This is a long one (btw Cody I did some research on some stuff, check it out)…
Guess where Jonah and I had the opportunity to travel this past week? Kiev, Ukraine! We weren’t sure when was the next time we’d see Cody so we met him in Ukraine (Nick was unable to get leave so soon). We were able to hang out with Cody and his companion Elder Hovorka (who was in the MTC with him and will be going home with him in June)in Kiev for three days. Those two were the best personal interpreters, tour guides and baby assistants I’ve ever had!
We arrived Thursday at the Zhulyhany airport (reeeeally small airport). When we first landed I thought we had hit something because there was a clicking noise, then I realized everyone was clapping. I am told it is customary in Europe to clap when a plane lands. As soon as the plane landed a young woman volunteered to help me and took Jonah by the hand into the bus that takes you from the plane to the airport. There were a lot of people between me and Jonah by the time I got onto the bus but when I looked over to him an elderly woman was getting up from her seat to let him sit down. I could not believe it. Of course he didn’t sit too long once he realized he couldn’t see me he came to find me. Then he shoe fell off and all the little old ladies around me were trying to get it back on. I have never felt so helped in my life! Elder Woodbury & Elder Hovorka were waiting for me. We headed off for my hotel which had an insanely small elevator (see photo below) It was near a Billa grocery store (we have Billa in Italy too!). So we got groceries and made plans for the next few days.
Friday we began our adventure and I had my first of many rides on a Ukranian bus. They pack into those buses like nobody’s business. And when there is no standing room left, they grab the door and swing into the bus when it closes. Regardless of how full the buses were though, as soon as people saw Jonah in my arms someone gave up their seat. Ukranians do not smile at each other so they can tend to look very intimidating, but despite their hard looks and blunt ways they are sooo helpful!
Photo of us waiting on the bus while our driver took a 1/2 hour break:
So Friday we headed to the Pyrohovo Museum of Folk Architecture. It is an outdoor museum of 17th-20th century wooden cottages and churches divided up into seven “villages” representing the areas of Ukraine. There are “bob’s” (Cody’s word for old ladies…) wandering around reenacting what the village people might have done. One Bob in particular was very excited that the Elders spoke Ukranian (and not Russian, most people in Kiev and west of Kiev actually speak Russian). She took us into a grass hut and told us a little bit about it, she was adorable.
She told us that about 16 people would have slept in this little house. Several on the floor and the kids up on top of the oven to keep warm.
This little Bob was so funny. She was selling stuff and was a good saleswoman!
Afterwards we went to the mission office which is right next to the brand new temple. I met the mission president and lot’s of missionaries. Jonah took a nap in the hostel next to the temple that is for people coming form Russia and the surrounding areas to go to the temple (it’s super cheap for them). Afterwards we met up with another Elder (Parker?) to go to Domino’s. That’s right, the American pizza place. LOL. Here’s Jonah loving his time with Uncle Coocoo at Dominos:
After stuffing our faces we went to a big mall to look around. The thing that surprised me the most about Ukraine was the way the apartment building look. They are definitely reminders of the soviet union, the Elders laughed when I said they looked like they should be condemned buildings. They came in all shapes and sizes but pretty much all looked the same (see below). They even looked crappy from the airplane when we were landing. Cody says some of them can be pretty nice inside, you just never know. But they like to put styrofoam on the outside in the winter which looks pretty bad, and they all build their own sort of “covering” for their deck which can look pretty bad as well.
I’ll tell you about Saturday in my next post!