After 2.5 days of travel, we are here at last. We left our house at around 4:30 AM on Friday, flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Chicago and then arrived in London on Saturday morning.

Us during our Chicago layover- do we look tired yet?

Us during our Chicago layover- do we look tired yet?

We took a quick bus tour of London and then headed back “home” to crash for the night. We were blessed to be able to spend the night at the home of a brother and sister-in-law of some good friends of ours. They live just outside the city and even gave us their master bedroom!! I can’t even describe how good it felt to sleep in a comfortable bed after spending the previous night on an airplane and then half the day trying to keep from falling asleep on the tour bus.

On the bus in London . . . trying to stay awake!

We were up quite early this morning to catch the bus to Heathrow. After a nice breakfast, we got on our flight and arrived in the middle of the afternoon. Our facilitator, Nina, picked us up at the airport and took us to the apartment where we will be staying. It seems that most visitors here opt to stay in furnished apartments, which are rented by the night. They are more affordable than hotels and have kitchens and a washing machine. Ours is HUGE and reasonably comfortable.

Nina took us around the area and showed us where to buy water, where to eat, and how to find our way around. We had dinner with her at a local restaurant where we tried out some traditional foods- borcht, homemade sausage, and deruny, which is a type of potato pancake that is served with sour cream. Everything was very good and cheap!

Finally Nina took us to the large underground mall in the city center to buy a SIM card for our cell phone, and from there she headed home for the night. We walked around the mall for a while (rather upscale) and then walked around Independence Square and Kreschatyk, which Nina described as the main street of the country. On the weekends they close it to vehicle traffic and so you can walk up and down the middle of the street. It is beautifully lit and filled with both locals and tourists.

Janeé in front of Independence Square

Ryan on Kreschatyk

Finally we came back to our apartment to rest, do laundry, and prepare for tomorrow. Our SDA appointment is at 10 AM tomorrow. We will go there with Nina, answer a few brief questions, and request Vika’s referral. Then typically the next day (Tuesday) they would have our paperwork ready for us to travel to meet Vika, but we are praying that we might be able to pick it up tomorrow night so we can get on a train right away. This would put us one day ahead of schedule. We are very tight on time due to Ryan’s work schedule, so every single day counts. I’m really hoping it will work out but it would be a bit of a miracle if it did.

We’re so happy to be here although it feels rather surreal. Hoping for a good night’s sleep and then tomorrow- the SDA!