Sunday & Monday in Ukraine

Sunday was a more relaxed day as we wound down our visit. We went to church next to the temple. It was Russian speaking (Kiev and east of there is pretty much all Russian speaking, west of Kiev is Ukrainian speaking) they had little headphones so that the senior missionaries and visitors could listen to an interpreter. (Who was Ukrainian speaking and couldn’t quite get all of the Russian translated, every once in awhile he’d go silent and we would look over to see a very confused looking missionary).

Jonah of course loved the fountain on the temple grounds. In this picture you see the church that we attended on the right and on the left is a hostel for members coming from Russia, Romania and other surrounding countries to be able to afford to stay there, very cool.
After church we headed back to Maydan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) for a leisurely stroll. On weekends they close down the main road and people are walking, break dancing, playing soccer, doing yoga, performing music and enjoying themselves in the middle of the road.
Independence square, the curved glass thing in the distance is a mostly underground mall.
I happened to snap this photo while we were strolling. Apparently Ukrainians are very superstitious people. They believe that a cross breeze will make you sick, so even in the hottest summer months they prefer not to open more than one window and they bundle their babies up like you wouldn’t believe. (One old lady yelled at us for having Jonah outside in pants and a t-shirt!) Anyways, awhile back this guy invented these plastic things that hang off your car in order to ground it so that when the static electricity builds up your car doesn’t suddenly explode. Well, people still use them and believe that their car just might explode. Pretty funny.

We wandered our way down to friendship arch (a memorial commemorating the union of Russia and Ukraine, it lights up in rainbow colors at night). The view from there was gorgeous. (Jonah had just lost his balloon, it came untied from the string so he was very upset in this photo…)
We retired early to put all our pictures onto my computer and just sit and talk for a bit at the hotel. The elders left that night (sleeper train) but my flight did not leave until Monday evening. So they arranged a taxi for me and gave me some money to buy food and I was on my own!

Right after the Elders left I realized that Jonah was not feeling too good. He was starting to get a fever. I really wanted him to be able to get some sleep but we had some very noisy neighbors in the hotel that had just moved in (gypsies I think, their kids ran wild until 1 am the previous night) so I requested to move rooms. We got settled into our new room and slept peacefully all night. When morning came, Jonah continued to sleep. I put him in the backpack and walked to the grocery store where I went up and down the aisles about ten times trying to figure out what to buy based pretty much on the pictures since I can’t read Cyrillic. At 12 I checked out of the hotel and went down to my waiting taxi. Jonah was still asleep and his fever was getting worse.

We got to the airport and I decided to try to find a pharmacy (they have them everywhere in Europe). I pulled my luggage behind me and pushed the stroller in front of me. No one spoke English so I kept walking. Finally I found someone who spoke English and she told me there was no pharmacy near by. So I did the only thing I could think to do, I bought the kid some ice cream, walked back to the airport and put cold wet wipes all over him. I asked several airport employees if they had a first aid kit or medical help of some kind, they all said no. So I held my breath and my tears and waited for my flight. People had started to notice that Jonah was really sick and were talking to me in Ukrainian, Russian and Italian. I have no idea what they were saying, only that they were concerned. I was worried that he would start having seizures because his fever was so high, and he never really woke up. We made it through the flight and when I got off the plane everyone wanted to help me. The passport line was long and everyone from my flight kept telling me to cut (in all different languages of course) but I felt bad. Finally the woman who had been sitting by me on the flight started yelling, the only word I understood was “mama” I assume she said something like “let the mama through!”. And the sea parted. I was allowed to the front of the line and rushed Jonah out to Nick. My luggage was the first one to come out and we were off. We got Jonah some tylenol and a cold bath. He is doing much better now. I am so grateful to all those people for being so kind to me, even though they knew I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, they still tried to comfort and help me.

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