Bittersweet Departure

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The kids and I and all our luggage outside the Kiev airport.

While we are very ready to be on American soil again and surrounded by a familiar culture, it was hard to leave Ukraine yesterday.  We enjoyed so many things about our time there and who knows when we will be able to return someday?  Bruce’s feelings are quite different at this point, since he is returning next week!  But it was a very precious time for our family and we will cherish many special memories from our time there.  We just wish we could have had Nathan (Ilya) out and about with us, instead of only seeing him at the orphanage.

By the way, I got my camera back!  One of the orphanage care givers took it home (Sergei’s daughter) and he was supposed to bring it with him yesterday when he and Igor came to pick us up.  But he had forgotten to bring it, so we had to meet her somewhere before heading to the airport.  So Bruce and Brian went to the airport with Igor ahead of the girls and I.  Bruce couldn’t check us in since he didn’t have all the passports with him, but he grabbed two luggage carts and was waiting for us curbside when we arrived.  We quickly loaded the carts with all our stuff and headed to the check-in counter.  Once again, all our bags were within the weight limit and the agent managed to get us a whole row of seats together, 3 on each side!  We went through passport control and security without any problems.

We had a safe, but another very hard landing coming into Amsterdam courtesy of KLM.  I wonder if they are hiring all the rookie pilots or what?  My dad (once an Air Force pilot) always says he doesn’t trust commercial pilots because they don’t get many flight training hours (compared to military pilots) before they are given a large aircraft full of people to fly.  Maybe there is something to that!  No matter, we are all alive and well.

We were blessed to receive two rooms right next to each other on ground floor at the IBIS hotel here in Amsterdam near the Schiphol Airport.  The girls and I shared a large room with a double bed and two twins.  The guys had a smaller room with two twins, but it worked out well for us all.  There are several restaurants within our hotel, so we hit the Italian one last night and had a very late pizza and spaghetti dinner.  It was very tasty, but the service was slow.  We got back to our rooms very late and the girls were asleep within minutes.  Olivia is still sleeping, so I am in our room with her, while the others went to breakfast. (Tuesday morning)

Our flight to MSP takes off at about 1:30 (AMS time) today, so we will need to leave (on the shuttle) by 11:00 to get over to the airport by 11:30.  We touch down in the Cities at about 3:30pm (local time) so it will be such a weird time warp.  It’s like re-living the afternoon and evening and it becomes the longest day of your life!  But I am so thankful for our arrival time because it gives us time to get settled and do some unpacking, etc. before going to bed.  Thankfully, I do not have tons and tons of dirty laundry as I kept up with it in Ukraine until we left.  But we stripped all the beds and put on clean sheets before we left Minnesota the end of March, so I do have sheets to wash.  But it will be nothing for my American washer and dryer to take care of for me!  A wash load took an hour and a half in Ukraine and then it had to air-dry.  So I’m actually looking forward to doing laundry again at home and will appreciate the process in a whole new way!

By the time many of you are waking up, we should be on board waiting to take off for the States!  Have a great day everyone!  (Unfortunately this did not get posted until Wed. 4/27, but I wrote it on Tues. morning.)


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