Day 1 ~ Flying, flying, and more flying!

I traveled on three planes to get to Kiev.  On my first flight (about 2 hours total) I felt wonderful and I really enjoyed being able to fly again.  I have only flown 3 or 4 times before.  My favorite part of the flight is when the airplane revs up its motor and we zoom into the air (take off).  😀  It makes me feel all excited.

Flight 1: On my first flight (about 2 hours total) I felt wonderful and I really enjoyed being able to fly again.  I saw a beautiful winding river.  The sunlight was hitting it in just the right way to make it look like a rainbow river. 🙂  I also loved seeing clouds from the top instead of from underneath.  I sat next to a lady who was going to Minnesota to visit with her two sons.  I got to show/teach her the Russian alphabet and we talked the entire trip.  It was my quickest flight because of her companionship.

Flight 2: My second flight was 8 hours long.  It was the trip that took me from Minneapolis, MN to Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  While waiting in the airport I sat next to a Swedish lady named Kajsa.  She was kind (but also very tired, like I was) and we talked about her visit to the US and a little about her homeland, Sweden.  I heard a TON of German being spoken in the waiting room for the airplane.  Then we boarded the plane.  She sat several rows back from me, so we didn’t get to talk again.  I sat in seat 7J.  It was right next to the window in a 2 seat row!  🙂  The rows are set up like this:  2 seats then an aisle, then 5 seats then another aisle, and then 2 more seats.

After I sat down, Francie (I don’t know the correct spelling, sorry!), my airplane neighbor, joined me.  She is from Germany, but lives in the US and works as an ecologist.  She was also very kind, and I greatly enjoyed talking with her on a multitude of subjects.

We flew over Canada, and Ireland, and England!!  I took pictures of England. 🙂  It was a very cloudy flight and I was hoping to be able to see the land, but I could not because of the clouds.  So I prayed about it.  And when we began traveling over England the clouds broke and I could see the beautiful landscapes!!  🙂  England is covered in a patchwork of browns and greens.  It was stunning.  Also, it was cool watching the shadows that the larger clouds made on the land.

For my first airplane meal (‘dinner’) I had:  a chicken, rice, and veggie (quite spicy) dish along with a bun and a piece of cheese.  They also served a small dish of cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettice, but… I didn’t eat it.  I was not very hungry on the trip, and I don’t really like cucumbers or tomatoes plain.  For breakfast (towards the end of the flight) they served a banana, a small cup of orange juice and an egg biscuit sandwhich.  I did not eat any of it, and I was beginning to feel somewhat sick, and my temperature kept switching from hot to cold.

I did not realize that on long over-sea flights they provide a TV/computer for each passenger.  So, I listened to some music and watched the movie Brave.  And after that I did the Berlitz language practice and games for Russian and German.  (numbers, basic phrases, days of the week, months, etc.)  It was really fun!  I was not bored at all.  I tried to sleep, but I was unable to sleep in such a position.

Flight 3: From Amsterdam to Kiev, we boarded a very small (in comparison) plane.  It had a row of 3 seats, an aisle, and another row of 3 seats.  The aisle was very thin, and my carry-on bag barely allowed the overhead compartment to shut (after much shoving, the compartment finally closed).  In the Amsterdam airport, my German friend helped me find the correct gate and she encouraged me because I was feeling sicker at that point.  I found the gate and then sat down on the floor to wait for my friend Lienna and also to rest because they would not check us through customs until a half hour before the flight (so I had to wait one or two hours).  When Lienna walked up I was so happy to see her!!  I felt happier for a few moments.  We decided to go and find a seat (there weren’t any near the gate) because I was not feeling good and she wanted to use her computer.  She even let me use her computer for a few minutes to update my family and FB (Facebook) friends.  I drank a lot of cold water, but none of the food we had sounded good to me at all.  My stomach told me it did not want anything, even though I knew I was lacking sleep and needed energy I could not eat anything.  Lienna offered me some string cheese (one of my favorite foods!) but even then I could not eat.  I ended up eating several bites of banana (the one from my last flight) and one bite of the cheese.  All of the stores in the airport used Euros.

