I just realized how odd it is that I am talking about “pursuing the expatriate life in Italy” when I’m planning on traveling to Poland at this point. AND, I’m naming each Poland-related posting with a number in French. Perhaps this is a subconscious attempt on my part to be as continental as possible.
Well, to continue in this vein about being continental, I’m going to chat a bit about Ukraine, my next trip after Poland. I’ve been following the Russian separatist issue in eastern Ukraine since it erupted last year, long before I ever entertained any thought of going there.
It turns out that the separatists, supported by Russia with military aid, are making inroads throughout Ukraine. Now, they appear to be attacking a city on the southern coast. The EU does not want to get involved. Obama is seriously considering military aid. Poland has ruled it out because it fears antagonizing Russia, yet it totally supports Ukraine because it fears that it will be next.
Last night I was dreaming about my trip to Ukraine and what could possibly happen to me. I don’t mind saying that it has me just a bit concerned. Right now, Lviv and Kiev are safe. There’s been no terrorist attacks and no fighting. But how much will that change by the time I leave in early April? A lot can happen by then.
I’m communicating quite regularly with the gentleman who is hosting me. He’s an American from Bellevue, Washington. I contacted him and his wife through Airbnb and feel quite comfortable and confident staying at their home. But this issue is starting to cause concern. Until he starts to indicate that it’s unsafe, I’m still going.
I’m glad that Poland is safe. Although, Krakow is right across the border from Lviv. Since Poland is in NATO and is part of the EU, there really is no chance of Putin invading or supporting any type of insurgency because, Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty states that, if any member is attacked, it will be considered an attack by all NATO members (including the United States) and any response necessary will be taken. The Poles hate Russia and Putin with a passion because they were under the hammer and sickle for decades. They are very protective of their new freedom and their identity with their own country. I have no worries about visiting Poland. Indeed, I was there last year when my buddy and I visited Warsaw.
I’ve got some friends who think I’m ballsy because I’m heading to this area. Some of them thought I was ballsy going to Dubai, thinking that it was an ISIS hang-out, I guess. I study where I’m going. I don’t just head some where without educating myself. I would never go to Syria, Iran or Pakistan. I would never go to Saudi Arabia, either. However, a friend of mine went to Saudi Arabia and he was fine. Maybe I shouldn’t speak so soon.
I am excited about Poland and I’m revved up to get there and start trekking around. Fortunately, I won’t have to run from gunfire. Ukraine? We’ll see.