Yesterday was such a great day! A little stress, a little food, a lot of fun.
We started out the day bright and early with breakfast at our little Bed and Breakfast. I can't say enough about the place we stayed. It was just perfect! Clean, fresh, bright, super friendly owner, a five minute walk from the train station, walking distance to the embassy, and about half the price of a hotel in Bern. The owner graciously let us keep our bags there all day till we left on the train in the afternoon, so that was great!
We knew the embassy was only open from 9-12 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so we were determined to be first in line since we only allowed ourselves 2 embassy days in country.
All our paperwork was in order and the visas applications and loads of documents were handed over. We then had to walk to a bank over by Parliament to pay for the visas and return to the embassy with our receipt. We didn't realize we had to pay for the visas with cash and just BARELY scraped up enough cash to pay. That was a nail-biter folks! Apparently the people we heard of who had their visas done in just 2 hours either got really lucky, or they paid to expedite them and we just didn't know that part. In order to have our visas done in time for our return flight to Ukraine on Tuesday we had to pay double and expedite them. Ouch! But, when you figure in how expensive it is just to eat and sleep here, it's actually less expensive to pay the expedite fee. So, we chose the lesser of two evils and our visas should be ready for pickup on Monday at 11:30! Pray that is the case! Thanks.
After the visa stuff was done for the day we had about 3 hours to kill before we would leave on the train to head to a town about 40 minutes away to stay with my friend Sandra and her fam. So, we explored Bern and it was fabulous.
The countryside on the way from Bern to their town looked just like the landscape on HWY 99 from Salem to Corvallis. Really! It was the most familiar thing I've seen since leaving the US. It even seemed more familiar than Starbucks! (hehehe) There was a lot of green farmland and lots of pine trees. Hallelujah for pine trees! I miss them very much. It was beautiful. 🙂 I tried to take a picture but it didn't really turn out.
We arrived at the train station where Sandra would meet us and found her easily. YAY! It's always fun to meet people in person that you've communicated with for a couple years. It was also so surreal. What are we doing here? Ha! This is hilarious that it actually worked out!
We took the bus to Sandra's village and then walked to their apartment. It's cozy and welcoming and we are having a great time here. Walter and Sandra are originally from Singapore, but Walter's job brought them to Switzerland 11 years ago. Sandra cooked us delicious Chinese food that made us very happy. You can't really get any type of Asian cuisine in Ukraine, so it was a major treat. SO GOOD! Then we talked, played Wii Fit (Which, by the way, gave Jed a Wii Fit age of 30 and me a Wii Fit age of 36. I hate the Wii.) It was a great time of getting to know each other better.
Sandra was talking some about Sinagore and I admitted that I really know nothing about Singapore or the culture there. I remarked to them that we only really know one person who ever had a tie with Singapore. Some of my parents' best friends are named Joe and Janet. Joe's sister Eileen was a missionary in Singapore for many years before we met her. I was mentioning to Jed that I think Eileen is the only person we know who has spent any time in Singapore. Walter and Sandra perked right up. Come to find out they knew Eileen! They were friends with her and worked in ministry with her in Singapore before they were even married! SHUT UP. You have got to be kidding me! At first we thought they were joking. I mean, out of all the millions of people in Singapore, the one person we know who lived there was their friend. What a crazy small world we live in, I tell ya. We were laughing our heads off about it. God is just too funny.
Now we're getting ready to head out to explore the little Swiss town we're in. It's Jed's birthday today so we'll need to make sure we find lots of treats.- I'm just looking out for Jed, mind you. This has nothing to do with my personal need for treats. 😉
Thanks for your prayers for our visas! Keep 'em coming! I'll let you know as soon as we have them in our hot little hands.