Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2 Days of Travel

So it's currently 6:35AM here in Chernihiv, Ukraine. This is probably the best time to use the wifi here in the hotel because most are hopefully still sleeping (last night I'm sure the servers were overloaded with volunteers trying to access the internet that it made it basically impossible to keep a signal). It's currently 45F so my peacoat does wonders.

Anyways, so yesterday before we left for the airport in DC I felt obligated to at least go check out some of the monuments - seeing how I've never been there. Surprisingly, it was only around a buck to get down there by bus so I was stoked. Got to check out The White House (which was surprisingly a lot smaller then I was intending), Washington Monument, Linken Memorial, and just walked around the park. I was a bit jealous of all the joggers - I'd totally be down to run the 5 mile trek around all the monuments every morning.

The flight from DC to Frankfurt was long - even with trying will myself to sleep (which sadly only lasted a few hours). Most volunteers seemed to also be awake so there wasn't no lack of entertainment to be had. The inflight food and wine was actually pretty decent as well. I was forced to check my duffel carry-on (free of charge), meaning I literally had no extra clothes, no deodorant / toothbrush on hand throughout the flight which could have been a fun first challenge had it not all worked out. The hour layover in Frankfurt left me only enough time to purchase a pretzel and a beer - which I felt was appropriate to complete my cultural exploration of Germany.
my Ukrainian Visa - check out my name!
Frankfurt to Kyiv was a quick two hour flight. And was right when sleep deprivation kicked in - I napped for all but the take off, landing, and breakfast.  It was an interesting set of people on the plane; volunteers, a jewish group in all their get up, and some Ukrainians.

We were greeted with a fair crowd of Peace Corps staff once we arrived - all their flags and signs was comforting. I managed to find all my checked luggage! I was worried I'd be wearing my jeans and Cal Poly shirt for a good week while my bags were still in transit.

We hopped on a bus and drove a couple hours north to Chernihiv for our initial welome retreat. A shower and a tooth brushing was heavenly to say the least (I felt gross). I found out I'll be learning Ukrainian! While initially I though learning Russian would be cooler - I realized all the signs and transit information would be in Ukrainian meaning learning Ukrainian might be more practical. I still hope to pick up some Russian in my time here.

Our welcome dinner was pretty sweet - filled with awesome bread that tasted like angel food cake, beet salads, chicken legs, rice, chocolate, and of course tea and water.
my LCT / welcome bread passer outer

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