Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm here!

I'm finally here! I left the house a little after noon on Monday, flew to Chicago, then to Dusseldorf, then to Kyiv...arriving on Tuesday afternoon about 3pm. That time difference really steals a whole day of one's life.

The flight from Chicago to Germany was oddly empty. I've never seen such an empty flight. People were sprawled across three seats sleeping. I finally got my window seat, so I only had two seats with which to get comfy. I didn't get much sleep. I did better in the gate area in Dusseldorf. There was one seating area without arms at each seat, so I laid down, using my backpack for a pillow and got a solid two hours of shuteye. I didn't care what anyone thought of me. I have an important job to do here and I need to be on top of my game.

I gambled when packing my bags at the last minute and put all my clothing and makeup in my checked bag. If the bags got lost I would be wearing dirty clothes for a few days. I was delighted to actually see my bag being loaded and unloaded from the plane of my final destination.

At the airport, a driver was there with my name on a sign. I was tickled by this, as last time we made an adoption trip, no one was there to meet us at the airport. Very disappointing and, at the time anyway, scary. Andrei had the heart of a racecar driver, but the city traffic frustrated him at every turn. It was still an entertaining drive for me, as he weaved in an out and squeezed between marshrutkas and big trucks. There was a big snow the day before, so the roads were very slick.

My facilitator is a sweet and pretty lady. I'm very pleased so far. She explains everything to me and doesn't mind my endless questions and comments. My appointment this morning with the adoption authorities was long as they were running behind schedule. I had a moment of panic when Maxim's file was apparently missing. Turns out, he was born in a completely different region from where he lives now and they had to look in a different file to find him.

There were several photos in his file, but they only allowed me to exchange a recent photo for one of the old ones. I chose his baby photo: 

Isn't he a little dolly? I'm so sad that I missed out on his baby years.

After the appointment, we walked down the hill to a travel agent in an attempt to find train tickets for tomorrow night. Nothing but 3rd class was available. Masha explained that tickets may be available again anytime today or tomorrow and that we would try again later.

We were famished by this time. A little way further down the hill we stopped into a place called Le Borsht. I had a bowl of Borsht and a dish of viniagrette salad, beets, carrots peas and pickles in vinegar. Tasty! I needed to find a phone so we walked down to Kreschatik Street to find an electronics store. I left my gloves at home, so we went to the undergound mall to find some. I tried on a few hats, too. The sales lady and Masha said I looked very Ukrainian in one of the black knit hats, so of course, I had to buy it!

After this we tried another ticket agency for train tickets, but no luck. If you want to pray for me, please pray that we find 1st or 2nd class train tickets for tomorrow night. I don't want to take the bus in this weather. The streets are very slick.

If all that wasn't enough excitement for one day, I hopped on a city bus (only 1.5 grivna!) to go see a new friend. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with Jill, another adopting mom, and her new son. We had a great time just chatting and playing with the little dude. He reminded me so much of Theo when we first met tiny and undermourished, but full of life and open to accepting affection. Jill made me a grilled cheese for dinner, and before long it was 9pm. She sent me on my way with a whole bag of groceries that she wouldn't be able to use up before flying home in a few days. What a sweet time we had. When I stepped out of the building, onto the street, I found that it was snowing again. The scene was magic, with snow piling up high on each of the branches and little twigs on every tree.

Tomorrow, I plan to do some sightseeing with my facilitator. Late in the afternoon we will pick up Maxim's referral and, God willing, jump on a train to his region. Friday is the big day.


Jill said...

Glad everything went well so far w/ the flight, luggage and appt!

I was having fun seeing your beautiful kids on Skype! :-) Sounds like things are going well.

Hey, I'm sure your facilitator knows this, but just in case...when we left Kyiv to go to Kramatorsk, it was a Fri night of a summer holiday long weekend. The metro station was packed! Our fac even tried to get tickets several weeks ahead of time, but no luck. That day, Vanya went to talk to the conductors and ended up paying her to sleep in her quarters. The cabin was like 1/2 a 2nd class cabin, and a bit shorter. We were in 3rd class, so Vanya put his things in our cabin. It was the very last train car where the conductor hadn't sold the use of his/her cabin. It worked out great until a drunk guy came in before we left and started yelling at us in Russian! LOL We were quickly rescued though. :-)

Praying you can get outta town!

Karien Prinlsoo said...

Glad you are safely there. I pray that you will get those first class tickets and for God's blessing every step of the way!