Thursday, December 27, 2012

True Snapshots From Our Journey (Thus Far & Randomly)

This was the view from our window last week.  The high was 15.  

This was the view from our apartment this morning.  The high was 37.  The beautiful white snow was gone from the trees and that on the ground was a gray slush.

Here is Benjamin and Danelle in the metro.

Here's Lenin in the Metro:

Here's another photo of Comrade Lenin wanting to enjoy a Pepsi with some friends at the beach:

Our friendly, neighborhood Mongol

And the neighborhood cat:

Here's Benjamin with the noted theater director Oleksandr-Zenon Stepanovych Kurbas (I'll admit, I had to look this one up.  We were just the typical tourists taking a photo of a family member with a statue):

He established the famous "Berezi Theater."  Kurbas, not Benjamin.

The archangel Michael (in the background) watching over Kiev:

Benjamin getting in on the proposal from two characters from the Ukrainian play "After Two Hares":

The play was also made into a movie.  The title is a reference to a folk saying that "If a man tries to chase two hares, he will catch neither."  In both the play and the movie, a man chases two women (one for love and one for money) and, like the proverb, ends up with neither.

One of the most famous sites in all of Kiev is Saint Michael's, which was built during the Middle Ages.  The original cathedral and monastery was destroyed by the Soviet authorities during the 1930's but was reconstructed and re-opened in 1999 following Ukrainian independence.

Here are some of the photos we took of this beautiful cathedral:

A pair of the monks from the cathedral:

A statue of Christ praying in the garden:

After we left Saint Sophia's, we encountered this traffic jam:

Since we pretty much walk everywhere, it didn't effect us.  Instead, we headed back over to Andrew's Descent for some more browsing among the stalls. 

After some haggling, I got a Matryoshka Doll (or nesting dolls), a Pysanka (or ornately painted wooden Easter Egg), and some Christmas ornaments for what would be $50 American dollars.  We did not buy any of the knock-off Soviet paraphernalia (though the Lenin blanket sure was tempting).

From there, we went back to Independence Square.  How different the Christmas Tree appeared in the daytime.

The area was full of stalls selling tourist items (t-shirts, flags, magnets) and carnival rides (the kind that take over parking lots of shopping centers back home).  We did spot someone dressed as Mishka the bear from "Masha and the Bear," so I snapped a photo from a distance so I wouldn't have to pay for it.  I've learned that any costume character on the street charges you to take their photo.  As I snapped this one, I couldn't help but think of Cava as I did.  I would have gladly have paid twenty hryvnia for a photo of him and Benjamin with Mishka.

All around the city, men are on the rooftops of buildings, shoveling off the snow and ice.  Benjamin loved stopping to watch.  Here's a photo of one of them:

To give you a better perspective on this:

As much as we love Kiev, we hope to be leaving it tomorrow so that we can travel to the village where Cava's boarding school is so we can have our court date on Saturday.  Our translator called us tonight to let us know that the minister's office has our documents.  He was at a conference all day and didn't have time to sign them.  We are praying that he will sign them first thing in the morning. 

Thank you to all of you who are praying with us and for us.  I know I've written it many times before, but your love and encouragement has meant so much to our family throughout this journey while we're here in Ukraine. 

I hope to get a chance tomorrow to let everyone know about whether or not we are headed to court Saturday.

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