Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holidays in Ukraine

Yesterday we had quite an adventure after finishing up at TGI Fridays. There was an icy surface under the beautifully lit archways along Kreshatyk that made walking upright a bit of a challenge. We got to the Metro entrance and again headed for the end of the blue line. We had been told we needed to get on bus 38K, look as much like Americans as possible and try to stay toward the front of the bus after telling the driver which stop we were looking for. The driver nicely let us off at the Meer Hotel as we'd asked but I really didn't know where we were supposed to go from there. We had the written address of the church we were heading to so tried to find that building number. Finally we passed in front of a fire station and found out from the guy spreading de-icer that we weren't actually on the right street. We were supposed to go the other way at the intersection at Meer Hotel so we precariously headed and slid in the right direction. Sure enough we eventually ended up at the right place and had a very enjoyable visit with a Ukranian young man and two men from Egypt. I asked the first young man about Ukranian Christmas traditions and he told me how many traditions have been lost due to the years under communism--many people know about the traditions from books but do not practice them in their homes. He seemed very excited about what God is now doing here in Ukraine.

Today our apartment's location turned out to be a great benefit because there was a HUGE Christmas celebration over at Independence Square. (Note: We later found out it was a New Year's Celebration) I cannot estimate how many thousands of people were over there. There were many Grandfather Frosts and Granddaughters among the crowd and people could get their picture taken with them. There were balloons in a variety of shapes--I saw fish, parrots, bunnies, hearts--for sale, as well as lighted sticks and swords, and pony rides. On stage there were a variety of acts: some guy that Kevin said the girls in the crowd were sighing over, a group of young ladies in red suits and Santa hats doing dances, etc. I actually heard one carol I recognized--Silent Night. The pole of the Maiden statue was lighted half in blue and half in yellow--Ukraine's national colors. Finally after about 5 hours of music, a person whom we were told was the mayor of Kiev got up and gave a speech followed by the official lighting of the gigantic tree out there and then a very lovely fireworks display.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I couldn't get up the energy to walk across the street--I am just washed out from our adventure last night, I guess. But I enjoyed getting to see so much from our window and on the TV.


MamaPoRuski said...

Would love to see the pictures if you get a chance to post them!

Joy Portis said...

Praying for you and can't wait to see that beautiful boy in your arms!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joy and Kevin!

We are keeping you in our prayers! I emailed you a letter from your Mom, and I haven't seen a response, so I assume it is lost in the email problem you mentioned. I'm printing your blog off for her. Linda is going to keep her posted, too.

I know the kids really miss you guys, but they are in good hands. :)

Your adventure sounds just as exciting as the first one.

Can hardly wait for all of you to be home for good.

Love you!