Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We have arrived safely in Kyiv!!!!
Many thanks to everyone covering us in prayer as we set out yesterday. Your prayers were answered in awesome ways. Our flight from Atlanta to JFK (brief 20 minute connection in Charlotte) went very smooth. Pete and Christopher met us at the baggage claim to pick up Charlie and Nicholas. Although we will miss each other very much, the boys were very excited about spending this time with Nick’s godparents and our dear extended family. It was daddy and mom that got all teary eyed as our smiling little boys trotted off out the door.

We made our way up to the A-train and to the International Terminal. This was a new experience for both Mark and I as the only ‘International" traveling we have done is driving across the borders of Minnesota and North Dakota to Canada during childhood family trips.

Well, first I have to say that although one of my concerns was that I had over packed, I thought I had done an efficient job. Wrong! I had made several attempts while in my packing process to reach Aerosvit (Ukrainian Airlines) to get specifications on baggage restrictions as their website is a bit vague. First off, our checked bags were all under weight, which I was proud of. But I soon had a reality check when I was told that ALL of our carry ons were over. We were required take the luggage aside and reorganize to meet the requirements. I tried everything and redistributed our items including taking our 1 set of clothing for our SDA appointment out and praying we would see them in Kyiv in the checked bags they were now in. Each passenger is allowed 1 carry on item weighing no more than 5.0 kilos. (12.5 pounds) and 1 personal item such as a purse or diaper bag . I had a large back pack that I thought was considered a personal item as I did not have a purse, wrong again, It weighed more then 5.0kg. As well. Laptops/notebooks are not counted as carry on so it is O.K. to have them in addition to the 1 carry on and personal item.
I had to empty out 1 complete carry on bag and leave it behind in the airport. I hope somebody that really needs it will get it. We were still over weight, Oi vey!!! That’s when I broke out the puppy eyes and said to the nice young man behind the counter that I did not know what to do anymore and that we were taking donations and medicines to the orphanage with us and we could not leave them behind (true, not joking) He said, "that is O.K., you can take them." We were still one carry on piece over , but he overlooked it. God was certainly with us.

The luggage saga is not over. We also are carrying two pediatric wheelchairs with us . Because they do not have passengers in them yet, we are charged for extra cargo, $90 dollars per chair!! (another little surprise to spice things up) The nice young man, trying to be most helpful then said that if Mark could "wrap" them together and make one piece, then he would just charge for one. So as I was making attempts to redistribute weight in the luggage, Mark headed over to the wrapping machine. He disassembled as much as he could and Voila! A lovely one piece. Suggestion for anyone needing to "wrap" items: B.Y.O.W. or wrap before leaving home. Total cost for our wrap job- $80.00. Total for our wheelchair cocoon $170.00 We saved $10 bucks whoa!!
The Wheelchair "Cocoon"

The rest of the process including security was painless. The flight to Kyiv went seemingly fast to me as I was able to sleep for a couple of hours. The food was good (yes, girls, mom likes airplane food too). I went to get a water and discovered the bar was open with a little party going on too.
Mark’s thoughts on his first Int’l flight, "The flight to Kyiv was flawless and the food was very interesting. I really liked the status reports and logistical map (must be a guy thing) He also observed that Ukrainians like their shots of alcohol with breakfast. "I thought it was very charming when everyone clapped when the plane landed"

Taxi, taxi????? Thank you Dan for instructing us on the taxi protocol and what not to do. As soon as we came out of passport control, we were bombarded with drivers in black leather insisting we take their taxi "with many bosses". Yeah, right . All that went through my mind was your word "illegal". I had to say "no" or "nyeet" at least three times, then they asked Mark and he had to do the same before they finally walked on. Finally we went outside and found the Taxi hut and got a wonderful driver with a big van so we did not have to split up to get to the hotel. We took his business card for anyone that needs a big taxi out of the airport or in the city. He did not speak English, but had a real kind disposition.

Good Tuesday morning1 We checked into our hotel yesterday afternoon around 2pm Kyiv time. We spent a few hours just trying to get technically hooked up so we can communicate with everyone back home in the States and locally with our coordinator.
We do not have internet connection in our hotel room, but can post to blog and check e-mail at the business center here. We hope to see a bit of the city today and will post tonight to share our day.

Our appointment at SDA is tomorrow, but we are not sure what time yet and will post details when we do. We will make train reservations and head out to the region of Donetsk.


Anonymous said...

We hope we are ready for your call. Seems to be hooked up properly. Talk to you soon

C and N

Anonymous said...


Nataliya said...

It's so nice to hear from you! Even though you had your luggage saga, you safely arrived with your luggage intact, so that's a good thing!

I'm keeping fingers crossed for your SDA appointment tomorrow!

Kathy & Matt said...

So glad that you got there safely. Sounds like quite the ordeal with the baggage. Good information for some of the rest of us traveling later.
I'll be praying for you as you have your appointment tomorrow.

Tami said...

glad to hear you arrived safely and are getting all settled in. Thanks for the tip on the taxis...we'll keep it in mind when we get there in 40 days!!! Aaaack! I can't wait to hear about your SDA appointment!!!

Joy Rae said...

Hello! I just found your site through another blogger! I am so excited for you guys and look forward to reading about your journey. My husband and I have an SDA appt on Nov. 14th so we may just see you over there (hopefully you will be on your way out!).

Take care.
Ken and Joy Rae
e-mail: luv2bgwee@yahoo.com

Leslie said...

Hey, flying buddies! We're praying for you over here and hoping things run smoothly and quickly for you in the process. Thanks for lifting our spirits on the way over!

John & Lucia said...

Oh, the suspense!! How did your SDA appt go????

DoveFamily said...

Glad you guys made it safely!! Sorry I'm just now commenting, but I've been out of town all week. I continue to pray for you regularly and can't wait to read more good news.