It was cool to be able to spend a couple of weeks at home. I got a sweet deal on a flight into Vancouver a few months ago, and I was super stoked to finally start this trip. This was my first solo-trip abroad. Before this, the only flights I’d taken by myself were to and from Spokane and then my trip to DC at the beginning of this crazy adventure.
Needless to say, I was nervous. Just getting to Kiev, where I would be flying out from, was a journey in itself. It was a holiday weekend (the Ukrainian calendar is different from ours, their Christmas falls on the 7th of January) and that made transportation a challenge. I ended up getting a train ticket (thanks to the help of one of my awesome students) they day I needed to leave, saving me from a day-long bus ride. Note that my flight was on Wednesday morning and I left on Sunday to get there with enough time, this is partially because of the holiday and partially because it takes me two days to get to Kiev.
Two trains later, I made it to Kiev, where I loaded up on souvenirs for my family and stayed at the Peace Corps office til I had to leave at midnight, watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and attempting to nap. At midnight, I headed to the airport. My flight didn’t leave ‘til 6:30, check-in wasn’t until 3:30, so that meant 3 hours of sitting awake in the airport lobby.
Eventually, I checked in and found my way through security and to my gate. I wasn’t nervous about this flight, but the next one…my layover in Charles DuGalle was only an hour and a half and this was a new airport for me. Upon a quick google search, I was very nervous. Every site basically said I was crazy for booking this flight and there’s no way I’d make it.
I factored in a time change from Ukraine to Paris, but then my flight left late. I fell asleep thinking I’d wake up sometime in the air, and instead woke up to them hosing down the wings of the plain right outside of my window because they were frozen. That was fine.
Eventually we took off and it was a largely uneventful flight. Probably because I was exhausted. I slept and listen to a few of my favorite podcasts. I woke up and ran through the airport, with what seemed like half of the plane from Kiev, made it to my next flight and eventually to Vancouver.
My mom picked me up at the airport, we had Subway for lunch (she made fun of my choice, but sandwiches are hard to come by in this country).
During my two weeks home, I watched a ton of my sister’s basketball game, ate a ton of food, snuggled with my dog and just enjoyed my family. I talked a lot about my students and my experiences in Ukraine and I loved being able to share.
I also got to speak in my cousin’s classrooms and that was a treat! It was fun to be able to speak to students that weren’t my own about my own students and about the culture I’ve lived in for a year and a half.
At the end of my trip, my dad took me to the airport, where I had to remember that I couldn’t cry because I wasn’t wearing waterproof mascara. I boarded my flight and started my next travel marathon. I left Washington on a Wednesday and didn’t get back to my little village until Sunday morning.
I was home for about a week and then had to go back to Kiev for a medical check up. Home for another week before I’ll head back to Kiev for a Peace Corps training conference. Eventually I’ll spend more than a week at home!