Tuesday, February 5, 2013

We're Here!

We have arrived in Ukraine!  Overall our travel was pretty easy and went by faster than expected. Here we are leaving LAX:



We flew on Lufthansa and had a nice experience.  All of the flight attendance spoke both German and English and were very friendly and helpful.  On the way to Munich we were served two meals, a snack, and had hot towels for our hands.  We loved having our own "row" to ourselves (two seats next to the window), and we each had our own TV.  A long nap and a few TV shows helped to make the 11-hour flight pass quickly.

When we got to Munich we had about an hour and a half layover.  Of course our connecting flight to Kiev was on the other end of the airport, but it was nice to stretch our legs and look around. The weirdest thing about the airport was how incredibly quiet it was. There was no music and no one was talking--very library-esque. When we sat at our gate we couldn't help but laugh at how uncomfortably quiet it was.  Here's Mark during our layover:
Then, with no announcement, everyone started to get up and crowd around the gate.  I still have no idea how they knew it was time to board.  There was no method to boarding nor were there orderly lines.  Instead, it was more of a push & shove, may-the-best-man-win type of thing.  You're on!  We scanned our boarding passes on a self-service machine and onto the plane we went.  Or so we thought.  When we got to the end of the hallway, where we expected a plane, we saw a bus, which we were promptly smashed into like sardines. What we though would be a brief shuttle to our plane ended up being a 10-minute drive to a remote part of the airport.  Finally we got to our plane and with freedom in sight our captain steps on the bus and tells us that the crew was on standby and just got there so we wouldn't be able to get off the bus for 15 minutes.  AH!  Air, space, taking off our backpacks, sitting down...so close, yet so far.  After a long 15 minutes we were allowed to exit and our tiny little airplane seat never felt so good. I don't know why, but this "short" flight from Munich to Kiev seemed to last longer than the first one. I think it's because we were just ready to be in our kiddo's homeland!

Once we arrived in Kiev we stood in line for customs. It was really easy. They didn't have us fill out any forms or ask us any questions. By the time we were done our two small suitcases (which I'm very proud of by the way) were waiting for us at the baggage claim.

Then we met our driver, Eugene, who was very friendly and carried my suitcase to the car.  We got in his Jetta and away we went.  He spoke great English and I was impressed that he also speaks Russian and Ukrainian.  Triple threat if you ask me.  He pointed out the sites as we drove but it was difficult to see in the dark with the icy, fogged windows.  He took us to our apartment which is right in the heart of downtown and very close to the SDA (State Department of Adoptions), which is where our appointment is tomorrow.  It's very comfortable and we hope our next one will be similar.  Our new home has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Here's what it looks like:
Back of the Apartment Building

Entrance to the Apartment
Apartment Hallway
Living Room

Kitchen

Bathroom
Bathroom

Bedroom (Now that's what I call a headboard!)
Bedroom
View Across the Street

View Across the Street
Once we got settled in we boiled some water to drink, ate some snacks (thanks for the orange muffins mom), and went to bed around 2:30 am Ukrainian time.  We were a little messed up on our time, but it was great to be in bed after a long day.

Thank you for all your prayers and support in getting us here. We'll keep you updated!

4 comments:

  1. We are on a similar journey right now in Serbia, adopting our son. I laughed at your description of the Munich airport! We had the same experience! Very bizarre. Enjoy your time and I'll pray it goes smoothly for you!

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  2. It's almost unbelievable that you're really there! I look at pictures and think....."Wow, they're on the other side of the world and this is actually happening, Lord!" I'm thrilled for you guys!! Love you!

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  3. I'm so happy for you guys! Glad the journey was safe, and I'm loving the pictures. Best of luck! XOXOXOXOXO

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