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Back at home…

17 December, 2016

A final recap on my trip to Ukraine and my plans for the future.

We’re finally home. That’s probably the biggest take away from the end of the trip.

We were stranded in Ukraine due to the Lufthansa pilot strike. You always hear about these things, but it’s different when you’re living through it…

All I can say is, “Thank you, little voice in my head.” Something kept telling me that I needed to buy trip insurance. So I did. Allianz was amazing to deal with. We submitted our information online (plane tickets, cost of extra boarding (and food!) for the dog, the hotel, the parking, the cell phone bill), never dealt with a person, and got a check that covered all those expenses.

Considering our entire round trip was $1,700 for the two of us and our return flight was $4,700, we really needed that money back. Lviv to Madrid to New York to Boston was absolutely terrible. Our original Lviv to Munich to Boston was much better, but of course, there were no flights that lined up as well as the Lufthansa ones. Madrid absolutely sucked. I don’t care what it takes. I will never fly into or out of the Madrid airport again. Period. And then, we had the pleasure of JFK. I thought JFK was the worst airport in the world. Nope. Madrid gets that honour…

But, that was really the worst part of the trip.

I’ve had some distance over the past few weeks and I still can’t believe that I have family over there.

Not nearly as impressive, but I loved the city so much that I can totally see myself moving there. The only downside is that my husband would have to come, and I don’t think he loved it as much as I did.

In other news, I don’t know what to do with my Ukrainian studies anymore.

I’m not a social person, so using a lot of the social apps (We Speke, Hello Talk) doesn’t appeal to me.

The expense of italki lessons added up way too quickly when I was doing five days a week. Five days a week totally burned me out, too. I’ve scheduled the last two lessons in my package for the first two Mondays of January and I don’t think I’m going to book any more. I know speaking is important because it forces a quicker recall of the vocabulary (as evidenced by my struggles in Lviv), but I’ve always been a reader/writer and I think I want to focus on that. The speaking - if I decide to go back to Ukraine, or italki for that matter - will come back to me.

I was way more ‘fluent’ in Lviv when it came to reading menus and signs than I was trying to ask for what I wanted, or where we needed to go. That made me feel better about my issues with vocabulary and really drove home the fact that reading is definitely my strongest of the four pillars of language learning. So… I’d like to continue with the reading and add the writing. Listening has come along nicely, due mostly to my love of Океан Ельзи and the way the music ties into the reading aspects.

I don’t need a tutor for that - I just need time and motivation.

I took December off for that exact reason.

The only problem is that I’m excited to start up again - probably because I promised myself a 30 day detox from language learning.

Actually, I lied. There’s a second problem as well.

I’ve decided I’m interested in learning Polish. That will probably require some italki lessons so I can grow familiar with the alphabet / sounds. Which kind of sucks. I got a really good deal on PolishPod 101 and I’ve found some decent free resources.

Right now, I think I’m going to try and focus on both languages. I’m going to stick to my 5 AM “lessons” and then try to swing by a library after work for another hour.

I had decided that I wanted to study for a professional exam (the CMA - an accounting accreditation that focuses on cost accounting as opposed to tax and audit like the CPA accreditation) but that’s going to dig into my language study time, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do with that.

I suppose I could allocate mornings to language learning and evenings to CMA study… I’d just have to switch off between the languages and figure out how to maintain a balance between Polish and Ukrainian.

I don’t what I’m going to do or how to do it. Thankfully, I have two weeks left in the month to figure it out.

But.

I have a few more of my favourite books in hand (To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, Animal Farm, and a collection of works by Poe) and I’m definitely going to work on reading those, whether I do it as part of larger learning plan or for fun. I’m barely through the first few chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, so it might be a while but I WILL read them all.

See you in 2017!

Filed under: Culture, Language, My Experiences, Education, Practice, Travel, Ukraine

What you had to say...
Martin 17 December, 2016

I arrived back from Lviv wanting to return as soon as possible, it’s such a beautiful, lovely city.

Your journey home makes me grateful I can fly to Kyiv in 3 hours from the UK.  I’m planning to return next year.

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