Sunday, December 02, 2007

Backpost #2

Immigration cards were passed out on the plane for anyone who was not a Ukrainian citizen. We filled those out and went through immigration right after getting off of the plane. We then went to wait for our luggage and picked up the customs declaration form. We both filled one out and waited for our luggage some more. We thought Mark’s bag hadn’t made it, but it finally showed up (there were still many people waiting for their luggage). We headed to customs, put our bags through the x-ray machine, then went to the customs desk. He looked over our declarations (all we declared was money), asked if we had brought any gifts (we answered no) and then stamped our cards and waved us through. Past customs we walked through the doors and into a huge crowd of people, some holding signs, others asking if we wanted a taxi. We finally found our facilitator and driver and headed out. They had been waiting for about 3 hours since our plane was running late. We headed into Kyiv and went to the apartment we are staying in, close to the McDonald’s in Independence Square. It is a one bedroom apartment, typical Ukrainian style: narrow hallway with the living room and bedroom off of it, and at the end of the hallway the toilet, washroom, and kitchen. The ceilings are about 12 feet high and beautiful. After settling in to the apartment we headed to the SDA at 4pm to find out our appointment time: 2 pm. We went back to the apartment and our facilitator showed us how to get to O’Panas where we were meeting Sue and Chris and Tami and Shad for dinner. We left about 6:30 and headed out on foot to find O’Panas. We walked past the Opera House towards Moscow State University to the park where O’Panas is. It looks like a big tent built around a tree. We walked in and were seated without a problem, but both of the other couples were running behind so we had a bit of a wait. Once they arrived, we all ordered. Mark had veal and I had borsch and potato fritters. The borsch was more tomatoey than I’ve had before, but still very good. It was great to get to meet the other American couples and compare experiences to date. After that, back to the apartment to try to sleep. We were both exhausted, so it shouldn’t have been a problem, but I woke up in the middle of the night and had a hard time getting back to sleep. I finally did, though, and didn’t wake up until 11 am the next morning!

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