Sunday, March 31, 2013

Skipping Easter...

...Not really, but I am missing the celebration since I am in Ukraine. They don't celebrate Easter until May because they follow the Orthodox calendar and I am here. It's bittersweet, but I am doing what I can to celebrate Christ's resurrection in my heart through reading the Bible and journaling. I am so thankful that Christ died for me so that I could be with Him for eternity. I know I'm not perfect and I mess up every day, but I am SO glad that there is nothing I can do to make Jesus love me more or love me any less than He does.

But TODAY we got to celebrate one of the kid's birthdays in Ukraine and it was sweet:

We (well, really Anika) made borscht! It was sooooooo good!

We went bowling and I saw this awesome Ukrainian lady bowling in a skirt and stockings!

We had a rapper theme party for Boyko (not pictured here). Pictured here is Sasha.

We live the thug life. NBD.

This is Boyko! It's his birthday and he loved his new sweater. :)

We also had a homemade pizookie!

Anika and I. :)
It was and still is a good day.

Visit if you want to learn more about my friend's ministry for kids that graduate from the orphanage. :) It is pretty amazing if I say so myself.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Days 9 & 10: Ukraine and 12 Degrees...

So, yesterday was fun... :) I woke up and made it to the train station and airport by myself and without too many set-backs. No delays and nobody tried to steal my money, so that's a success in my book! Haha

It was yet another full day of traveling and I didn't get into Ukraine until about midnight and Anika met me! It was the best thing! We hopped on a "bus" and rode into the sunrise and finally made it to her apt. at 7am... The highlight of the bus ride was that there was a drunk sleeping/snoring/smelly man right behind us who kept putting his feet on Anika and once on me...So weird! I also saw the prettiest sunrise. We made it safe and slept as much as we could.

It's a lazy day and I am SO content to not have to do anything or travel anywhere.

Oh, by the way, there is snow everywhere and last night it was 12 degrees... Spring, where are you? :)

I am SO happy to be back here. No sarcasm whatsoever! My heart is happy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 8: The Vatican and Sistine Chapel

I am soooooo pooped, but Amanda and I pressed on and visited The Vatican today. With sore legs, knees, and exhausted, we did it. It was a short trip. We went straight for the Sistine Chapel and went into the courtyard of the Vatican church. The line was grossly long and frankly, we were out of energy. The crowds were massive, but we were happy with what we got to see.

 One of the hallways leading to the Sistine Chapel.
 A closer look.
 Here are some images of the Sistine Chapel. I know, I wasn't supposed to take pictures here, but I did... This was one of the places I was looking most forward to seeing.

 The Pope wasn't outside... :(
 Silliness in the Vatican courtyard.
 After we got back to Frascati, we went to a tea house.
 And then we had a fancy dinner and wine. BTW: THE BEST pasta I've had so far!
P.S. I am going to Ukraine tomorrow. Prayers for safe and smooth travels would be appreciated!!!

Day 7: Florence and Pisa and back to Frascati

Yesterday morning Amanda and I went to the Accademia, a gallery that contains the Statue of David. Words will NEVER be able to describe how amazing this statue is in person, so you HAVE to see it for yourself! I still can't believe that one man, Michelangelo CARVED this statue out of marble.... I was on the verge of tears the entire time. (I know you aren't allowed to take pictures, but I couldn't help myself!)...

Then we left Florence and traveled to Pisa, none other than to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa!!!! Here are some nice AND really silly pictures. :)

 It was so rainy. :)
 After, we stopped for a snack: one cappuccino and a sandwich.
 We took a looooong train ride back to Allie's house and finally had dinner at 10pm. I LOVE pizza and had pizza on the day of Pisa.... ;)

Day 6: Florence, Tuscany

Okay, I am going to try to play catch-up.

After some more traveling, Amanda and I made it to Florence, found our hotel, and for sanity's sake, we explored separately. We are pretty independent and knew we needed some alone time. It was the best decision for us. I felt refreshed after.

After getting to the hotel, I went straight to a Salvador Dali art exhibit. He is one of my favorite artists and to see some of his work in real life was so cool to me. My heart was happy.

 I then walked through a large outdoor market and found this park...
 Stopped for a ham and cheese crepe...
Walked 463 steps up into and on top of this dome. The Duomo...
 The dome....
 More details...

 And finally what appears to be the most Italian looking dinner ever!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Update coming soon!

I need to update, but I'm so tired in a good way!
Maybe I will update tomorrow. Maybe not.
We just returned from two days in Venice and one in Florence and are so wiped out.
We are planning to visit The Vatican tomorrow, but I will update as soon as I can. :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 5: Venice, the BEST Day.

Today was such a breath of fresh air! No stressful travels, a good sleep, a good breakfast, and an absolutely amazing time in Venice today. It really is a charming place. So much happened today and it was all just plain gooooood. Again, here are some pictures:

I love posting pictures of food, and here's my amazing breakfast. I haven't had a solid breakfast since Oregon.
 Amanda, me, and a gondola.
 Beautiful, right!?!?
 Just one of the amazing buildings here.
 Just a fun picture!
 And another!
 Okay, confession. I've been craving a burger since eating a ton of pasta, and just so you know, burgers in Italy are NOT like American burgers. It was still good, but pork instead of beef. Wine too, of course!
 LOVED this spot!
 There were masks everywhere!!! So beautiful, too!

 Gold plated walls and ceilings at St. Marco Basilica
The outside of the basilica!

Right after I found out I used the men's restroom on accident AGAIN!!! I obviously walk into bathrooms with my eyes closed... :(
One of my favorite parts of the day was visiting a bar called Bacaro Jazz. I don't know the full story but the ceilings are covered in bras. Bras. Bras. Bras!
 Dinner=vegetable soup. It was so good. Dessert=tiramisu.
Okay, bed time and off to Florence tomorrow!