After Croatia, we spent a couple of days in Kyiv. A few of my friends are living there, and so they were kind to invite us to stay with them. They also showed us around.
(Also, as an aside. I visited Kyiv on Pioneer Day, which is a holiday in Utah where we celebrate the arrival of the first Mormon pioneers to enter the Salt Lake Valley . . . and it was an honor for me to be among some of my favorite Ukrainian pioneers on Pioneer Day. These people are incredible. Absolutely incredible. They have given me so much.)
[Hurray for dear friends.]
It was my first time being back in Ukraine since my mission, so let's just say there were a lot of different emotions. I couldn't go back to my actual mission (there is a war going on there at the moment), but it was a sweet thing for me to return to Ukraine, see people I love, and get to see Kyiv, which I had never visited before.
[And again. This is a sculpture of the four founders of Kyiv, Kyi, Schek, Khoriv, and their sister Lybid.]
[Looking over the Dniper River.]
Ukraine. Ukraine has gone through a lot, and there is no foreseeable end in sight to her struggles. But I do love Ukraine and the Ukrainian people for their tenacity, resiliance, and love of freedom. I can never throw Ukraine away. It will always be a part of my heart. And I was glad to go back for a couple of days to remember.