This evening, I landed in Kiev for the beginning of my Ukrainian journey. While I am anticipating an emotional week, the flight here was, gratefully, uneventful.
I had read the day before my flight that Ukrainian International Airlines, which I flew, was one of the worst international airlines in the world; but, other than the lack of any inflight entertainment (which I don't really need on a midnight flight anyway) and any meal services (I had brought along some power bars, which was more than enough), the ride was just fine. For the price, I'd do it again.
And for anyone wondering if I would be one of the few Jews on the flight, in fact my guess is that more than 75% of the flight were members of our extended Jewish family, many I think on the way to Israel (as I saw far fewer at baggage claim in Kiev).
I spent my waking hours on the flight reading "Favorite Tales of Sholom Aleichem," which along with Rebbe Nachman of Breslov's "Tale of the Seven Beggars" comprises the reading material I brought along in the spirit of this journey.
After checking in to my hotel, I took an evening run in Kiev, which, for at least in the nearby radius of my hotel, looks like many other classic beautiful European cities. I was particularly struck by the banner in Independence Square reading "Freedom is our Religion."
My journey will begin in earnest tomorrow starting with a visit to, yes, Anatevka. I'm so excited that I'm not sure I'll sleep, especially since my body still thinks it's early afternoon.