and a wee bit of Ukrainian. She was nice, told me about her holiday in the USA, and did not take too much seat room! Yay! She even helped me fill out the customs and immigration form. The flight itself was fine. There were two movies on the bigger screens, the plane was much smaller than the last flight, so no nice individual screen.

Our flight was 10 hours long, but actually took 9 ½ and we were 30 minutes early, which supposedly rarely happens. Upon arrival at Kiev Bristol Airport, I was asleep, and my new little friend had to wake me up. I waited until she got off, to leave the plane; I had the window seat, and as an unaccompanied minor, she had to wait for the stewardess.

Passport control was a breeze, just a lot of waiting. I mean a lot of waiting. I was the last person to go through—Murphy’s Law of Lines applied to me! By the time I made it to baggage, the bags were no longer going around the corral; I just went and picked up my bags. And yay—all three made it!

In order to exit into the city, you go through customs control. The only thing they questioned in my bag was all my contacts. But after explaining that they were dailies and you wore them every day and then threw them away, they seemed satisfied and let me go “into the city.” When I exited the doors, I walked out, and was greeted by Dai Wysong, the headmaster at the school, and my new friend.

Walking into the city, out of the airport.

Ukrainian and English sign.

Dai Wysong and myself.

Terminal B, where I was picked up.

Parking Lot at Kyiv Borispol Airport.