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Struggling with goodbyes and reminiscing at old stomping grounds.

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“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.

main square

st sophia

me with church

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…

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8 Responses to Struggling with goodbyes and reminiscing at old stomping grounds.

  1. Bethanysaysyippeeyeah! October 28, 2008 at 9:56 am #

    Yippee Yeah! I’m proud of you Brooke! That takes a lot of balls to commit yourself to something like that in a foreign country, especially a soviet country and especially for a year. Just imagine the different people you will meet this year and the new relationships that will blossom. This will be a great chapter in your life story I’m sure.

    I totally can relate to your romantic dreaming ideals. I see things and imagine how they could be, a lot of times that is not how they are. Imagine if we weren’t like that and chained to our desks (oh wait i still am – but not for long!) instead…LIfe sure would be dull. I’ve always been happy to have such an overactive imagination, even if it sometimes makes me feel like I have not done enough. Damn imagination tho, still makes me think I’m going to date an English man….hahaha..

  2. [F]oxymoron October 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    Hey Brooke, I just wanted to say Hello before i leave for my own RTW, (yeah, you helped inspire me… and my bank account now holds a grudge against you 🙂

    Kiev rocks! Be sure to spend an ungodly amount of money on bootleg CD’s. Just ask around, you’ll quickly find instructions to the market.

    Oh, and check out the exhibit full of miniatures … it is really interesting.

  3. Shawn October 29, 2008 at 2:28 am #

    Glad you made it and hope you get settled in soon. Kyiv traffic really is abysmal so your contact was probably telling the truth. I’m sorry you got stuck at the airport. There are few places on the planet worse than Borispil Airport.

    If you don’t mind the cold, I highly recommend Tallinn for your break. We went last May and loved it.

  4. Brooke October 30, 2008 at 12:45 am #

    Hey Beth – I keep hearing about these balls that I have, hehe. Yeah I know we are both big dreamers and I’ve been so glad to have someone like you to share it with! An English man, eh? How does Randy feel about this?

    [F]oxymoron – Thanks for the Kiev tips! And good luck on your RTW! I now have internet at home and will try to follow along 😉

    Shawn – Yes, that airport is really awful! I am starting to get settled and keeping very busy with training/teaching. Actually, I just spent a week in Tallinn and it was great, but I’m thinking maybe of going south… i’m not a huge fan of cold…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. Brooke vs. the World | A Round the World Travelog » Blog Archive » On Love & Hate: A Weekend in Pest - December 14, 2008

    […] about a week now and decided to go ahead and post. About seven weeks ago, I made a blog post about struggling with goodbyes. I wasn’t particularly straightforward about the situation at the time, but while in the […]

  3. On Love & Hate: A Weekend in Pest | Brooke vs. the World | RTW Travel Blog - September 29, 2009

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