Monday, June 13, 2011

Definitely not in Kansas anymore!

I'm getting started at writing this blog post as I sit on my bed at one thirty in the morning because apparently my body has decided that it wants to run on a series of short naps. Travel from USA to UA actually was rather uneventful. The flight from Chicago was about nine hours and I sat next to a British girl who know lives and works in Helsinki and she had only great things to say about he city. Once we got to he airport (between eight and nine sunday morning) i immediately noticed how strangely quiet the airport was and it truly just seemed a bit too quiet the whole day. I somehow ended up going through passport control into the finnish side because i was slightly confused about my gate location, but it wasnt a problem...just an extra stamp on my passport. I didnt do much of anything in thr airport besides take advantage of the free wifi and doze off. The best sleep i actually got was right before my plane took off. I started off just being able to close my eyes for a minute or two before lookng around disoriented and afraid i had overslept. Finally i slept for about fory five minutes straight, which felt amazing considering that i slept less than an hour on the flight from Chicago. The only bad thing about my day in Helsinki was that i didnt eat anything except about a handfull of jujubes the whole day and that seven am yogurt on the plane didnt hold me over too well for the ten hours until i ate again. I'm not even sure why i didnt buy any food, oh well. 
     When I woke up from my little snooze and was getting ready to board the plane for the final leg of the trip an American guy from California who was born in Ukraine started talking to me. He told me about how he was traveling to Ukraine with his little brother and after a little bit of time in kiev he would be leaving his brother wih relatives to go work with a pastor in Ukraine. He obviously has a huge heart for the Lord and just he encouragement of a fellow believer to make small talk with coming into Ukraine was a great blessing in my day and definitely something my travel-weary self needed. God is so faithful! 
The plane took off a little late (plus the bus transportation between the plane and terimals in both helsinki and kiev added some time) so i didnt meet up with my driver Sergei until almost seven. The Ukrainian passport people didnt give me any grief at all and she didnt even ask me the purpose of my trip. But i'm not complaining one bit. Sergei drives the most soviet car ever, a lada, and he got me and my luggage safely from the airport to my home for the next two months.  We chatted a bit throughout the ride. Besides just the typical small talk he told me some things about kiev and i told him some jokes which may or may not have been funny and it was a nice little car trip. I got to see a fair amount of kiev just from the car window and it's definitely much different from Kazan. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what seems so different, but many of the structures seem more run down and i feel like half of the city or more is under some sort of unattractive construction. But it also feels very alive and I cant wait to be among all of the people walking through the streets. I forgot to mention that on the trip to Kiev i was sitting next to a women who is originally from afghanistan and has been living in kiev for 15 years and she gave me her number in case i ever want someone to hang out with or just have a question or something. 
     When I finally got to my apartment Sergei helped me bring my bags in and i met me host mom and such. She hurt her foot recently tripping on a rug in her apartment, so it hurts to walk. When i told her about my Dad's work she decided he needs to be here to fix her foot hehe. Anyhow, because of this it was decided that I would take myself to school in the morning and ask people on the street if i need help. I was thinking i was expected to take myself to school anyhow, so it didnt bother me at all. I felt good about myself when he program director called later that night and i could ovehear my host mom saying that she knows i will be fine and that i speak russian really well :) the room that she gave me is really nice. I have a little couch/bed, a place to put my stuff, a desk, tv, houseplants, and access to the balcony. I got all of my stuff put away, taking up surprisingly little space, took a shower, ate some borsch, and called it a night before ten. I defitely live in that typical Soviet apartment that Mr. G would always show us photos of in first year russian. The toilet and shower/sink are in separate rooms, the same knobs control the water for the sink and the shower, the lift is big enough for about two people, and the outside if the building just screams soviet apartments. I'm getting the real experience :)
    As I mentioned earlier, I didn't get much sleep last night.  But I really didn't feel too bad when I woke up about 7 this morning.  My host mom made me breakfast and then began my first school adventure. My host mom walked me to the entrance to the metro just because she was a little concerned about me. The metro adventure was fine except finding the connection I needed, but finding my school once I actually got off the metro was a small nightmare. After a journey of about an hour and thirty minutes I finally arrived.  Let's just say I was getting a bit flustered by the time I finally got there.  I asked probably a dozen people for directions(each of whom had a slightly different version of the "correct" way to get there) during my morning adventure.  Once I finally got to school we split into our groups and had our first morning of lessons.  There are currently three people in my class-me, a guy from Israel, and a guy from America-but I might be transferring to a more advanced level of Russian. I also met another younger guy who is from America, but he is in a different class.  I haven't met any other girls here at the school yet except the staff.  It's a little strange.  I think my teacher kind of likes having me there to translate a bit, but it's more important that I am challenged more. We had a short break during our lessons and I called mom to talk a little and then called my host mom to let her know that I had gotten to school.  After lessons I got a cell phone from the school and then we went on a short excursion to see some of the main sites of the city.  It was raining, raining, raining though, so that made it a bit less fun.  After the excursion I came back to the school, which is where I am now, using the internet and preparing to do my homework.  Interesting first day! Can't wait for more to come :D
Всего хорошего!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chels! I'm glad that you are being positive about your first school day adventure...adventure is definitely putting it mildly. I know they'll get the whole thing worked out so that you're actually studying at YOUR level of Russian. If not, demand your money back! ;-)
    Keep your chin up...and continue with your adventurous spirit. Love you lots!