Our Trip: Intro
With that, I have a lot of stories to tell about our recent trip. Contrary to what we’d expected, it went well. The kids got a world of good out of it. Even I learned a lot about living in Mr. Goldie’s home town, and also a few things about the family that I cannot share here (you can only imagine). The weather was good, the food was delicious, as evidenced by the fact that I have gained seven friggin pounds. Now I have to find a way to get them off while simultaneously partying and camping with our friends. This is going to be a challenge.
Mr. Goldie, this world-famous procrastinator, is in charge of the pictures, so, if all goes well, you should expect to see them shortly before Christmas.
The travel was relatively uneventful, and took 24 hours one way. We flew to Kyiv, with one connection (in a calm and peaceful city of London), then my BILs hired a mini-bus to take us to the destination. It takes six hours on the bus, the ride is very comfy, except that on our way back to Kyiv, the driver kept nodding off and actually falling asleep behind the wheel, but luckily nothing bad came out of it. Somebody at the airplane companies must be reading my blog, because at each of the four flights, we got seats right next to the bathroom. No doubt, that was done so we could take a break from the “nine people, one toilet” arrangement.
We came with a lot of gifts, and left with a lot of souvenirs. For the kids, I bought the latest and greatest magnetic construction sets. I also ordered rubber bracelets for the kids, but they never came (the bracelets, not the kids), so I’m going to ask for my money back. And, Mr. Goldie and I picked up some nice kids’ clothes at Kohl’s. My MIL was asking for a hooded sports jacket, which are now conveniently out of season. I searched high and low and found an Adidas jacket for her at Marshall’s (they only had one). On top of that, Mr. Goldie ran out at the last minute and grabbed a few Barbie dolls and some of those little metal cars. Guess what was the biggest hit with the kids. The Barbie dolls and the metal cars. Forget the magnetic sets; Barbies are more important. What is this world coming to? It also turned out that my MIL really wanted a windbreaker, so we gave her I12’s. It is in good shape, as I12 has only worn it twice in his life. For the rest of the winter, he carried the windbreaker in his bookbag, to prove to the world that he is a tough, cold-resistant guy. His name is written on the label in big letters, but MIL either didn’t notice or else she does not mind.
It seems as though we could have put a lot less work into picking out our gifts. The ones that were the easiest to find, proved to be the best. Go figure.
When we were leaving, the family surprised and embarrassed us by giving us tons of gifts. Plus we bought a few on our own. We now have all kinds of authentic, hand-made-in-Ukraine stuff like vases, ceramic figurines, etc; a rushnik that our neighbor personally embroidered; a “walnut” cookie mold that I had tried to find for eight years; a kazan, which can be described as a “Middle-Asian wok”; a couple shawls; and lots and lots of blanket covers (sorry, I’m afraid we’ll never learn to sleep under the sheets! – it’s a Russian/Soviet thing!)
I also really wanted to buy a book that I had seen on a Baptist book stand (no offense to any of the Baptists present), but I didn’t buy it at once, and, when I came back, the entire book stand was gone. On the cover, there is a picture of two teenage girls, and then the title goes like this:
HOW TO PROPERLY FIND A HUSBAND
CONVERSATIONS WITH HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS
These are not three different topics… nope, the book teaches high-school girls how they should go about finding a husband during their adolescent years! Priceless.
More on our trip later – I’m off to continue going through my blog roll and catching up on things…