Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

I Made It!!!

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

After a tearful good-bye with the parents, I boarded the plane to Munich for the long flight over the Atlantic, enjoyed a 5 hour layover in one of the weirdest airports I’ve ever been in, boarded a second plane to Kyiv and landed in my new city!

Kaley (my roommate)’s and my apartment is fantastic!!! It’s even better than the pictures our landlord sent us. We each have our own room (and the beds are mighty comfy) and there is plenty of storage for all of our stuff (probably a good thing since we’re both girls with 2 big suitcases full of clothes and shoes).

We explored the city some after I got in and it really is gorgeous! Within one night: we saw/heard a protest, found a great 50′s style restaurant, went to a drug store, crossed streets underground, got hit on by a weird guy and figured out how to get back home without getting lost. Pretty productive night if you ask me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today we are both still adjusting to the jetlag (I couldn’t stay awake, she couldn’t stay asleep) and went to the park across the street from our apartment building. We got breakfast from a vendor there (crepes with apples mmmm) and I even got complimented by the woman in line in front of me for pronouncing my order right! The people here so far are really nice – they can tell I’m trying at Ukrainian and smile when I get something right :) Most of the people we’ve come across don’t know English or only know a few phrases but they try to help us (ie: lots of pointing at the pictures on the menu at dinner last night) and are really patient with us which is good. I’m already picking up a few phrases, so hopefully within 10 months, I will be practically fluent…haha we’ll see.

After breakfast in the park, we went to the grocery store and everything is so cheap! Only downer is we ended up buying Kaffir (a sour, milk drink) instead of regular milk, so, sadly, I will not be having cereal for breakfast tomorrow. The rest of today we spent unpacking and making our apartment feel like home.

Tomorrow we’re going to go by the Fulbright office and to our university (Kaley went on Monday, I need to check in) and back to the grocery store to buy actual milk this time! I can’t wait to spend days exploring the city with just me, my camera and a map though! Exploration day 1 will probably happen sometime this week – pics to come!

Here we goooo…

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

When I started applying for a Fulbright grant last September, I never thought I would actually get it. I remember going through the process (which wasn’t the easiest thing I have ever done, let me tell you) and thinking “well this is a long shot…thank God I’m also applying to (fill in a company, organization, fast food chain name here) so I will actually have a job once I graduate and become a real person.” But, lo and behold, June rolls around and a nice little email pops up in my inbox telling me I got the grant and Kiev would be my home for the next 10 months. After a brief period of jumping up and down, crying, and calling/texting everyone I knew, it finally sunk in: I got the Fulbright.

Once I could feel all my limbs and remember my name again after the excitement of finding out, I had to start focusing on the journey ahead. Step 1: buy more winter clothes. Kiev is much colder than Virginia. Step 2: find somewhere that is selling winter clothes in the middle of July. Step 3: start learning Ukrainian. Step 4: settle for learning the Cyrillic alphabet. Step 5: well, you the get the idea.

As my “to do” lists started piling up, I decided to start a blog to keep track of my journey from Virginia to Ukraine and back. So, as my September departure (I don’t have an exact date yet but I will let you all know as soon as I do!) draws closer and my nervousness about the path ahead increases, I invite you all to join me as I take on the world (well, maybe just Ukraine) via this blog.

I’ll try my best to post often and I  guarantee a good story or two as I immerse myself into a new culture and lots of research.

So, here we go – time for my Fulbright dreams to become a reality!