Ok, so this particular heading is not too accurate. I chose it for the Ukraine reference.
Let me explain.
Because I will only be able to remain in Italy for three months at a time (assuming I cannot secure the residence visa I’m pursuing), I will have to leave the EU for three months before I can return to Italy. In searching a map, my only real options are the UK, Israel, Northern Africa (Egypt, Morocco, Tunisa), the Balkans (Serbia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Albania, Macedonia) or Ukraine.
One night recently, while surfing the Net, I decided to look around on Airbnb for lodging should I need to leave Italy. I settled upon Ukraine since I want to go there anyway to research my maternal grandfather’s life. In my search, I came upon a man with a room to let in Lviv, birthplace of my grandfather. I sent him a message expressing a desire to possible rent a room for three months in early 2015.
I received an enthusiastic response from him. Turns out he’s from Washington State, Seattle exactly. He and his family typically spend the first quarter of the year in Georgia in the southern Caucasus since it’s warmer there. He’s offering me his 2.5 bedroom apartment for $400/month. In his mind, it was a slam-dunk because the entire place would be rented while he was gone and he’d make some decent bread while on vacation. I was jazzed.
I later explained to him that I wouldn’t know for several weeks if I would need the apartment or not. I have to admit that I am almost hoping that I don’t get the residency visa so I can go to Ukraine and enjoy part of my heritage from my mother’s side.
Yet it was encouraging. I was having a rough day that particular day. Thinking about leaving, saying goodbye, dealing with myriad details that multiply overnight. I was frustrated and questioning, which is to be expected for a major decision like this.
His response was a lifeline. It helped to lift my spirits. It reminded me that this is going to work out. Speed bumps are just that–they slow you down, but they don’t stop you. I have to quit making them into insurmountable mountains.
And the very thought of going to Ukraine entices me. When I mention “Ukraine” to people, their butt cheeks tighten. The first thing they say is, “Terrorists? Russian insurgents? War?” I have to educate them that I would be in western Ukraine, away from the fighting. Lviv and Kiev (the capital) are safe. Granted, there’s no guarantee that some terrorist won’t show up in a cafe or church in western Ukraine and blow up the place, but the actual fighting is closer to the Russian border and the chances of such are slim.
Of course, Russia could invade and I could find myself on the front lines of WWIII or the Second Coming of Christ.
No, going someplace totally different fascinates me. Ever since I started traveling to Europe back in ’97 I’ve opted for places somewhat off the beaten path–Prague, St. Petersburg, Bratislava. Sure, I’ve hit some major tourist cities–Rome, Paris, Munich. But I am intrigued by someplace different. And Ukraine fits the bill. The fact that I’m part Ukrainian, will serve me well. My brother tells me that they will fall in love with me because of my Ukrainian blood. Indeed, he talks about retiring in Odessa on the Black Sea.
But, as with everything regarding this move, it’s a waiting game. Very few things are in my hands. Everything is in the hands of others–the Italian government, BC provincial government, Oregon state government, Alberta provincial government. The fact that I’m waiting on government offices is not lost on me. It serves to reinforce my efforts to get as much done as possible.
I have now the potential of Ukraine to encourage and excite me. It adds spice to my journey.
Three more weeks to blast off.