We're in Kiev!
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We arrived in Kiev with absolutely no complications at all yesterday, at 1:05 PM. All our planes were on time and we made it to all our gates in time, without even running. We had time to sit and relax between flights, but didn't have to wait so long that it seemed endless. We were able to sit by each other on every flight and Bill always had an end seat, which was extra nice. We were especially glad on the long trip because there was very little room on that plane, size wise. I even had an empty seat on the other side of me. In front of us, were some very bratty, whiny kids. They must have tattled every 5 minutes and must have said, "that's not fair" the other 5 minutes. The dad answered in a tone that was almost as bad as theirs. As annoying as it was, it made me think of how I must sound to God sometimes. Annoying, and whining, and saying, "That's not fair". He puts up with it all and loves me anyway and gently tells me to get over myself and see the bigger picture, please.
Our good friend, Artem, and his friend, Dima, picked us up from the airport in Kiev. We knew it was cold in Kiev. We knew it had been snowing. BUT OH MY GOSH IS IT COLD!!! We walked outside and felt that cold air and was shocked to feel just how cold it is! Dima somehow got all our luggage in his car and we made the long drive to our apartment. Bill and I are staying in an apartment owned by Karen Springs. I know two other adoptive parents who have stayed with her before so I connected with her from their blogs. Karen is babysitting her cousins and isn't here but we got to meet her yesterday and loved her. We hope we get to spend some time with her. She also works with orphans. www.orphanspromise.org I think she and Dana need to talk once Dana gets here. :)
After Bill and I got settled in the apartment and unpacked and rested a bit, Artem and his girlfriend, Anya, came back to meet us and we walked around the area for awhile and looked at the sights. We went inside a church/mission and walked around, took the subway, which is very far down underground. We rode down on the fastest escalator we've ridden on, and then a second escalator and then caught the subway. It is the deepest subway in Ukraine and the 3rd deepest in Europe. We had a wonderful dinner, which was chicken with sour cream and cheese on top of slices of potatoes and a salad. It was delish!
The walk home (after ride the subway back) was even colder but it was also great to be out with our friends, just seeing a new place. Walking on the sidewalks reminded me of when I was a kid in Missouri. We used to "ice skate" with our snow boots on the icy sidewalks or in the ditches of ice. That is exactly how it felt walking on the sidewalks last night and again today. We had to take each step very carefully because you never knew which step was going to send you foot flying. Bill caught me a few times already and, thank goodness, neither one of us fell in the process!
This morning, Bill and I walked about 10 minutes to meet Artem and Anya for breakfast at a cafeteria style restaurant. I was surprised by Artem who brought me a box of Ukrainian chocolates for my birthday. :) So sweet. Get it? Sweet? I had quiche with green peppers and other veggies and ham and Bill had a pasta stuffed with potato with a creamy sauce. I also had coffee of course (last night too).
We walked another 10 minutes to church. Their church has two services and has about 1500 members. They are in a building that is used for a theater. We loved the service! We were earplugs to hear the sermon translated. We loved the music! They had a horn section, drums, keyboard, a praise team, and a choir that swayed back and forth to the music. For those of you who live in San Antonio, I can tell you it was like a mini CBC in Ukrainian. You would all have loved it! The worship was awesome. The church was very friendly. Bill and I received a CD for visiting. I can't wait to add it to my iTunes.
I'll be posting video of the service to the blog as long as I can figure out how to do it. I may add pictures tonight before I go to bed but I probably will not proof read this before I post it so no telling what mistakes you will find. I know you are forgiving people and won't hold them against me. ;)
After church we walked back to the same restaurant that we went to for breakfast. Two of Artem and Anya's friends joined us. One of the girls who was there was on the praise team that morning. For lunch, we had the same delicious chicken and Bill also had borsch (a kind of soup) and a kind of apple dumpling that we all helped him eat because we were all full.
We went to a WWII musuem for the afternoon. Anya arranged a private, professional translator to give us a tour. WOW.....so informative and interesting. We learned a lot about what Ukraine went through during that time. Hitler was one sick man. It reminded me a lot of what I read in the book Pastor Oleg gave me, "Goodbye is not Forever", which was written by a lady who grew up in Ukraine during that time period. It's a great book by the way! We rode the subway and a few buses today and then walked home. Even though it was early evening, we took a nap. I tried catching up on facebook and email and had a blast talking with some Ukrainian friends. Some, I just connected with on facebook for the first time. These are kids who I knew from the orphan camp and now young man lives here in Kiev and we will see him tomorrow. One we will see in Odessa when we get there. Tomorrow we will also see a young man named Andrei. I may have mentioned this in an earlier post; Andrei and Nick came to our home for dinner a few months ago. They are missionaries and they use sports to minister to kids all over the world. Andrei has soccer camps and Nick is from Moldova and has basketball camps. They teach kids about God's love and salvation during these camps. Andrei will be in Kiev tomorrow so we will get together with him.
We had a great skype time with our son, Mike and his wife, Mer. Then we skyped with Dana, TJ, Trent, and David. It was great seeing our kids!!!! We miss them so much already.
ok....it's 12:45 at night....our SDA appointment is 11:00 tomorrow. Luba (co-worker of Dima) is picking us up at 10:20. I'M GOING TO BED!!!!!!!!! Pictures will have to wait. I give up.