Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Day In Kiev

(Steve, on the phone at gate seven where we waited for our plane in Knoxville)

(Our view from our kitchen window)

( The pizza we had for lunch. It was soooo goood! Those red things are the pepperonis)

(Steve and Dima )

(part of the church wherre the Cave of the Monasteries is. The fog today was so thick that we could barely see the top)

(There were many different mini-museums surrounding the church as well. Here I am in the Holograph museum with some Czar)

(My dinner this evening. It was really yummy even though the photo may not show it)

I have never,until now, flown overseas. It is not all that fun. I am pretty sure that, even in first class, it would have been uncomfortable. We were fortunate to be able to fly over from Washington to Kiev in economy plus which is one step up from coach but a few steps down from first class. We watched one movie, then another, then an episode of CSI and finally, an episode of Everybody loves Raymond. The flight itself was six and a half hours long. The first 3 weren't so bad...

We arrived, got to meet our Facilitator, Valentina, and our Translator, Alla, who were holding a sign bearing our name, at the airport after we had struggled our way through customs. (Not that they gave us a hard time; it was just tricky to fill out the forms when we hadn't really slept in 24 hours.)

Our driver, Sasha, deftly whipped us through traffic and I quickly discovered that I would be better off not to pay much attention to his driving! We were going FAST--no seat belts, either. We stopped at a grocery store and bought a few things to get us by for right now and then to settle things about our apartment. Some discussion in Russian (or Ukrainian, I don't know) and the exchange of bills and we were off to find our place.

My first impression was to wonder what kind of place this was going to be. The outside was dingy, though it must have been quite nice at one time, the doors worn and old looking. The inside hallway wasn't much better:In need of paint, cement floors that had been worn shiny with time and not by buffing, dark and also dingy. None of the doors seemed to have numbers. I don't know how They managed to pick ours out!

We walked in through a door which lets us into an entry area which contains our door and two others. Instant difference. Remember in The Wizard of Oz when all is black and white and Dorothy opens the door and there is instant color? Picture that--only no Munchkins. Now we had light and color on the walls, a warm golden. Three doors in front of us; all different. One heavy and deeply beveled, Ours, the tallest, about eight feet high and another that is probably seven feet tall and wide. (Interesting since most doors in the U.S. are standard sizes, particularly in the same building. ) We opened the door with our key (which is really cool looking) and came in. We have a kitchen and bedroom and bathroom. Nothing fancy but nicer than a hotel room. And phew! a regular toilet! Our ceilings must be 15 feet high. Which surprised me. I will try and post pictures. Maybe tomorrow.

Today, we went for a tour of Kiev with Alla's son, Dima. He was a great tour guide. We wanted to see the underground Mall, the metro (the deepest subway in the world) and Steve wanted to see the cave of the Monasteries. The Mall looked like an American mall so we can say we've been there but we weren't there long. The Metro was pretty interesting. You go down two sets of really loooonnnnnggggg escalators to the bottom. Dima said I could take pictures but that it is actually illegal. I opted to borrow one from someone else. We were moving so fast I didn't really want to let go and get out my camera!

The best was the Caves of the Monasteries. What a completely unique experience! We couldn't take pictures so you will have to rely on my descriptions. We did take pictures of the outside of the buildings. This is an area built under a church and its outbuildings so we have pictures of the buildings, if not the caves. The caves were dark and unlit, except by candles. Dima told us that he took an American woman down once and she got panicky in the close quarters, dim light and stuffy air and fainted! Turns out she was claustrophobic! Not us, we made it just fine. I had to wear my hood for a head covering and we carried candles. We passed quite a few mummified monks and many people crossing themselves and praying. The monks were not intentionally mummified and it is supposed that their preservation is a kind of miracle.

We walked quite a bit. We began the day with lunch at a local pizza place and finished with dinner at a place that I can't remember the name of (something like Gallery of Tastes, in English) but that had good Ukrainian food and had pictures on the walls of a questionable nature--to say the least! We didn't notice the pictures at first. They were in black and white and weren't that big but once we noticed, we couldn't help but laugh--We weren't in America anymore! I had borscht, Hulupci, and something like beef stroganoff and a dessert crepe which wasn't that great. The rest was really good, though.

I know I am going on and on and what you all want to know is about the kids and the appointment but you'll have to hold on a bit. Our appointment isn't until Tuesday. We still don't know what time. We will let you know when we do!

Steve is fighting to keep himself awake. It is 1:00 in TN and 8:00pm here. We slept from 5:00 pm yesterday until 5:ooam this morning and then I went back to sleep for a mid-morning nap. I am glad I did because now while Steve is miserable, I feel pretty good still! Poor Steve! Tomorrow things should be better.

Thanks for all your prayers. We are thankful to God for you all.


Kathy & Matt said...

Sounds like you've started out with a neat mini-tour in Kiev.

Thanks for sharing all the details. It makes it much easier to picture what our trip may be like.

Take care. We'll be praying for you as you prepare for your appointment.

kari said...

Glad you made it there. Seems like you are keeping busy. Can't wait to hear about the kids.

kari said...

Glad you made it there. Seems like you are keeping busy. Can't wait to hear about the kids.

Beth said...

We're glad to hear that you made it safely. Can't wait to see more pictures.

The O'Haras said...

Praying for you and your kids that things may go smoothly and that you will know that God is in control. Look forward to seeing what God has in store for you, not just for this leg but when you get home too! Prayers and Blessings!

Kathy Collver said...

I've thought about and prayed for you (and your girls in Tennessee with Grandma and Grandpa Falk) so many times over this past weekend. I have your prayer card where I remember to pray for you many times a day. God bless you...and I can't wait to hear more of your great adventure!

Love and prayers,
Kathy Collver

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you made it there safely. Thanks for keeping us updated and the pictures are great! Tuesday will be here before you know it. Praying that everything goes well.

Machelle Kelly

Purple Princess said...

Hmmm. That reminds me of Washington D.C........

Nataliya said...

What a great sightseeing day you had! We didn't have time to go sightseeing in Kiev, so maybe I'll do it next time!

I totally agree about the apartments - they all look very bad outside, but very decent inside.

And I can totally relate about Ukrainian drivers :) I guess it's the way everybody is driving over there!

Good luck with your SDA appointment tomorrow, can't wait to read your update!

Dawn said...

Continuing in prayer for you all...