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Journey to the Borderland

May 26

Posted by Lindsey Whissel on 05/30 at 08:32 AM

Last day in Kiev.

Today was the Rotary International District Conference. It was held at a Puppet Theatre and I was fell completely in love with the venue. It was wonderful tog et to reunite with some of the friends we’ve made along our journey.

The conference recognized three languages: Ukrainian, Polish, and English; if I understand correctly, there was a bit of an issue because Russian was not recognized. Our team was able to hear the speakers via earphone simul-translation. We gave our final presentation and also got to meet the Canadian GSE team and hear their presentation. They are from Alberta and are two weeks into their trip.

One of my favorite parts of the conference was a speech given by the past president of RI. He encouraged attendees to live by the Rotarian motto, “Service above self.” One of my favorite things he said was that people are like pencils in four ways: one- when held firmly, they can write great things; two- you must remove the outside to get to get to what’s useful on the inside; three- they need sharpening; four- if you press hard enough, even an eraser can’t remove the mark you leave.

After the conference, our team was able to take one last stroll through Kiev before heading home to get ready for a cruise around the city. Since we were going directly to the airport (cruise ended at 12am and we had to be at the airport by 3:30am to check-in), we said our goodbyes to our hosts and lugged our bags along on the ship.

The cruise was wonderful and we got to see Kiev by water at sunset- great photo-op! At one point, Ashley and I were sitting there, sipping champagne and saw a man in a cape—clearly meant to be Dracula—walk by and we both looked at each other and said at the same time, “Is that real?” Turns out, it was part of the onboard entertainment- the performers sang a lovely duet of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” followed by a costume change and a few songs from “The Phantom of the Opera.” Amazing. We missed the final number because we were distracted by a magician. We also got to talk more with the Canadian team, which was great.

Eventually, the cruise ended and we had to say our final goodbyes to our new friends. As I’ve mentioned in past blog entries, this is always the hardest part of the trip.  After many hugs and promises for future visits, we departed for the airport.

Word of the day: до свидания (das-vi-dahn-ya)– goodbye (Russian)
до побачення (do-po-bach-in-ya) – goodbye (Ukrainian).

{name} Author: Lindsey Whissel
Bio: Lindsey Whissel earned her degree in cinema and digital arts from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She has produced a variety of broadcast and non-broadcast media projects for television, radio, and the web.

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