When I had the opportunity to go to Ukraine more than 10 years ago, I almost didn’t take it. I didn’t have enough vacation time. I didn’t have a lot of extra money. I didn’t speak the language. I was scared. Not scared for my life. It was a peaceful time there then. I was just scared of the unknown. So much so, that the night before my flight, I lay awake convinced I wouldn’t get on the plane. I did though. And the trip was filled with highs and lows and absolutely no regrets. Particularly now, as I watch with sadness the news from there, I am so thankful and glad for that opportunity–and my courage to seize it.
One of my more light-hearted memories from that trip is how my brother would often finish my meals for me. Not because he was that hungry, but because I couldn’t bring myself to eat everything I had been served (and not to finish was to be rude to our hosts). He may have gained 10 pounds on that trip. One thing neither he nor I ever had trouble finishing was the simple cucumber and tomato plate we were often served with our meals. To this day, one of my most favorite and very simple things. Garden fresh cucumbers and tomatoes with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper.