Thursday, January 03, 2013

You Came to the Ukraine

Time is flying by since we arrived at our foreign home. The addition of school has left us little time to catch our breath. We are finally catching our breath.
All four of us started our school break on December 21st. On December 30th, we hopped on a plane to Ukraine. We are at the 6 month mark on our visa and are required to leave the country for at least a day to start  a new 6 month visa process. The cheapest option for us was an overnight trip to Egypt by bus and ferry and cheap means around $1,000 for a family of four. When we realized that a trip to Ukraine to visit our best friends for 10 days was not much more expensive we decided that was the better option. This trip was also a surprise for our friend's daughter's birthday. After a 3 hour plane ride and a 3 hour car ride, we reached our friends.
We've experienced some mild culture shock as Ukraine is miles away from what we're used to in Jordan. The fact that they live in houses...actual houses with insulation and painted exteriors was the first thing we noticed. The landscape is rolling hills, snow, trees and farmland. Much like North Dakota and nothing like our desert home. There are buildings and floors made of wood and floors are heated. The snow and cold air made all four of us cheer as we left the airport.  The advertisements on the billboards are much more scantily clad than we're used to and the people walk close together in mixed company and are fine with invading other's personal space. The headscarves have been replaced by fur hats and puffy coats. Also, the's a very big section of the grocery stores. Vodka seems to come in an endless amount of brands.
The never-ending hot water, heated housing and insulated walls are a delight to us all. It's something I will bitterly miss when I get home and huddle close to the sobba for warmth.
The kids are able to spend their time sledding, snowball fighting, playing board games, ice skating and freely enjoying their time with their friends. It's been a wonderful way to catch our breath and one we get to enjoy until January 10th.

It's not helping me practice my Arabic though and I'm trying to be diligent in studying a little every day. I've gained so much understanding in the language and am desperate not to lose ground.

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