This NOT the last day of my trip. Did not get home

Trip Start Jun 28, 2009
Trip End Jul 16, 2009

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Flag of Germany  , North Rhine-Westphalia,
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Today was supposed to be my last day of the trip and I was to return home to Bev at 11:37 PM.  Not so.

The day began at the Pasechnyk's apartment with us watching Good Morning, Ukraine!  on  television.  It was very good and every bit as interesting as any morning TV show in the United States.  A very nice-looking, well-spoken Ukrainian female host did interviews, bantered with the weather girl….all the stuff that you see on American TV.  It was pretty much all women as they modeled clothes from manufacturers who were listed.  The weather girl's dress was really bizarre.

The host spoke impeccable Ukrainian.  The big question on the table was about corporal punishment. There were quickie street interviews.  She did interview another very adroit woman who was some director of child services who again was intelligent and well-spoken.  She spoke in Russian.  So the questions all came in Ukrainian, the answers in Russian. I didn’t even notice it, but the two languages are very intermixed.

At Church services the language would go back and forth between Russian and Ukrainian. Even in the songbook, some were in one language across the page from the other and people just switch back and forth effortlessly.  When we did the Lord’s Prayer at the Siloam it was in Ukrainian; when we did it in Khust, it was in Russian.  The minister would intermix Ukrainian and Russian words along with a few local Ruthenian ones for good measure. After a while you don’t even pay attention to which languageit’s in….you just take it in!

We went over to the "Revival" Center one last time.  On the street a young woman is staggering.  Dr. P tells me that she is drunk and probably will never recover.  He was very quick to assess this in a country where alcoholism is so widespread.  She was a young lady in her late 20’s or early 30’s.  He told me that they have some success in helping men recover.  Once a woman is an alcoholic of this type, the chances of recovery are almost nil. 

At the Center  I wanted to see Lydia Sayenko in the Montessori Room one more time.  I’m amazed at how well she keeps it up and how well she uses all the materials.  LifeNets sponsored this room completely about three years ago.  We bought the Russian Montessori materials in the only place they were available: Toronto, Canada.

Went one more time to the choreography hall.  Again, LifeNets did a capital drive in 2005 which  paid for the construction of this wing.  I had almost forgotten, but was reminded by the plaque on the wall with all you great supporters. It is well used as part of therapy for children with various nerve-based problem including cerebral palsy and various epilepsies.

I gave up my Canon G-10 camera here.  The Center wants to do some serious photography of their activities and really needed  a better camera than the little rinky-dink digital camera they had.  They now have a computer teacher Natasha (one of the 18 Natashas working at the Center) who is developing a Website. She is also a savvy photographer.  I wanted to leave something behind that’s hard to ship over and the camera turned out to be ther right thing.

I’m amazed at the pace the Pasechnyk’s work.  While they are very busy with phone calls coming in and people asking to see him in his office, there is always time to just STOP, have coffee and tea and talk.  They commented how much they appreciated having me around because I was easy to talk to.  It was interesting observing to see who came by.  Various people from the health department, the city council and even the internal revenue – there was a question that needed to be resolved about one of the suppliers of equipment.

Off the airport.  Dr. P now has a much newer car. It’s a Chevy, would you believe?  Assembled in South Korea.  It rides smoothly over the bumpy roads.  Before in the old cars and vans our bodies were the shock absorbers.  Not with his new Chevy.

Kiev Airport is a mess.  Parking is hard to find.  But, we finally did.  It’s crowded at the entrance with all kinds of seedy people staring at you.  It is really crowded not because of all the people, but because the airport is so small and they have to stand in the traffic lane.  It is one of the few countries of the world that you go through customs AS YOU LEAVE.  Usually, they ask if you have any guns or holy icons.  Never a problem with me. 

I dutifully lined up in a slow-moving line for my Lufthanasa flight to Frankfurt, Germany and off the gate. But, no gate was posted.  No one had answers.  The only things that were clearly marked outside the gate was Guiness Beer at the Irish pub.  The 2:10 pm departure time came and went and all of us German-bound passengers are wondering what’s going on. Finally, officials show up and we gather that the flight is late coming in, but who knows.  My connection for my United flight to the US is tight as it is.  We finally pull away from the gate about 45 minutes late, but the pilot tells us that Frankfurt Air Traffic control won’t let us take off for another 20 minutes. 

We’re finally off. The pilot made great time and we arrived 45 minutes before the departure of my next flight to Washington DC.  But, we were herded into a bus, made to wait.  Then driven to another part of the airport.  Doors were shut, then finally opened.  Now it's 25 minutes until the flight.  I scampered through the terminal and got to the United boarding 15 minutes before.  Whew!  But, the flight was now CLOSED.  Luggage was offloaded.  Passengers were not allowed.  A group of us were told to go back to where we started and get rebooked.  A BIG disappointment.  I’m tired….I want to get home.

I walked back a long distance and out through security. Lufthansa was kind enough to rebook me during this busy time through Toronto back to the USA.  A 21 hour delay.  I have our grandson’s wedding coming up and really need to get back ASAP.  Lufthansa was very kind and offered complimentary hotel and two meals.

What should I do now?  Maybe I should call the Bonn Office of the United Church of God and talk to my good friends Jesmina Allaoua and Paul Kieffer.  Good idea!  I called Jesmina.  She immediately invited me to come up.  The new bullet train now runs between the Frankfurt Airport and Amsterdam and makes it’s first stop in Bonn.  I was advised to take it.  So, I did.

I got a round trip ticket for the bullet train that runs at 300 km per hour.  I had never been on any train that fast.  A contrast from the "Transcarpathia" that took 14 hours from Western Ukraine to Kiev.  It is supposed to be the fast train for the bankers in Bonn travelling to the aiport.  I got on and took a window seat.  A big person in a black outfit sat down next to me.  He was not a banker.  His smell was atrocious.  There was little air moving and I was suffocating.  He looked like a foreigner.  He pulled out a vile-smelling ham sandwich and ate it. I smelled everything in it. Then he made disgusting slurphing sounds with his mouth. Then he took out ANOTHER sandwich that was just as vile. More disgusting sounds and then the grand finale: a belch and summary of all the odors.  As the conductor came by to look at tickets, he had some discussion with him. 

But, the speedy train ride was a thrill still.  We rode alongside a German autobahn.  They drive at outrageous speeds.  But on the bullet train we zipped right past them.  Amazing.  I tweetet and facebooked my joyride. 

37 minutes to Bonn, Germany. Jesmina was on the platform waiting. We went to the German Office.  I was really impressed by how the Office was laid out.   I talk to Jesmina regularly because we often intersect with Eastern European mail that comes to them.  She lives in an apartment right across the hallway from the Office.

Paul Kieffer had been about 50 miles away on a visit to chuch members.  When he returned we all went to his flat which was very functional and had a very nice loft from where he worked. Paul Kieffer is one of the hardest workers that I know with what he does with translation, mailing, pasturing and all.  It was interesting to see where he works from.

We all went to dinner to an outside restaurant by a little river that empties into the Rhine.  We had a great time with good German food.  I was exhausted at the end of the day……hope to get back to Indianapolis tomorrow!  But Ukraine is still on my brain.
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krikketgirl on

Oh Dear
What a frustrating day you had! Hope today is better for you. Whatever will you do without your camera? : ) I'm sure they appreciate your generosity.


rogersma on

I am so sorry you had to go through all of that. I know how horrible it is to be so tired and unsure of what to do next. You are blessed to know people in so many places.


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