Kiev is a really beautiful city. We’re so lucky to have an apartment right downtown, within easy walking distance of Independence Square, the Golden Gate, Sophia cathedral and some other beautiful orthodox churches.
Jen and I took the boys out on the town one morning to try to show them their capital. We took their pictures in front of the major monuments, and went inside a stunning orthodox cathedral with gold gilt onion domes and frescos and mosaics you wouldn’t believe if I told you. It was, without question, the most beautiful and ornate church I have ever been in, and I’ve been in a few.
Mass was being sung in Ukrainian and we waited quietly just inside the heavy wooden doors. I closed my eyes and breathed in my favourite scent in the whole world: heavy incense mixed with bee’s wax. Perhaps it’s the incense, perhaps the atmosphere that makes me a little lightheaded every time. The boys were stone silent and still, perhaps for the first time since we got them. They seemed as in awe as the parishioners on their knees in worship.
The boys napped after lunch, before our last trip to the embassy to collect their visas. Jen packed. I sneaked back out to collect another bottle of water, walk a while, and collect my thoughts.
I wandered back up to the sky blue church with domes shining brighter than the winter sun, dropped 5 grivnas in the cup of the old woman begging and covered my head before I ducked inside. Churches call to me. Not the strip mall or mega church American variety, but the really old ones, with 11C mosaic floors and frescos painted by Italians whose names you’ve heard of. I did what I always do: I bought five pencil thin candles, their wax smooth between my fingers and sweet smelling. I lit them for the five people I always light them for and wished them well across miles and oceans.
The visas were ready!! We scalped some internet in the subway beneath the city, grabbed the boys and hiked back up the hill towards home using Sophia’s gold domed bell carillon as our north star.
Bedtime was difficult. Jen and I rewarded our success with a pan full of popcorn and a Ukrainain Coke. I’m taking the label home for my nephew who loves foreign food labels.
One more sleep and the boys will be home.