Arrival in Kyiv!

We breezed (as quickly as possible with 6 people) through security and our flight departed from MSP on time on Wednesday evening.  We had a smooth flight and the kids did really well.  All of us got very little sleep though.  We arrived in Amsterdam on time and had ample time to hit the restrooms and get to our gate for our flight to Kyiv.

We were shocked to find the line of passengers stringing back to the next gate before our gate had even been opened!  We had ridden the moving sidewalk down there and ended up carting our kids and lots of luggage all the way back to reach the end of the line.  We were all so tired and grimy; it was hard to stand in line for a very long time before going through security again at the gate.  I think we stood in line for nearly an hour, then went through security and then got in another line to board.  The plane was completely full and we were far enough back in line and in the plane to find almost no storage space by the time we boarded.  We managed to stash our stuff mostly under the seats and took off a little late for Kyiv.

We arrived in Kyiv only a little late and landed very hard and took a bounce.  That certainly woke us all up and got the attention of everyone on board. : )  We hopped on a bus that took us over to baggage claim and customs.  We didn’t quite know what to expect going through customs or where our driver would be meeting us.  When we presented our 6 passports, we got a few smirks, until they asked us what the address was of where we would be staying.  I explained that we didn’t know it and that someone would be meeting us to take us there.  They were not terribly impressed by my answer and there were a few minutes of discomfort with that.  I finally offered that if they would allow us to turn on our laptop, we could retrieve our contact’s information.  For some reason, we did not have our driver’s phone number handy and we quickly realized that as an important detail.  I think the customs officer finally got tired of looking at me and decided to wave us through.  After we collected our 6 checked bags, we scored a couple luggage carts and loaded our total of 18 bags!  We hated the thought of unloading our carefully balanced carts once again as we proceeded towards security.  Thankfully, the security guy either took mercy on us or he thought to himself “They are certainly crazy, but they have too much stuff to be terrorists.” (Must be said with Eastern European tone and facial expression.)  He waved us through without hesitation!

Soon after, we split up and Bruce and Brian rode with one of our drivers, and the girls and I went with the other Russian-only speaking driver for a 40 minute drive to our apartment.  We rode comfortably in silence for much of the way as the girls napped.  But I was thankful that I knew a few Russian words to make light, appropriate conversation here and there to make it a friendly environment for the two of us.  He is a very kind, gentle, patient man and drives very skillfully and calmly through autobahn type traffic.  Bruce and I both love to drive and enjoyed driving in Germany very much.  But we have been thankful to be driven around Kyiv, because it really is a place with crazy traffic and amazing maneuvers to avoid collision.

We arrived at our apartment at about 5:45pm and got settled in pretty quickly.  Bruce left with our facilitator for a brisk walk to exchange some money, buy some bottled water, and some milk for breakfast the next morning.  While he was gone, the kids and I got some things unpacked and organized and I decided who would sleep where.  We are so very pleased with our accommodations – it is much more than we expected.  Our bathroom is HUGE and includes a big spa tub and a separate shower.  There is a new toilet and ample floor space, even with our washing machine in the bathroom.  This is very nice being that there is only one bathroom and we have a big family.  We also have a wide hallway with large entry way that makes coming and going and getting around in here very easy.  The kitchen is small, but I’m sure it is bigger than many and our fridge is small, but bigger than I expected.  We only have 4 chairs and a stool to sit around the kitchen table, but the kids have been taking turns when they eat or taking turns standing and we have enjoyed our time around our small table. : )  The living room is large with plenty of space for schooling, relaxing, etc.  Brian and Stephanie are sleeping on a pull-out couch in there.  Katie and Olivia are sharing a big bed in one of the bedrooms and Bruce and I are enjoying a large master bedroom with plenty of room for our “internet stations.”  We do not have wireless internet here, so we are chained to the wall, but very grateful for reliable internet so far.  I’m finally tackling trying to get caught up on my blog!

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