Four and a half months ago I was living in East Ukraine. It was bleak, cold, and I had zero friends. I lived off pasta, organic mayo, carrots, bottled water and potatoes. Ukraine isn't in the world news headlines all that often, but for the last three months I've seen "Ukraine" in big bold letters every.single.day. on my BBC.com homepage. I happened to pack up and leave right before Russia invaded because I had family matters to attend to. My husband stayed behind to fulfill his job contract, but each day things got worse and progressively worse. I started to read the news more frequently, and then I started to worry, like, a lot. Long story short, Dan had to flee the country and got a flight to Australia from Donetsk to Melbourne ASAP thanks to his club. Don't believe me...? Then read this.
We got word from a friend of ours who was still living in our old town last week. He texted Dan saying that it was "so great" Dan fled the country because things had escalated rather quickly. People had set up barricades in the streets and were walking through town wearing balaclavas and homemade armor. That same day he added that three people we shot down and killed in the streets. Five people were killed the day he fled back to his home in Serbia. Dan and I were in complete disbelief for we had always assumed our incredibly remote town would have remained somewhat safe.
I've lived in Ukraine (off and on) since October 2012. We lived in two major cities and one small town: Dnipropetrovsk, Kiev and Mariupol. I never in a million years thought I would step foot in that part of the world, let alone live there. However, we did and we thrived and grew in ways I never could have imagined. It's a fascinating opportunity to see how other people live in various parts of the globe. Matter of fact, it's one of my favorite parts of being an expat- witnessing what life is like outside of my comfort zone in the all too familiar US of A. The appreciation that I've gained is utterly priceless.
And now, here we are, back in the Canary Islands. We lived in Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) from 2008-2010 and I honestly never thought we would revisit these beautiful 'islas" off the coast of Africa. It has been a righteous treat and a blessing after the bleak winters and hardship of Ukraine.
Thank you to all our friends and family who offered us support during this bizarre transition at the beginning of 2014. Your calls, texts and messages were all immensely appreciated.
We only have 67 glorious days in Tenerife, and we sure as hell are gonna make the most of it!!
1. Visit Teide National Park : Check!
2. Hike to the summit of Teide: Booked for May 28th!!
3. Visit Playa Teresitas : Check!
4. Explore the ancient city of La Laguna : Check!
5. See the La Laguna Easter procession : Check!
6. Visit Playa de las Americas in the South: Check
7. Complete the Masca Gorge hike
8. Tackle Siam Park, the water kingdom : Check x 2
9. Shop on Calle Castillo : Check!
10. Walk through the Botanical gardens in Puerto de la Cruz : Check!
11. Visit Puerto de la Cruz : Check x 3
12. Swim in the natural pools at Garachico : Check!
13. Take the Fred Olsen ferry to Gran Canaria : Check x 2
14. See Los Gigantes: Check!
15. Go to a futbol match
16. Find the most authentic Canarian food on the island : Check!
17. Drive around the entire island in one day