Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Greetings from Ukraine!

So, I made it… At just after 3:00 this afternoon (local time) I landed in Ukraine’s capital city – Kiev. As we were beginning our decent I began to realize that this is nothing like anything I have ever done before. Sure, I’ve traveled by myself before but never to somewhere so unfamiliar. The first time I went to Uganda on my own, I had already been there before and had friends there and although didn’t know anyone in Congo, it was still Africa so I was at least familiar with the culture, customs, etc., it was still within my comfort zone. This is totally different and as we were landing it was like I all of a sudden realized that I don’t know a single person here and I am totally unfamiliar with the culture, the language, etc. It was a little intimidating. As I walked into the airport I was met by a man holding up a sign with my name on it. (As you said Marlene, there were no smiles or niceties, he just demanded my passport and whisked me away.) It was a VIP service that Ed had arranged for me. For just $20 someone from the airport will escort you through customs, etc. As Ed had promised, it was well worth it as we bypassed all lines and questions and were out in front of the airport with all my bags in less than 15 minutes (a little less adventurous than the Congo).

Observations so far:

#1 – I need to learn Russian. Aside from Ed, I’ve yet to see anyone who speaks English, including the guy who met me at the airport. All the signs are also written in Russian, as I knew they would be but again, it’s very different from anything I’ve experienced before. In Uganda and even in Bukavu, Congo almost all the signs are written in English/French and anyone professional will be able to speak to you in either of those languages. So yeah, it’s clear that I am going to need to learn at least some basic Russian before I can feel comfortable here.

#2 – It’s hot! A whopping 37 degrees as I stepped off the plane! Hotter than anything I’ve ever experience in Africa, go figure. Needless to say, those winter clothes are going to say buried in my bag and right now I’m kind of wishing I had brought some more cooler clothing.

I’m sure you have lots of questions about what the next few days are going to look like for me so, here’s what I know so far… For the next few days I’ll be staying in a dorm room at the local seminary. It’s nice and quiet which will give me time to pray and rest and get over jetlag and the best part is, they have wireless :) During the days I’ll be spending time with Ed, finding about more about the ministry here, touring, etc. On Friday, two girls are coming in from Krivoy Rog. They are both Canadian and are currently volunteering in Krivoy Rog, staying at the same mission’s house I’ll be staying in. So there you have it, one prayer request answered already. I’m praying we’ll connect well as there’s the potential for some really good, English-speaking friends. On Saturday night the three of us are going to take the train back to Krivoy Rog, which is when all the real fun of filling my arms with as many orphans as possible begins.

Anyway, that’s all the news I have for now. So far, so good. I’ll be in touch again soon but for now, I’m going to go sit beside the window wearing as little clothing as possible and work on my Russian :)

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Wow! So great to get a report already! I am very excited about the 2 Canadian volunteers! I will begin praying now about you learning Russian... and if you can learn that I can learn Siswati, right?!?