Kiev: there and back again

So, I’m sure you’ve been wondering where we have been and how things have turned out.  Well, let’s just say that when it rains, it pours.

First of all, our Kiev trip was pretty good.  It was nice to go visit the capital and new friends, but overall we were a bit unimpressed.   The city boasts about 7 million people, so it’s very crowded and  uncomfortable at times.  I have never been squished in a McDonald’s line, but I was there. Kiev’s main boasts are its old orthodox and catholic cathedrals.  They were definitely impressive and beautiful; but other than those, there’s not much else there…except a really nice WWII museum (although it was all in Ukrainian with no English guide).  That was probably the best WWII museum I’ve ever been to (except for Auschwitz, which is the real thing). They also have some beautiful parks, but people don’t really care and use them as trash cans and toilets.  I don’t want to put Kiev down completely, it’s enjoyable, but nothing compared to other cities like Prague and St. Petersburg.

If you haven’t heard already, I was denied a visa to china.  They said I needed to show a hotel reservation.  I explained to them that I won’t be staying at a hotel, but rather our contact (whose information they had) was setting up accommodations for us at the school where we will be working.  But, they still said no.  so, I’ve contacted our SOS directors about this problem.  Apparently, they had the exact same thing happen this week in Houston where they were applying.  Luckily, we still have a little bit of time left.  Before I left the embassy, I asked if they could do a one day rush processing since I traveled 16 hours.  She said no, that it takes at least a week, and I have to pick it up in person; they do not mail them.  So, what will have to happen now is that we will make 2 separate trips into Budapest: one to apply and one to pick it up.  These will be quick trips as we can’t take off much time from our studies.  I guess one of the good things about our life right now is that our time is very flexible.

We decided to just spend the rest of our time in Kiev sightseeing.  Unfortunately, we really only had one nice day.  The other two days were cold (which we were unprepared for clothing-wise), very windy, and rainy.  But, we laughed and still had a good time.  I’ll post some pics soon.  One amazing thing was our accommodations.  Originally, the best option we found was an apartment for $170/night.  We went ahead and booked it, but then the night before we left a friend in Kiev found an apt we could use for FREE!  it belongs to a missionary family who is in the States right now.  It only had beds and some kitchen stuff, but that’s all we really needed.  It was comfortable and, being on the 16th floor, we had an amazing view.

One night we were so excited because we found a TGIFridays.  We sat down and hungrily/excitedly scanned the menu. Then we noticed the prices…at least doubled what we pay in the states.  Chips & salsa – $10.  dessert – $10.  Chicken tenders – around $15.  We debated whether to leave or just stay – then we remembered two things: 1) the free apartment and 2) this vacation money is from the bonus rebates that the government handed out…so, we ordered nice expensive steak and salmon – about $30 each!  I have to admit, that was one of the best meals I have ever eaten!  The rest of the meals were more authentic Ukrainian cuisine with inexpensive prices; so no guilt here about that dinner.

Now, on to our return home…We get home last Friday around 11:00 am.  the city water comes on at 11; so we quickly bathe and then throw a load of laundry in the washer.  About half way through the wash cycle, it shuts off…which means that the water was turned off. No problem, we’ll just finish it later when the water comes back on…so we thought..currently,  It is now Monday evening 9:30 pm and we still have no running water…no water at all!!  we are gathering water from an outdoor spigot and storing jugs of water to be used for sponge bathing, cleaning, and flushing our toilet.  A repairman was supposed to come this morning to start repairs.  We were up at 7:00 ready for him…it is now 9:30 pm…and he’s still not here.  We called our landlady and she called him.  He said there was an emergency in a neighboring town and that he would come tonight, but he’s not sure when…maybe 10:00!!  We’ve talked to a couple of friends here about the problem, and they all have the same response “Welcome to Ukraine.”

On top of the water issue, we also lost our internet again, and our bank put a hold on our account for “suspicious activity” (which happened last month also…even though we clearly explained to them then that we live in ukraine and they will see “suspicious” activity because our arrangements are atypical) …  so, we couldn’t get any money out or call them to clear it up (b/c the internet was down).    I was finally able to go complain to the internet company today, who turned back on our internet.  So, we were able to clear up the bank issue today as well.  Now, all that’s left really is the visa issue and the water.

It’s been a very, very tough weekend, and definitely a week when i missed my family.

But God is good and has blessed us tremendously.  I can’t forget what he’s done and who He is.  We could be off a lot worse than we are, so I am definitely grateful and trying to stay positive.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cari Miller
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 18:12:40

    Ah, yes…the workings of the evil one. Everything to try and interupt our spiritual affairs and walk with God. He is ever so present and taking notes…as so it seems. But remember that God is more powerful and mighty! Check out Psalm 37:1-3, I personally like Psalm 23:4 too. May God bless you both always!

    Reply

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