We got back to Krivoy Rog on Wednesday afternoon. I got to see Maxim for about 15 minutes, signed a piece of paper at the orphanage and went home to my apartment. There was a bunch of paperwork to be done that my facilitator, Masha, could do without me being present.
I waited all afternoon for her to call...do you remember that feeling? Do you remember being 15 years old, waiting for that certain boy to call...and you sit on the phone, and it never rings? Yep, that is the feeling. I called her later in the afternoon and she didn't need me until the next day, so...
I arranged to visit some kids at a trade school dorm later that evening. This was one of the dorms I visited in December. Tough kids. TOUGH. They sit with their arms crossed, take cigarette breaks evey 15 minutes. In every group, so I've noticed, there is a loud obnoxious boy. To my surprise, Vova, the obnoxious boy in this particular group, remembered my name. He shouted "Stephanie!!" when I walked in. He told me he remembers "good people." Break my heart. I can only imagine the hurt and disappointment that all that toughness is hiding.
Funny, as tough as they are, they got excited like little children when I broke out the candy that I brought them! And I had friendship bracelets for them too...they went bananas (greedy!). My friend and interpreter, Valeriy, and I walked to the bus stop afterward smelling like smoke. Gag. I mentioned that I had a birthday the day before and he sang "happy birthday" to me along the way. Fun times.
As soon as I walked into the apaartment, my phone rang. It was my friend Max. He wanted to know if I was too tired to go with him to visit with a family. He said the dad was only a teenager and had some problems and could I please come. My standard answer here is "yes." I did not know what to expect, but I said "yes" without really thinking.
We arrived to the apartment and walked into a dark, first story entryway. That is when I saw it. A cake. With candles. Good grief! They got me good!
It was the girls from the True Hope office - Lera and Alona, Valeriy and Max! They threw me a surprise, day-late birthday party. We had two kinds of cake, carmel filled cream puffs, oranges and tea. Then we played dutch blitz. Too fun! I like the way they celebrate here. And I'm happy to call each of these people my friend.
Thursday was a big day. After I visited with Maxim in the morning, Masha picked me up to do some running around. Today we would close Maxim's bank account and she would finish the passport application. I was hopeful that we would take the little dude to have his passport photo taken but we were not invited to come yet. Sigh.
At the bank, the lady behind window #5 (you cannot get helped at just ANY window) said she needed a notarized copy of my passport. Masha only had one of these left (I think I sent her like 6 or 7 copies of this). She needed that last one for something else.
So we visited the notary. The notary refused to make a copy of her document, because it was a copy of a copy...that is what is stamped on the document. She refused to make a copy of a copy of a copy. So, we had to find a certified translator service to make a copy of my passport, translate all the information in it. This was not cheap and further slowed us down. The translator's office was kinda cool. It was obvious that they have language classes there. He invited me to come that evening for an English club. They are very proud to have a native English speaker, an American lady to married a Ukrainian boy and now lives in Krivoy Rog.
After we had the translated copy we went, where else? The notary! Then back to the bank. We were ushered into a private room where Maxim's funds were counted out for me. Now, Masha told me, I needed to decide what to do with this money.
Ahh...what to do...
Sunday, February 3, 2013