Friday, January 25, 2008

What an exciting, interesting, but scary time

Pictures: Kevin with our breakfast before our SDA appointment; the market across the street from our apartment
Last night I thought I was so exhausted I would sleep like a rock. And I did when I sat down on the couch--so did Kevin. But then when we woke up knowing that we didn't have any water to drink or use to rinse our toothbrushes, we talked about going down to exchange money and then going over to the market but I was nervous about going after dark. The aggravating thing was that while we were in the Chicago airport we'd purchased bottles of water and Coke Light and just took it all in our carry-ons all the way to Germany with no trouble at all--we didn't go through any more security checks and figured it was OK since we'd purchased it in the airport. BUT to board the plane to Ukraine it was different. And we watched them dump our sealed, unopened bottles in the garbage can.

Anyway I was so nervous about our SDA appointment today that I really had trouble staying asleep once I was in bed. One interesting thing was that there is just a flat sheet on top of the mattress approximately the same size as the top of the mattress so you can't tuck it in and it definitely does not stay in place. Then on top was a very warm comforter plus an extra smaller comforter and part of the night I was actually too hot. Anyway I tried to use my awake time quoting Bible verses and singing praise songs in my head.

We are using my cell phone for camera and for alarm clock because obviously it doesn't have service. Unfortunately we don't seem to be able to reset the time so we just set it for 8 or so hours after the time it is stuck at (Chicago time) So we got up, showered in lovely hot water and headed out to find a money exchange booth. At first we didn't know what we were looking for though it was obvious once we found it. Then we headed for breakfast and found a stand that was selling these round flat bread things that had some slightly sweetened cream cheese filling in it and some carbonated fruit drinks. Very yummy and satisfying. It is a disconcerting feeling not to be able to speak the language though pointing and lifting fingers for how many you want works. But I felt like we'd been out in the wild foraging for food.

Our SDA appointment was at 11:00 and our driver was right on time. I love looking at buildings and architecture and statues and everything. Then at the SDA building we were met by Oleg and Dima and discussed what was going to happen. I was so scared. We walked in the door and waited on the stairway for 5-10 minutes. The big question was whether we were going to ask for 1 or 2 children. Since we had originally petitioned for 2 we decided to go ahead and view some files for a second child. As so many people have said the actual appointment was quite painless. There was a social worker who explained the cases and another who translated for us. We were both uncomfortable with the other files presented so we are going along with Sasha only. His pictures were so cute but I wasn't brave enough to ask for them. The plan is to go meet him on Monday since the director has tomorrow off. The whole thing was less than 15 minutes.

Our driver took us past some very beautiful buildings and a big square.

Once we got home, it was time to forage for food again. We decided to go to a restaurant this time. One problem was that we didn't know how to identify a restaurant. As you all know the sounds of many letters of the alphabet here are totally different and the alphabet has many extra letters besides. Well, we found a building with a chef out front and guessed it to be a restaurant. We were met at the door by a man and at first I thought he was trying to keep us out. As it turned out, he was the doorman. He took our coats and hung them in a closet and then motioned us up the stairs. I still wasn't sure it was an eating place because I couldn't smell food but when we got upstairs there was a beautifully set room complete with tables, chairs and plates. At that time we were the only ones there. I was hoping for a menu with pictures but no such luck. Just page after page of meaningless-to-me symbols. Finally I got out my phrase book and pointed at the word beef. Our server was a good sport and pointed out potatoes and vegetables which I agreed to. Then she took me up front and pointed at various alcoholic beverages and finally to Coca Cola, coffee and tea.

The meal was delicious. First we were served Coke in beautiful goblets. Then a salad with tomatoes, red peppers, cucumbers, small chunks of a white cheese and an oil dressing. MMMM! Next a broth soup with potatoes, mushrooms. Then meat which Kevin said was sirloin and potatoes cut kind of like french fries (except didn't look like finger food) and both flavored so well. To top it off Kevin had two cute little cups of coffee and I had tea. Of course then came the bill which proved we could definitely not repeat this again any time soon.

