>> Sunday, September 18, 2005
Hello from Ukraine! We made it successfully here, with only minor hiccups, the worst of which was that we weren?t able to buy a train ticket from Kiev to Krivoy Rog. We got to the airport and found out from talking to other people that all the tickets were already bought up; it being the weekend, most of the students in Kiev were heading home already.
So, after calling around to see what our options were, our friends the Tkachenkos graciously made the trip up to Kiev in their car to pick us up; that?s a long haul and we?re grateful for the help ? thank you, Sergei and Elena!
Leilani was an absolute rock star during pretty much the whole trip. I was personally most worried that she?d have trouble with the pressure in her ears, since I remember a horrible time when I was young where I fell asleep midair and woke up on the ground with the most killer headache from the pressure change. But not our girl! She slept and ate through most of the trip, including the time when Sergei was driving us. That was pretty nice as we were able to watch both of the in-flight movies (Monster-in-Law (okay) and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (better than I thought though I still wouldn?t have gone to see it in the theatre had I known more of the plot). When she was awake, she didn?t cry very much, though we probably helped that by keeping her busy, walking her up & down the aisles, and so forth.
It?s good to be here again, although there are certainly things we gloss over in our memory. Actually, we?d never paid much attention to the handicapped-access before since we didn?t use it, but now that we?ve got the stroller here ? wow. There?s really very little in the way of being handicapped-friendly here; the ramps at the train station, for example, are either cobblestone or a nice, slippery 45-degree angle! Seriously.
In Amsterdam, we ran into a mother of three who was also on the way to Ukraine and helped her out as much as we could; her husband was still at home in the states, so looking after three young children by oneself is enough to bear, but she had more luggage than it was imaginable to take on a trip, and she looked terribly worn out just getting as far as she had. She seemed like a nice person, so we helped her move her luggage around a bit. My dad (having worked for the airlines) will probably not believe it, but she probably had 9 or 10 carry-on pieces and probably 6 or 7 enormous check-ins (not counting the two-baby stroller, car seat, and baby-backpack, of course!). She eventually made it all the way there, but I don?t know how she got as far as she did, by herself.
And we finally made it ?home? to grandma?s apartment, looking much as we left it although with a bit more dust; for some reason it seems much more dusty here in Krivoy Rog. Maybe it?s the Fall, but everyone says it?s the metallurgical combine. We found the laptop and (obviously) have it working with no difficulty, although I?m typing this letter offline, as we need to reconnect the provider before we can send.
We took a little walk with Leilani around the neighborhood, and it?s good to have the heavy-duty stroller with us, considering we?ll be here that long. There are many more stores since we left, but everything was still pretty much in the same place we left it. We happened by our friend Natasha?s house and found her outside, so we stopped to chat for a little while. It was so good to see her again; we?d really missed her. But as it was getting dark out and Leia was getting cranky, we agreed to get together tomorrow to continue talking. Sadly, we?re not going to get as much time to see her since she?s going to be leaving in two weeks to go to Sweden. We?re ALSO not going to be able to stop to see her sister, Ira because she?s living in Kiev right now and we probably won?t have time to stop before we fly back. :(
We?re still trying to figure out how/where to go to the Crimea? we?ll have more to say on that as it unfolds, hopefully for the best.