As I sit here eating a "peanut butter blossom" (thanks, Ben, for bringing us more peanut butter!), I have a mixture of emotions about leaving Kiev in 21 days. In some ways, it seems like an eternity, in others, it's not long enough. In Minnesota, every time I say goodbye to someone, it's quite likely that we'll meet again. Here, chances are that I won't see the majority of our new friends again.
So... rather than dwell on missing people, here's a list of what I'll miss, and what I'm looking forward to, back home.
1. I'll miss the gas stove, but I'm looking forward to not wondering if I'll get burned every time I use a match to light a burner (one burner is especially scary!)
2. I'll miss the simplicity of living in a small space, but I'm looking forward to being able to pass someone in the kitchen without a collision and to having an oven that actually fits a cookie sheet.
3. I'll miss the walking, but will look forward to having the freedom of driving a car again.
4. I'll miss the awesome grocery carts they have here, but look forward to being able to read all the labels at the store.
5. I'll miss the extremely cheap potatoes, onions and beets, but am looking forward to seedless grapes, more variety of fruit and strawberries that might last more than one day after bringing them home.
6. I'll miss the $5.00 a month cell phone costs and less than $10.00 a month for internet, but will look forward to being able to deal with such things without needing a translator.
7. I'll miss the front loader washer and the sunny porch to hang things to dry, but am looking forward to a washer that is not microscopic.
8. I'll miss Kiev Christian Academy, but will look forward to homeschooling my kids again next year.
9. I'll miss the exercise we get walking up 7 flights of stairs, but am looking forward to being able to simply walk out my door and be outside.
10. I'll miss having the store a 5-minute walk away, but I'm looking forward to not carrying all my groceries home by hand.
11. I'll miss pelmeni, vareneki and Ukrainian bread, but look forward to softer bread and ice cream that I can scoop instead of slice.
12. I may miss meeting my friend, Gulmira's baby if he's not born before we leave, but I'm looking forward to meeting my best friend since 7th grade's baby who was born in November.
13. I'll miss the simplicity of not having a pet, but be glad to have our cat back again.
14. Mostly, I'll miss the amazing Ukrainians, Americans, Koreans, Kazakhs, Dutch and others I've met this year, but "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold"...can't wait to see all my Minnesota friends and family... I've missed you!
If you're a Kiev friend, please visit if you find yourself in Minnesota in the future. Mi casa es su casa!