Monday, March 12, 2012

Days 48 - Riding the Sleeper Train

I have SO much to write about, but I won't be able to all right now. I've got pictures and thoughts and events and food and so much to share with you! I guess I'll start with Day 48, but this'll probably take a while, so read back for more if this blog seems to be unfinished just yet :)

Day 48 - Sleeper Train!

My host family had to leave for Odessa last Wednesday. They would lock up the house and set the security system up on it, so if I tried going home after they had left, I would have triggered an alert that would send the police right to their front door to see what was up. To avoid such drama, I decided to pack up all my stuff and take it to school, where I would stay until I had to leave for the head-teacher's apartment. 

Staying after school was kind of nice. I got to delve into a book ("Time Cat" ha, one of the only real chapter books we have on the school's bookshelf), it was interesting but all of the problems in the story seemed to be solved way too simply and didn't end up being my favorite book I'd ever read. I finished that book and started another, "The Tale of Despereaux", which is a very cute story and I do in fact recommend if you've got an extra few hours on your hands. I didn't finish that one though, because the night teachers had come and I got to talking with them. 

At about 7pm we all had to head out, and eventually (after a whole series of adventures) I made it to the head-teacher's apartment (at around 9pm). I realized our train and bus to Romania would not be providing any food for me for at least two or three days, so I decided to go to the "magazine" (the store) to buy some necessities for the next few days. Okay, one thing you have to know is that in Ukraine, food is VERY cheap, but you also have to know that sometimes I can also be quite the penny-pincher. I wanted food that would be filling and somewhat nutritional for me, so I invested in a 4 grivna (about 50 cent) loaf of wheat bread and four of the cheapest (and biggest) apples I could find (about 1 grivna each). My host mom had also packed me with 3 small potatoes, 2 hard boiled eggs, a salad, a sandwich, some water, an apple, some cheese, candies, and some lemon-fudgy treats. I was pretty sure that with all that, I would be set. 

I felt like a pack mule with my gigantor overstuffed backpack and purse, but we eventually made it to the train station. We made a ton of jokes about Harry Potter and Anastasia and the Polar Express and just about any other movie that we were reminded of by being there in the train station. Hardly any of us had ever been on a real train before, so it was neat to be there and find the reality of those foreign things we'd always seen in the movies. 

I'm glad I'm not too claustrophobic, because getting on that train, there was no way you could get out once the people started pushing you in. Well, not for a while anyways. We found our room, and squeezed in just to find that we had no space to settle in until people cleared the hallways. We eventually took turns putting our stuff away and making our beds inside the room, and once we had all gotten settled, the sardines-in-a-can feeling sort of disappeared. We were able to talk for a while but we soon all decided to hit the hey and get some shut-eye. I actually slept pretty well, but found myself waking at times to consciously turn myself so as not to fall off that tiny piece of board they give you to sleep on. At about 4am we all collaboratively woke up and talked about how cold we were. We hadn't wanted to use those itchy heavier blankets they gave us because they smelt funny and we didn't trust that they'd ever really been cleaned, but I gave in at that point and used it to keep warm(ish) for the rest of the night (making sure to place it over the clean sheet I had already been using and keeping it well away from my face!)

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