So off to the market. There are several rows of stalls under long roofs (Kevin said it reminds him of storage units where each person has his own storage unit and opens it up and sells his wares) Different ones sell coats, boots, jackets, ties, scarves, sheets, household goods (laundry soap, toothbrushes, room freshener)--you get the picture. You end up buying a couple things here, a couple things there and of course paying at each shop. We had brought a couple bags but most of the places did give bags that we finally put into our bigger bag. Then we came to this store that Kevin called Walmart. It was all groceries but the interesting thing is each counter or part of counter is run by different people and you pay each one separately. One sight amusing to me was the row of plucked, gutted, raw chickens with their heads hanging down and their feet sticking up in the air. The whole meat area was pretty different with chunks of meat out on the counter. One thing we wanted sliced so the lady behind the counter handed the chunk of meat to this guy with a big meat cleaver who took it to another counter, cut off the 4 slices we wanted, carried them back and the lady bagged them for us. At one point we had to pull out the phrase book again because we couldn't find milk or remember the word for it. Come to find out we had passed it a few times: it was in a bag, not a jug. It was an interesting outing, part of it was a kick, part of it was scary because it just felt so foreign. And of course you already guessed there were no shopping carts. I was glad to get back 'home' to our apartment and get everything put away.

To my kiddos: I miss you guys so much. I love you lots. It is so weird to think you are still in school as I'm typing this. I am praying for you, that God will give you a feeling of peace and security that comes only from Him, that He will help you with your teachers and schoolwork and friends and with any aches or pains or worries. Mom, I hope you are feeling much better. Daddy, try not to worry but definitely do pray. Church family, I love you and I'm hoping we will find somewhere to go to church on Sunday. To all my RR friends especially those coming here--keep up the good work.

Plan to post more tomorrow.


a said...

How exciting, I am so glad you received his referal just fine. You are doing great and will get so use to shopping. Have a great visit with Sasha, can't wait to read about it.

Christina said...

Wow! You are already getting to be a pro at this whole blogging thing!! Love all of the details of your adventures, keep them coming! Glad to hear things went as planned at the SDA. Can't wait to hear about your first meeting with Sasha!

RR Group

Amy W said...

Hi Joy,
I can't wait to read your post tomorrow. Hope you guys have a real fun weekend!

Idahomom said...

YEAH!!!!!!!! It's so wonderful to hear from you - all safe and sound. I printed off your messages as soon as I got them and took them over to your folks. They were thrilled. They were "hungry" to hear from you. Joy, you write so well, I could actually see what you were experiencing. Remember that we are your city of refuge! We are praying and believing with you - can't wait to see what God will do. We saw your children Wednesday night and they looked good! We're keeping an eye - can't wait to hear of your meeting with Sasha. We love you and miss you! Linda

Stephanie said...

Wow, you painted a very vivid picture!!!! I cant wait to hear about meeting Sasha!!

Shelley said...

Glad to hear your SDA appointment went well. Enjoy your weekend in Kiev!

AZmomto7 said...

I am glad to hear your SDA appointment went well, shopping is definitely an adventure there, but I had help on my first trip to teh store, you are very brave going it alone!

We are looking forward to seeing pictures of Sasha. Keep war, and stay well.

Kris RR

karen s. said...

Way to go getting all around the place! Can't wait to hear more - keep the details coming! We are praying for you!
Karen s. RR

Natalie said...

Praise God that all is going so well, and continuing to pray for you on your journey.
Natalie (RR)

Linda said...

Kevin & Joy, praying for you today that God will direct every step you take. Enjoy your time together, too - the shopping sounds interesting - I can't wait to hear your stories.
Love you! Linda

adoptedthree said...

caught you from the RR group. Love your vivid tales, they bring me right back to UA.

Sounds like you are doing fine. Restaurants can be a bit daunting but still fun. Nothing like getting the translated versions like we did such as mushrooms in SOAP!! (mushroom soup)

Enjoy your journey to Sasha