It was a long time coming.
The last time I was in Ukraine, I was about 6 or 7 years old, and I do not remember any of it. In the various world travels I have done in my life, none of them have taken me back to this part of the world.
Over the past few years, I have had a yearning to reconnect with who I am and where I was born and spent my early childhood. It has become stronger and stronger.
I like to say, there are no coincidences. Meaning, when things happen that may seem like a coincidence, if I look into it, I can usually find, uncover, or even create a deeper meaning.
In late September of this year, during a dinner conversation with my best friend, the opportunity came up. He would be visiting Ukraine, and I would have a good excuse to come and visit. Of course, I jumped at this opportunity. Everything came together and felt right.
Fast forward to less than 6 weeks later, and here I was. A total of 4 connecting flights from Miami to Dnipro (formerly known as Dnipropetrovsk), about 20 hours of travel, and I had arrived on a small jet after my final 1 hour flight from Kyiv to Dnipro.
I received a very warm welcome on my first night in. I spent the evening getting to know new friends and enjoying the company, conversation, and food at my friend's apartment in Dnipro, where I would be spending the next 3 days.
We had already planned out an itinerary of 3 days in Dnipro, 2 days in Odessa, and 3 days in Kyiv, before it would be time for me to return home to Miami.
As another coincidence, one of our friends, Alex, had his schedule open up just prior to my arrival. He became a great friend over the course of the trip, and was a fantastic resource on all sorts of history, trivia, and interesting information about life in Dnipro, the best views of the city, and the local landmarks and parks that one must visit.
Thus, just like that, a plan was formed and it would be time to start exploring Dnipro.