March 16, 2013

Ukraine Update

Posted in Adoption, Blogging, Cats, Ukraine at 11:32 am by catsinboxes

After a busy morning and early afternoon, I’m back in our apartment and have some time to catch up and write a blog post.

The main train station in Kiev was so neat; it has gorgeous architecture.

This is my third full day in Ukraine.  Wednesday evening, I arrived in Kiev.  From Kiev, I took a an overnight train to our city.  Apparently the Germans bombed Kiev’s original train station during WWII, so the current station is post-war era.

I really enjoyed the train.  Amanda, who I’m helping, likened it to the Hogwarts Express, and I agree with her!  I had my own compartment with a door and a lock.  Inside there was a little table coming out from the wall and two seats/beds.  They were pretty narrow, but after all of my traveling, I was ready to sleep on anything!

After a good -though intermittent- night’s sleep (I think I woke up every time the train stopped at a station!), I got up in time to be ready to step off the train when it got to my station.  I did, and shortly thereafter was at the apartment settling in, unpacking, and getting ready for the rest of the day.

I passed this church on the way to the apartment.

Rather than continue to detail a step by step chronology of the past few days, I’m going to share some pictures and initial impressions of Ukraine.

The buildings:

A lot of the apartments are soviet era, so they look very much alike: same architecture, same playgrounds.

All very utilitarian.

This pack of dogs lives near our apartment.

The animals: there are a lot of dogs that are practically feral, but they are not afraid of people, they just roam the streets.  Some get scraps from the old ladies who have little stalls along the sidewalk.  Amanda and I are dog lovers, so if we can, we will stop to pet any dog, or cat.  I know it’s a pretty obvious sign that we’re crazy foreigners, but we don’t care!

We befriended this cat on our walk this morning.

The people:

Typically, Ukrainians don’t smile at a stranger.  I didn’t realize until now how culturally I’m programmed to smile and nod at anyone I pass!  This is such an interesting culture that is quite different from our own.  I love seeing the different sides of Ukrainian culture the longer that I am here.   It’s neat to watch children in any culture, and I’ve loved observing the families here.  You can tell that family is very important, and that children are loved.  At the same time, it is so sad to know that there are over a hundred thousand children in this country who do not have families to call their own.  I’m very glad that I can be here to help with two little girls who are orphans no more!

Spending time with Vika and Lena

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