Sunday, December 16, 2012

'Tis the season.

 The christmas season is upon the city. And I am spent my last few days getting all my christmas shopping done. Thankfully, Wroclaw holds a christmas market in the center every year so I can find all sorts of unique, handmade, and traditional gifts for my family. It is also a lovely place to walk around and people watch.

Tomorrow I fly home. I am just a little excited. OK, really excited I can hardly handle it. So, today is a packing party. Ilona and I have spent the day packing. We go from my room to her room and then once my laundry is done it's back to my room. We are enjoying christmas music. Tomorrow I leave Wroclaw at 1:00pm to Copenhagen to Chicago to MSP. And then I should be hugging my mom and dad by 10:00pm.

Yesterday, I took my suitcase out of the attic and laid it out on my floor, only to notice a big bulge at the bottom of the bag. I hesitantly touched it, since it was behind the linning I couldn't see it. I thought it was acorns. I was afraid to open it because I thought I may find a squirrel in it or something that had burrowed in my suitcase. After a few seconds of discussion with myself I finally, slowly, unzipped it. Thankfully I didn't find acorns or a squirrel. Unfortunately, I found a million little pieces of broken plastic. The whole bottom and back of my suitcase broke. I knew it took a beating on the trip over, but I didn't know how bad it was. Well, I taped it up and reinforced with some cardboard and zip ties. I think my dad and brother would be proud. And hopefully all my things will make the trip in one piece. I will keep you updated. haha.

I have a busy fun three weeks ahead of me. Filled with family and friends. My brother is taking me to a concert, and hopefully skiing with both my brothers, shopping with my sister, snuggling Bennett, wrestling with my dad, sewing with my mom, laughing with my brother-in-law, and hugging my sister who I haven't seen in 7 MONTHS!! It will be a joyous time. So busy, too busy for blogging. :) Merry christmas everyone and Happy New Year!

Snowy park. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I recently...last week...took a trip to Ukraine. I went with Malcolm, Ilona, and a Polish man wanted to visit his friend. We traveled by car and the trip there went very fast....maybe Malcolm would say differently but I didn't think it was too bad. We drove through the night so we hit the Ukrainian border at about 2am. This would be my first border crossing by car. For weeks now I was being told that it could be a long wait, some people waiting for 2 hours up to 24 hours. But they told me (sarcastically) it was an experience I couldn't miss. As we approached the border we saw trucks lined up, for at least a half a mile back, and I was so very thankful we were in a car. Our line was much shorter. First we had to pass the Polish border...they matched passports with faces and quickly glanced around our car. We then proceeded to the Ukrainian border where they again checked passports and our car. They also had very bright flashlights. I asked Malcolm why the two countries don't work together to have one border...if only (You must be efficient and effective, right Dad?). This statement brought laugher to the car. We made it through the border in  almost record time of 1 hour and 30 minutes! Welcome to Ukraine.

The first thing I noticed was the bumpy roads. We made it to Ilona's family's home at about 5am, where I slept the morning away. Once I was up I was introduced to her wonderful mother, father, and two sisters. I really enjoyed my time with them. The week was spent touring the city, experiencing the good coffee shops in town, bowling, hanging out with the family, listening to Ilona and her sisters sing (Ilona's music project page), attending seminars lead by Malcolm, and an english class. The week flew by!

We were in the town of Luts'k. We toured a castle built in the 14th century, and underground tunnels used for church, living, and also hiding during war. I enjoyed Ukraine very much. It is definitely a more eastern country. Here is an example....Malcolm is trying to start an christian english school in Lut'sk, so many of the meetings were based around this subject and really the reason for the trip. There is an english teacher who is wanting to head up this project and feels very passionate about the school. She wanted to get her pastor's blessing for this and felt it was very important to do. They met with the pastor and he expressed the importance of working in the church before starting a school. She was very discouraged, and didn't know if she should move forward with the school. After a few days of thought and prayer she decided she would proceed despite her pastor's feelings. This whole concept of needing to ask the pastor for permission and him not liking the idea of her working outside of the church is so foreign to me. It doesn't make sense in my mind. Different cultures.

Danka and I in the snowy streets.
I was able to experience an Ukrainian snow fall, which was quickly followed by a snowball fight. There is just something about snow that I love so much. Our trip home was about 14 hours, and 3.5 hours was spent at the border. We also hit snow on the way home, but made it safety home. It was a good trip. And I country I would love to explore more of!