We love eastern Europe. We’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled through Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, savoring every moment of our time spent there…and have always wanted to return. The gorgeous architecture, the rich history, the hearty food, the incredible landscapes and above all, the welcoming people made it a region we’ve returned to several times.
Kyiv is a city that’s always intrigued me. Founded two-thousand years ago, it became a cultural, academic and religious hub of the region. Its Orthodox church domes glitter with gold, its cafes bustle, and it seems like the sort of place you can wander and find amazing surprises around every corner. And perhaps there’s a bit of familiarity involved. The city’s hilly bluffs rising along the Dnieper River slightly resemble the Missouri River town where I spent several years as a girl.
We’ve never made it to Ukraine, and now I fear it will be years before we do. Like all of you, I’m watching in horror as current events unfold. It hurts my heart for so many reasons. One million people have left their country in the past week and a half. Families have been separated. Fighting continues in the streets; Kyiv and Ukraine’s other culturally rich cities are under siege. The awful potential for loss of life is unimaginable. The war could also destroy countless and priceless national treasures.
Uncertainty looms. And after two years of the pandemic, I’m feeling especially anxious and nervous about what’s happening half a world away. But I do have hope after seeing the incredible fortitude and determination of the Ukrainian people. Hope that the invasion can end as quickly as it began, with minimal loss of life. And hope that someday, we will get to experience lovely Kyiv for ourselves.