Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 1

Last pic as family of five!

We made it! We left early Thursday a.m. and arrived 26 hours later on Friday night, skipping Friday alltogether. It's kind of weird, flying to the other side of the world. I mean, you know about the time difference and all that, but to watch the sun rise two times and set two times in 24 hours is a little strange.

The goodbyes were about what I expected. Cale was having a great morning, until we got to the airport. I think it just hit him that we were really leaving and his brain couldn't really process how he felt about it, so he was a little angry. Brynn was her usual happy self! She had a few brief moments of pouting, but she's very much a RIGHT NOW girl and was excited to be going home with grandparents. Layla was sad- and cried for quite some time afterward I think. So did I. I pretty much cried for an hour and a half until we got on the plane. I wasn't necessarily upset, just crying. Being apart is going to be tough on me too!

That being said, Nathan and I are really enjoying our time together already! We had a breakfast date at the airport in Nashville before a quick little jaunt to Atlanta.

Flight #1

We were in Atlanta less than 2 hours, before heading to Paris (!).
Originally, we both had window seats one in front of the other, but the girl next to me almost immediately offered to switch so we could sit together. That was GREAT bc we got to really get comfy for the 8 hour flight, we were able to share food, ear buds, blankets (meaning, I used both and Nathan had none). Aaannd... I think we made have played matchmakers with the ones we swapped seats with! They were both American students headed to the same art school in Paris! They were cute to watch :) We also watched 3 movies and had really good food (no, really!). I had very low expectations, but my spinach alfredo pasta was delicious for dinner and then something like an Egg McMuffin and banana for breakfast. I've never had an Egg McMuffin, but this was darn good. Of course, we were STARVING which probably helped. The screens had the coolest maps showing exactly where we were during our flight. We could look down and know that we were over Charlotte, NC, Virginia, D.C., NYC....  Paris :) We searched and searched the City of Lights for the eiffel tower so we could get ANY type of picture for Layla (she loves Paris!), but no luck. It was dark though, so it was neat to see all the lights.

Flight #2


Here's what we did see in Paris:
Orange toilets in a very cool restroom that was both retro and very modern.
That's about it really because we were sprinting to our gate to make our next flight.We boarded the plane for Kiev, ready for our final leg. It was to be a 2 1/2 hr flight. We landed after three hours in the air and the captain made an announcement. It was a little hard to understand, but I heard him say- "change planes", "new plane to Kiev", and "I hope your next flight is safer.". Huh?! I also thought I heard him say something about Pakistan? We had NO idea where we were. We tried to ask and they kept telling us all to get off the plane and follow "the guy". I still don't know who the guy is. We got off at the gate only to realize, we were back in Paris. I'm not really sure where I got the Pakistan part.


Oh well. We came into this open-minded, with no expectations. We are on an "Ellie-Carl Adventure" (UP!)!

We were kind of stinky at this point, so we used wipes to clean our faces and added an extra layer of deoderant before re-boarding. We had tried to sleep on the long comfy flight to Paris, but there was too much going on. We nodded off and on during the third flight but nothing solid. This time, we were both OUT before we even left the runway. We tried to wake up to eat, occasionally chat or attempt to read, but we kept falling back to sleep! Like, the drool on your own chest because your head is flopped over, kind of sleep. BTW- the food on these flights, not so good. Very french though! On the first one (breakfast again), they gave us some squishy cakey bread thing with what I think was a kind of cream cheese? And a little chocolate croissant, which was okay. On the 2nd one (lunch), it was a slaw of some sort and cold pasta with nearly frozen chicken- it all tasted like slimy cucumbers and italian dressing. I did eat the bread though. I'm trying! :)

Flight #4

I thought we would be overhwhelmed when we got to Kiev, not knowing where we were supposed to go or understanding much, but it was easy. Be a sheep. Follow the herd. When we got off the plane (brrrr) there was a bus PACKED FULL of people, so we got on the bus. The bus stopped at the terminal and everyone got off, so we did too. We followed the herd into a line for passport control, easy breezy. We saw some people from our flight and followed them to baggage claim (which is basically right in front of you, but we wouldn't have known which one). HOW our bags got here, I do not know. Between the quick departure from Paris and the ole' plane sqitcheroo, we fully expected our luggage to be a day or two behind. We walked thru the doors that said "Exit to city" and there was Nico, waiting for us!

