I was so happy to spend my 25th birthday in the country that I love.
Even with being sick with a head cold and feeling everything was running out of my face, the entire day was so memorable.
My birthday started at midnight when the whole Litin team were hiding in the kitchen and sang happy birthday to me when I came down. Nastya and Luba gave me a butter dish, because of how much i love Ukrainian butter on my bread (with honey on top!).
When we woke up, we had to say goodbye to the Ukrainian Litin team. THAT part of the day was not fun. Lots of tears were shed and we drove away from the village of Litin one last time absolutely broken hearted.
(here's an early morning pic of ash and I in front of the church...so thankful my little sister was in Ukraine this year.)
We got to Vinnitsa and the first thing I see are these three precious boys standing there by the church with Evnika and Masha. I was so happy to see them, and Evnika had gone through all the work to have the boys come. See, the day before, we had to say goodbye to the kids in the orphanage...but, while I was in the house getting something, all the boys had to rush back to the orphanage to meet curfew...and I missed saying goodbye to the boys.
But i was overjoyed when I saw them! When I got out of the van, they greeted me with, "Heppy Birday, Kristina!" and handed me some little gifts. I got to see them ON my birthday and also got to say goodbye before leaving Ukraine!:) I was so happy.
(please don't mind my blah sick look. I was feeling icky and my makeup had gone undone when saying goodbye in Litin.)
After getting onto the big bus to make our long way to Kiev, I took a nice long nap with the help of some Nyquil that knocked me out. Once I woke up though, I was pleasantly and groggily surprised with being sung, Happy Birthday, by my team on the bus. No clue whether it's safe to light candles on a moving vehicle, but Evnika did, and I was so touched that she'd lugged a whole cake on board! And let me tell you, that I am not one that likes normal cake, but Ukrainian cake is SO good...it's not made of the cakey texture like here, instead, it's nutty and chewy, and amazing.
She had also brought on board some home made KRISTINAs, which are my absolutely favorite COFFEE drink in the Entire universe. I couldn't believe it! She's amazing! She made one for me and Ryan...I was so so so surprised.
(courtesy of Lindsay Bay)
In Kiev, we got to do a little exploring on our own, and split up into different groups. Our group was on a hunt for Ukrainian soccer jerseys, because the Eurocup 2012 was being hosted in Kiev, right where we were! So we went through all these venders and fun shops, and found the official Eurocup store sponsored by Adidas. So we all got suited up in the jerseys and enjoyed walking around Kiev in Ukraine's team colors.
(i got a huge cup of coffee on my bday too!;))
After the events in Ukraine, which also involved a couple museum tours, we headed to the hotel.
It was a BeeeaUtiful hotel. We even had some drop in visitors...they came through the back door.;)
We had a worship service together, and then dinner in a magical tent, with endless courses being served to us. (we didn't realized how many courses there were, so we really dove into the appetizers, not knowing that they were ONLY the appetizers...we had like three more courses after it.)
and again, the birthday song was sung!
after the dessert course, Vova told me that the cake we were having for dessert was for my bday. I laughed and said, sure...and he pinky-promised-bit-his-thumb that it was the reason they ordered a cake for my bday. Lol, again, it was a great cake! TWO Ukrainian bday cakes for my birthday. yum.
it was all pretty much a fantabulous way to spend my birthday in Ukraine! Great way to end the day!
(and then I went to my hotel room, took some more Nyquil, and slept like a baby all night! I woke up feeling SO much better!)
(courtesy of Ms. Claudia Gay)
A few days later, I got to celebrate my bday with my family!
We went out to one of my most favorite restaurants ever, Dockside. There's a new one on our island, so we decided to try it out together-just as good as the other one!
You can get some of the best and freshest seafood here!
I LOVED my special days of turning 25! Who knew it could be so wonderful!
Here's to a quarter of a century! I loved it so far!:)