My journey started in about the middle of July of 2008 to come to Ukraine but I did not know it at that time. I made some new friends on the Internet that lived in Russia. I love history so I did research on Russia then decided to do research on Ukraine. That is when I meet a family in Krivoy Rog, Ukraine. We talked for several months via the Internet. Then in November they asked me to come to Krivoy Rog for a visit. I thought that would be very interesting vacation so I jumped at the invitation. I started putting the plans together to come for New Years and Ukraine’s Christmas. I worked it out with my employer so I could stay for a month. I bought an airplane ticket to leave December 28, 2008. That way I could spend Americans traditional Christmas on December 25, 2008 with my family. I planed on returning home on January 29, 2009. My family drove me to the airport in Minneapolis Minnesota. I had to take the plane to Chicago Illinois. Then I had to take another plane to Frankfort, Germany. I was nervous but up to that point all went well. In Germany I went to what I thought would be my gate. I showed the woman at the desk my airplane ticket and asked if this is where I was to be to catch my airplane and she said yes.
I was to board the plane and leave from Germany at 8 in the morning. At 5 minutes to 8 no one was getting on the plane. I went to the desk and asked a different woman if I was at the right gate. The woman at the desk said I need to hurry, I was to be at the next gate over and the plane was ready to leave. I ran there but the plane had taken off. I explained to this woman at this gate what happen. This woman told me to go to the ticket counter and explain to them how I missed my plane. When I went to the ticket window they said that they had a plane that was leaving in about 10 minutes that I could take but I would have to hurry. They said I would not miss my next plane in Vienna, Austria to go to Dnipropetrovsk , Ukraine. I was able to get to that plane on time for it to leave. Just shortly after I sat down on the plane, the then plane taxied out to the runway and then we sat there for 25 minutes. They said, Vienna was fogged in so we could not leave Germany. When I got to Vienna I went to the their ticket window to explain what happened. They informed me that there were only two planes a day that flew to Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine per day and the second plane was leaving in about 2 hours. They decided to give me a food voucher to a café because of the troubles that I had gone through. I found the café and had my lunch and then I went to find my gate. As I was waiting at this gate I needed to inform my friends in Krivoy Rog I was going to be about two hours late. I was able to find a couple young men that spoke Russian and English to help me to make the phone call. The young men tried to help me but I did not have the country code so they could not reach my friends. I then found a woman that worked for the airlines that was from Ukraine and she spoke Russian and English. I explained to her what happened and I needed to tell my friends I was going to be late. She said she would help me after we were in the air. When it was time to leave I had to take a bus that had no seats in it to the airplane which was very different than in Minnesota. In Minnesota everyone would walk to their plane. After we where in the air the woman that I had spoke earlier came to me, asked for the telephone number of my friends and sent them a short SMS telling them I was going to be late. Then when we got to Dnipropetrovsk again I had to take a bus to customs building. When we got to custom at Dnipropetrovsk I was very surprised about the building on the outside and inside of the building. It was just like what I saw in the movies about the custom buildings and the soldiers inside. There were three soldiers inside and one was carrying a side arm. I had to fill out a paper, turn it in to them for approval and then I finally was able to meet my friends on the other side on the of the customs office. While I was at my friends, they would not let me go anywhere without them because they said it was too dangerous. As I said they did not speak English so I used my notebook to translate so we could speak to each other. I worked every day with them on teaching them English and in about 40 days we where able to speak with each other without the translating program on my notebook. Then on January 25th I decided I would stay in Ukraine, work in the churches to help people and teach English. I really enjoy being in Ukraine. I have been teaching English in Minnesota sense 1976 to foreigners that comes to America. I have traveled with different friends to Kiev twice, Truskavets once. I have traveled Lviv, Kerch and Melitopol by myself to visit these interesting cities. I get around the city Krivoy Rog by myself on the marshrutka. I go shopping by myself all the time. One time I boarded a very crowed marshrutka and I was standing very close to the door holding on to the front seat. The driver said something to me but I did not understand what he had said and then a woman in the front said something and slapped my hand. I thought ok what is this about and decided to get off 2 stops early. Two days later I was on another marshrutka standing close to the door. The driver said something and I thought that maybe he was telling me to move back away from the door. I moved back a little from the door because this marshrutka I had room to step back from the door. He did not say anything so then I understood what the other driver was saying but the only thing there wasn’t any room to move away from the door on the first I marshrutka. I have people walk up to me on the streets often to ask what time it is or a light for a cigarette. One time I was walking home at 11:30 at night. When I am out late I do not talk on my phone but I called a friend one night because I felt safe, as I was close to apartment buildings. As, I was walking and there was a young man that was drinking beer sitting near the door of his apartment with his girlfriend. He heard me speaking English and came up to me, put the beer up to my mouth and spoke to me in Russian.