We did not have the same seats in the plane, and I sat down next to a middle-aged Russian couple who spoke no English.  The lady who sat accross the aisle spoke Russian and English, and she was amazing.  I was so exhausted by this point that as soon as I sat down I laid my head against the seat ahead of mine and closed my eyes (trying to sleep).  I’m not sure if I slept or not… it’s sort of hazy and I definitely wasn’t myself.  The lady next to me was kind enough to save me a sandwhich (‘lunch’) and some water and she gently woke me up 2 or 3 times.  The lady accross the aisle encouraged me to eat close to the end of the trip, when she saw I was feeling sick and tired.  She also informed me that lying hunched over on the next seat is bad for your neck and back, so I stopped doing it because it bothered her.  I felt sick, and sort of coughed once or twice.  After I took a bit of the sandwhich I threw up.  (right after we landed)  We had quite a bumpy landing and I really enjoyed it.  And right after then… well, you know. :p  The people next to me took my sandwhich and cup and helped me leave the plane.  They were very sweet, and the one lady kept telling me it would be all right.  She even (somewhat jokingly) called me a baby, haha, because of how sick I was acting, and unable to be myself.

We went through the Kiev passport check and customs in about 10 minutes total (that is very quick) and then we went outside to find Lienna’s parents.

[Lienna’s computer is almost out of power, so I will write more later.  I am no longer sick, and after I went to the apartment that evening I felt find (only super tired).  Oh, and another funny thing was that all of my gate numbers had 8 in them.  (8, 8, and 18) 😀 ]

13 Days Until…. Ukraine!!! ^_^

It is finally hitting me that in 13 days I’ll be headed to Ukraine!!!  🙂  I’m so excited and I can hardly wait!!  Everyone keeps giving me gifts to take.  I think my gifts will max. my space and weight limits, haha. 😀

I’ll be going with a friend, Lienna.  She lives in the US, but ministers to the Ukrainian people alongside her husband.  She’s visiting her family who live 6 hours away from Kiev in a small town of 16,000 people.  We’ll also be visiting another town about 20 minutes away where most of their ministry is done.

I was encouraged to bring peanut butter, coffee (instant), and beef jerky as food gifts. 😀  I’m also taking 2 American Girl dolls, along with some clothes and accessories, that I no longer play with that children there will love.  One of the days we are going to a birthday party of a little girl.  My Russian teacher gave me 2 American history calendars to give away (one about US monuments and the other about President Ronald Reagan).

Last week, when I was cleaning a friend’s home, I was given 12 large “cloth napkin” sized fabric squares.  They are quite beautiful and I realized I could use them to make bags to take as a gift (or to sell).  Starting this week, I’ve been busy making bags.  I discovered that I love to sew.  It gives me time alone (because our sewing machine is in the basement) to think and listen to music while doing something productive.  I also love the creativity of the project.  Although I have a basic pattern, I am able to decide how to do the pockets and which fabrics go best together.

Here are some pictures of the first bag (I’ll add other pictures as I complete the other 6 (or more?) bags).  The bags are reversible, so I’ll be showing you both sides of each “bag”, but it takes 2 “bags” to make one reversible bag.

Bag 1A (side 1)

Bag 1A (side 1)

Bag 1A (side 2)

Bag 1A (side 2)

Bag 1B (side 1)

Bag 1B (side 1)

Bag 1B (side 2)

Bag 1B (side 2)  Here is the address to the pattern, if anyone is interested.  I did not measure the cloth, I simply made sure both bags were the same size.  Same with the handle.  If you are going to make pockets make sure you make and attach them BEFORE step 2.  I used the extra cloth from the handle and bag to create the pockets.  You can make the strap for the bag (step 1) after step 2, 3, 4, or 5; as long as the handles are done by step 6.

Since returning from TESOL, I’ve enjoyed babysitting, cat sitting, and house cleaning to raise money for my airplane ticket to and from Ukraine.  So far I’ve earned $325.  I’ve still got about $1,000 to go, but it’s encouraging to see that you can earn about $100 a week on odd jobs, if you go and search for them AND if you’re willing to do jobs you wouldn’t normally enjoy–and if you do them to the best of your ability.  I’ve never made this much money before (in such a short time frame).  I prayed for jobs, and God sent the right amount. 🙂  It has been enough for me to earn money but also has left time to keep up with school.

My all time favorite job (so far) has been holding a little 5 (now 7) week old baby while her mother and older brother water ski.  She’s a happy little one, and I just love to sit (or stand and stroll) with her in my arms.