Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Our Odessa Trip

OdessaWe’re back!! Our trip to Odessa is history and I must tell you that it’s nice to be home. )

FamilyWe’ve met with my family – my mom, my sister Ludmila and my cute little niece Viktoria. I was really happy to see them all. It seemed almost as if there were no years of separation, as if we just still live somewhere near each other.

Vika and AlёnaVika looks very much like her father. She’s got so much energy – if I had even a half of it, I would become …. hmmm…. well, anybody I can think of. ) She is very sweet and loves to be included into everything.

LudaMy sister looks just as I remember and even though she complains about a new wrinkle, she really should not worry about that stuff yet.

My mom said she feels more comfortable with me being away now after I introduced Danya to them. She told us that she sees how we care for each other and that she is very happy for us.

We arrived to Odessa on Saturday, and on Sunday Danya got very sick. We’re still not sure what happened exactly, but most probably it was some kind of food poisoning. He wasn’t able to eat for 2 days and we even went to the local polyclinic to see a doctor. She prescribed him some drugs and they seemed to help. The doctor in Brooklyn (Danya visited him yesterday) said that her diagnose was wrong and that the prescribed medicine had little or no effect on Danya’s recovery. Anyway, good thing that it’s over now, because all of us were really worried about him back in Odessa.

In Odessa we also met Artem, his wife Darya and their parents. All of them are very nice people and we had a good time during a dinner, which Artem’s father arranged for us. Artem was hired by [Company Name] and flew to New York with us. He lives at his aunt’s house for the time being.

We lived in the “Black sea” hotel, which was Ok, but a bit overprised IMO. It cost us 107$ per night and for Odessa it’s a pretty considerable amount of money. My family rented a private 1-bedroom apartment for approximately a third of this price.

Daniеl and Geoff Drinking GorilkaGeoff seemed to had a very good time too. He liked the city, the hospitality of the people, and I have a feeling that overall he really enjoyed the trip.

Alёna's FamilyIt was hard for me to say goodbye to my family. I wish they lived somewhere close, so we can visit each other and enjoy each other’s company. I don’t know when or where we’ll met the next time, but it would be great if my sister could visit us here.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Odessa Trip

Visas to UkraineThis was a really unexpected turn of events for us, but we’re going to Odessa, Ukraine in 9 days for a week. The whole thing came up as a business trip for me about a week ago, since I have a team of programmers there. And we just bought a ticket for Alёna ourselves. Originally we thought that visa for her is going to be a problem. Turned out that you just have to pay a travel agency of choice, and they’ll do all the work for you. Alёna picked up the visa yesterday, so we’re good to go now.

In Odessa we’re going to meet up with Alёna’s mom and her sister. She hasn’t seen them in over 4 years, and I have never seen them at all. So I’m going to meet them all a month before our wedding. This is exciting and scary at the same moment. 8O

As a part of the business trip, I have a co-worker friend going with me – Geoff. The interesting part about it is that Geoff has never been outside of United States (maybe Canada?), and he doesn’t speak a word of Russian. It’s going to be interesting to see his reactions / impressions. If I’d be Geoff, I’d be scared, but Geoff is looking forward to the whole trip.

What’s even more interesting is that we’re going to come back with another guy, who used to work for us in Odessa before. Now he was officially hired by our company here. He received a visa to enter U.S. last week, so we bought a ticket for him as well. That’s going to be another interesting thing. He hasn’t been to United States yet, and it should be a cool experience for him. He’s going to stay here for 18 months.

I, myself, am still not sure if I like this whole idea, but it’s not like I have much choice at the moment. Hopefully it will be more fun and less scary then before. o.O

P.S. U.S. citizens don’t need visas to enter Ukraine anymore, but I still have one from my previous trips there.
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