I really wanted to get a picture of Nico holding the sign with our name on it- it made me feel fancy- but we were late and it was time for business. Nico helped us exchange some of our money for crivnas, gave us our cell phone and helped us buy minutes, then took us to a store for a few groceries. He picked out some food for us next door to eat for dinner when we got settled. He showed us around town a little bit, picked up our apartment key, and brought us to our home for the next four days!

Our apartment is GREAT! We have a kitchen (fridge, stove, microwave, table/chairs), free wifi, a nice bathroom with washer (which we won't use). We got settled, warmed up our dinner (mushroom stuffed chicken and potatoes- not bad!), watched a little tv and headed to bed. I'm glad it was late here while we slept so we can try to get on their schedule. It's 5am here now, Nathan is still snoozing next to me, but I got bored.

We plan to spend the next two days exploring before our appointment on Monday (about a 10 min walk from here). We already know there is a McDs and a TGIFridays just down the street, but we are anxious to check out the city and all the beautiful buildings.

Really, things couldn't have gone any smoother. The airports were easy to maneuver and getting where we were supposed to be was no problem. I had gotten a little nervous about doing that on my own, with the baby, on the way home but I'm not at all now. I can't wait to see what the next few weeks hold!!

Sorry this was so long- it was a LONG day! We are so excited!!
*I already learned one tough lesson: type your blog post in Word then copy/paste. That way, when you hit the wrong button, you won't lose the whole thing. Blerg.

We miss you already! I was excited to hear about the snow you got- first one this year! I can't wait to hear if you get more. We talked about you the whole way here. We talked about how sweet you were at dinner the night before, Brynn. And Cale, we saw a REALLY tall guy, which reminded us of you and we talked about what you will be when you grow up. Layla, we talked about how you are such a good flyer and you would have loved getting off the plane in Paris! Oh, and we ate the biggest gummy bears EVER. Ya'll would have loved them! We love you!!


  1. So thankful you guys are safe and didn't go to Pakistan! =) The apartment is CUTE! The two of you are amazing people. God is using you to do amazing things in the lives of HUNDREDS of people. Your Faith, Will, Strength, Determination are all contagious and I am so blessed to have you in my life! Anna Gray is beyond blessed to have the two of you as parents, I can not think of any two people who deserve this more than you guys! Holy Crap, you're in Kiev! Does it feel like it yet? Is this your life?! =) Love!

  2. I'm soo excited to read this :-) enjoy your day and can't wait to read more!!!! Snow melted fast and it's warming up tomm! What are temps like there?? Love you!!

  3. From Layla - I want to eat the biggest gummy bears EVER! No fair! I'm reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I love you.

    From Brynn - I love you so much and want you to come back. I'm having some fun here. I love you heart so I can be with you.

    From Cale - I hope that boy was an air force boy. I watched Captain America.

    Ba - Happy to get this post. Excited about all you guys are doing. 3 posts a day would be about right :) Things are going well here. Brynn and Cale just got out of the tub and are all lotioned up. I'm cooking breakfast. Since it's Saturday, it's sausage links, eggs (like yours, I hope) etc. Cale's movie repertoire is growing. He's watching Back to the Future right now. Layla's reading and Brynn is "HUN-GRY". Off to cook! Have an awesome day! Love you both! Ba

    Ge - asleep :)

  4. You guys are so awesome. Good luck and cant wait to see you you guys again, with the little one. Our God is awesome. Love U both

  5. Don't want you to post this one - just a request. Will you email the itenerary that you told us about before you left....4 days in kiev, then 8 hour train ride to ?, there ? days, then back...that one! Thanks!

  6. Love you guys! So thankful you made it safely. Looking forward to following you around the city through pictures and words. Always in our thoughts and prayers!

  7. Love Nathans happiness. Keep the updates coming, I am going crazy!!

  8. So happy you made it safely, & with no difficulties! Can't wait for more updates & pictures! Love you guys!