“How long have you been traveling? Where are you going? Why are you going there?”
The list goes on and on. Having travelled as much as I have at this point, I have been bombarded almost every day with some form of a question above. It has gotten to the point where I am thinking about writing my response down and just giving it to people when we are introduced. Just last week I would have probably put together some sort of Q&A like the following:
Hi! My name is Brooke and I am an American from Illinois (not Chicago!).
Q. How long have you been traveling?
A. Off and on for about a year now.
Q. Where are you going?
A. I’m moving to Kyiv, Ukraine for an entire year to teach English and study Russian.
Q. Why are you going there?!
A. After living in Central Asia for some time, I have become insanely intrigued with the former Soviet Union countries. I am also in need of some cash and therefore must work.
Ok, so printing off about a hundred of these and just passing them out would probably be seen as pretty impersonal. Even though I have to force myself to reciprocate the interest with this repetitive interview at times, in the end it is worth it when you meet some amazing people from around the world. Since there is a common bond in the love for travelling, it is generally easy to get along for a few days before having to say goodbye. As travelers, this is all too common. We constantly come and go. It is what we do.
Normally, this is not a problem, but recently I did struggle with a goodbye more than I would like to admit. And, as much as I can pretend to be a realist, the truth comes out: I am a romantic – a hopeless romantic maybe – and maybe more hopeless than anything. Haha. I was thinking about this fact recently and how it sometimes makes me a little embarrassed. Then I thought about it some more and just realized it is because of this romantic side that I am able to see life how it could be and not just how it should be. It makes me a dreamer, and let’s face it, without this side of me how else would I have done any of the things this blog has followed?
Because I am a dreamer, I had to follow through on the goodbye and board a very tiny plane – one with the big propellers and only enough room for 3 people in a row – in the cold, dark evening on a one-way ticket. I landed in a place that was vaguely familiar – cold, sterile, and hassling (I don’t need a taxi already!). Yep, breathe that in. That is the fresh stench of Kiev.
All the previous week I worried that I might have made a bad decision on moving to Ukraine. Damn nerves! So, it didn’t help when I arrived at the Kiev airport and was not able to find the person I was supposed to meet. Of course, I was also without contact information and the internet café at the airport was broken (haha, oh Ukraine you are too funny). I was at the point where I was about to just get a taxi to a hotel for the evening when finally my ride arrived (blame it on a traffic jam). Whew!
I was taken to get some dinner and dropped off at the apartment where I will be living for the next 2 weeks. Outside on the street, I was able to see some of the popular monuments of Kiev – St. Sophia and the Rodina Mat – lit up at night. The sight immediately brought back memories from about six months before when I was in this city not knowing a word of Russian or able to read the Cyrillic alphabet. At this moment, my nerves subsided. I just felt lucky. Ha! As funny as it sounds, I feel lucky to be here in Ukraine.
So, here I am – home for a while – terribly missing the past, but still enamored with the now and the future. On the plus side, I won’t have to deal with the get-to-know-me traveler interview and constant goodbyes for some time. I started training yesterday. Can you believe I will actually be working again after a year off?! That is definitely going to take a while to wrap my head around, but then at that point, I will have my 3 week break for the holidays to travel. Oh yeah! So, any ideas on where I should head to for 3 weeks starting Dec. 28th?! I need to start planning!
P.S. Get this! Other people here signed on with a 6 or 8 month contract. Hmm…