My Journey from Ukraine to Ireland

Hi everyone,

I have good news, I’m back in Ireland. I had to change my return tickets to come home 2 weeks early because I became homesick and needed to get out of Ukraine. The journey home was…filled with bad luck. I honestly wish most of the stuff that happened didn’t happen. If you’re interested, I’ll write about my experience below.

On the 12th of Dec @ 8 p.m., I got on an international bus that was going from Ternopil (not Chernobil) to Warsaw. Who wouldn’t want to take a 12-hour bus somewhere, right? 

As we drove from one stop to another, with the bus driver playing Russian 80’s disco music through every speaker on the bus, I was desperate to find a comfortable spot. That didn’t happen, and, eventually, at 1 a.m., we arrived at the Rawa-Ruska, which is the Ukraine-Poland border stop. By 2:30 a.m., we passed the Ukrainian side and arrived at the Polish side. I’ll tell you this, no one expected our bus to be taken in for a second check that took a very long time. Apparently, the immigration people didn’t even do anything to it. They just kept it on the side of the road for no apparent reason. Because why not? I was getting nervous at this point. My timetable was going to be all over the place. I mean, I had a perfect plan for each transport mapped out in my head before leaving Ukraine, and all of it went down the toilet after this kerfuffle. 

So, at 6:40 a.m., the Polish side finally let us be on our way. In case you don’t know, it’s a 5-hour drive to Warsaw from Rawa-Ruska and another 1h train ride to Modlin Airport. My flight was at 13:50 p.m. and baggage check-in started at 11:50 a.m. So, we passed Lublin, (another Polish city stop), and headed to Warsaw, at last. The problem was that EVERY road to Warsaw was dug up and road works were ongoing. Who would think that it’s a brilliant idea to do road works in the snowy weather at -2C? I wouldn’t. Also, the stress gave me the chills, so I’m pretty sure I was freezing all the way there.

At 11:40 a.m., we arrived at the Warsaw West Bus station. I could no longer use the train I wanted because it went on an hourly basis, and I didn’t have the luxury of waiting. By this time, I was dehydrated (couldn’t drink much while travelling for lack of toilets), tired (from not sleeping the entire night), and hungry (I had 1 bounty bar at 6 a.m.). As any normal person, I opted for a taxi. The guy who drove me wouldn’t tell me how much it would cost me before we drove off–I asked him twice–which was annoying. My sister, before I went on the bus, told me the max the taxi should be 200 zloty, which is equivalent to €50. 

All the way to the airport, he bullshitted me, saying he was breaking speed limits for me (which he wasn’t), he hid the fare counter from my sight, and even upped the time in his car to make it seem like it was 20 mins more than it was. At the end of the ride, he demanded 398 zloty (~€100). To an adequately functioning person who would have had the time to argue and had coffee that morning and a meal, they would stick around to complain. I didn’t have the luxury to do so as I thought I was late, the luggage check-in queue could be huge and there was still security to pass. I begrudgingly paid the guy (approx. €94 because I didn’t have enough) and ran off to the airport terminal. I have to admit, sometime in the middle of the 30-minute taxi ride, I wondered if I was going to be kidnapped and sold off somewhere because that’s how all horror movies start off. 

It was at the Modlin Airport that I came to find no queues at the baggage area or at the security checks. I went through quickly and felt terrible for being scammed by that taxi guy. Being dehydrated, and the TSA agent took my only bottle of water, with my wallet as naked as the day I got it, I thought I’d go crazy. Thankfully, I had 6 zloty in coins in my pocket and it was the exact price of a bottle of water. Hallelujah! Still, I struggled not to bust into tears after the security check. I was running on empty both emotionally and physically, and I still had a 3-hour long flight and another hour of getting home from there.

The airline thought it would be a smart idea to leave people waiting in the cold weather for like 10 minutes before boarding the flight. My teeth were chattering when I got onto that plane and my body was shivering. I was worried they’d think I was on drugs or something as my eyes were red from exhaustion. 

On the flight, I managed to get about 1 hour of sleep. I think I just shut off and woke up with a start with earphones in my ears and wondering where the hell I was. In a way, I was worried that with my bad luck, my plane would land in France or something. Luckily, when we were landing, and I saw the misery of Irish weather, I knew I was home. Only UK and Ireland share the same bad weather, after all. 

At Dublin Airport, and I got my luggage, but I wasn’t met by my buddy. He was delayed because of his girlfriend. So, I ended up getting a meal at McDonalds (first meal outside of my bounty bar). An hour later, he picked me up–a HUGE thanks to him for being such a good friend–and I was delivered home in one piece after crying in his car from the stress of a 25-hour journey from Hell. I think I arrived home on Dec 13th, around 7 p.m. Irish time, which is 9 p.m. UA time. And that’s basically it. My fantastic journey from Ukraine to Ireland is concluded in the span of a few paragraphs. I don’t think I want to go back there for another decade or two…

*****

Now that I’m home, I can get back to work once I recuperate a little. To much of my disappointment, I wasn’t able to write more than 4 chapters in Ukraine. It’s not a very inspirational place 🙂 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Lots of love,

May

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