March 23, 2013

The Past Few Days

Posted in Adoption, Blogging, Ukraine at 4:21 pm by catsinboxes

Well, we have been in Kiev for the past two days.  Before that, on Wednesday, we had our last day in the girls’ city. In the morning, I went out shopping by myself.  There is such a sense of accomplishment, shopping and using public transportation by yourself in a foreign country!

Though quite windy, it was a great day for taking pictures. The sky was gorgeous with the clouds continually shifting.

Then, Wednesday night, it was time to get the girls, “gotcha day” in adoption language.  We had a train to catch, so we didn’t linger long, just picked up the girls and headed for the train station.  Lena, who is older, was so excited to leave that she was crying!  Vika, who is younger and more introverted was quiet, but I’d say she was pretty excited too since she was very ready to march out the door and get into the waiting car.

The train ride itself was uneventful.  We shared a four bed compartment, and the girls managed to sleep.  I really didn’t sleep at all though a couple times I know I dozed fitfully.  I kept thinking back with longing to my first train ride and how, jet lag and all, I had so promptly gone to sleep!  Well, no luck this time.

Early Thursday morning we arrived in Kiev and were met by our driver.  The facilitator who had been helping with the adoption had done her part, so now we were entrusted to the driver’s care.  He loaded up our bags, took us to the apartment, and then to two appointments so Amanda could complete the necessary medicals and paperwork for the girls’ adoption.  Let’s just say it was a long day, but we survived!

Driving through Kiev, I had fun taking pictures out of the car windows!

After the appointments were finished and Amanda and the girls were back at the flat, I was able to nip out for a quick bit of souvenir shopping.  At that point, it looked like we might be leaving Ukraine the next day.  (Little did we know that Spring Break would nix that idea!)

The churches here are so beautiful!

Our driver took me to an outdoor type of market where there were lots of stalls selling Ukrainian souvenirs.  Incidentally, we just “happened” to park near his friend’s stall.  His friend, speaking impeccable English, whisked me over to the stall, showed me everything obligingly, rattled off prices, and was as helpful as could be.  I listened, smiled, selected, and ended up buying several things.  And yes, I did linger just long enough to make sure that I didn’t get too high a price.  I knew I could probably find the same items for less elsewhere, but my time was limited, the exchange rate was very much in my favor, and I was quite amused by the whole situation.

While driving, we passed these street vendors. Can you tell that Ukrainians take their sausages seriously?

As we were wrapping up, I asked if my obliging seller knew what a “racket” meant.  He didn’t.  Perhaps it wasn’t the proper word to use, but I explained it this way.  I said, “It is kind of like this.  I want to go shopping, so my driver takes me here.  And, oh, here is his friend who has a stall.  I could buy something here!  What a coincidence!”  As I explained, I was smiling, and he caught on quickly and started smiling, too!  I beamed at him as I finished and concluded by saying, “I’m not dumb!”  He laughed heartily and wished me a good rest of my visit!

By the end of Thursday, we realized that due to Spring Break, there was no way we could make it back over the weekend.  So, we started to settle down and adjust to life in an apartment with two little girls and lots of suitcases!  Meanwhile, outside it started to snow.  And snow.  And snow.  It snowed all through yesterday.  When we went out, the wind was blowing, whipping snow into faces, almost blinding you at times.  I dug out my fleece headband which I thankfully had decided to pack.  Oh was I glad to have that yesterday!

Today dawned with snow continuing to spiral down.  When we went out for a walk, I realized that we had a LOT of snow.  I knew that it wasn’t quite usual, per what our driver had said, but  only when I found out that Kiev has declared a state of emergency, did I realize that this is very unusual!  Usually the streets are full of traffic, but today there were not many cars out, and the streets still have a lot of snow.  I passed someone skiing down a side street on my way to the grocery store this evening!

Can you say, “buried”?

We went out on a walk with the girls this morning.  While it was called a walk, we did a bit of wading and plowing and trudging with all the snow that had fallen.  I did my best to take pictures.

Vika didn’t approve of my picture taking and marched down the sidewalk after Amanda!

The rest of today has been pretty uneventful, except that we shifted apartments and spent part of the afternoon transferring all of our things two blocks down the street from Apartment A to Apartment B.  But, besides that, not much happened!  We are taking it easy here, and if all goes as planned, we will be flying back to the states on Tuesday.

Let’s just hope the snow decides to stop before Tuesday!

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