Amy, thank you so much. It sounds like Ukraine and Russia must have similar climates.
Yes, Lin, I definitely hope we can meet the night of the 25th! Are you using Oleg? If so, his translator Dima could show you where I live on a map. My number once you get to Kiev is 529-7648. Do you know yet what your address will be? Maybe if I start hunting for it on my maps now I'll actually find it by the time you get here. As far as something from the USA: you wouldn't mind flying via Idaho and grabbing my stroller out of the back of our van would you??!!! (laugh here) Other than that, I'm fine. That is so sweet of you to ask. I was hoping to meet Sheila, too, but it sounds like she's trying to fly into another city rather than Kiev.
Kris, it sounds like you spent your time here doing exactly what I thought I would be doing a lot of. I keep a prayer journal but haven't made nearly as many entries as I planned to. And getting that extra bonding time with your daughter was a great benefit of staying close by the orphanage. The only plans I had to play tourist was to possibly do a one-day tour of the city that one of the apt rental sites advertised. But I am grateful for all the beautiful things I've been able to see. That would be so great if you could come back some time and see the sites--maybe when everything is green and flowering.
Scheri, I love you, too, honey. I am sorry about the weird-acting cat--sounds like Daddy has a good plan to fix her problem. Yes, I have been to lots of churches but no actual church services. I miss it so much but I am praying for you guys cuz I know you are probably in Children's Church right now though it's almost bedtime for me.
And now, my last day as a tourist . . . Well, the last time Kevin and I visited Andriivsky Street I saw this madroshka (I know I am murdering the pronunciation of that) of a Ukrainian family with 15 pieces nesting inside each other and since I couldn't get it out of my mind and since it would definitely be cheaper to get it now than to make another trip to Ukraine to purchase it and since tomorrow I will be taking custody of a certain little cutie-pie I decided that this was the day to go purchase it. Every time I was there on Souvenir Alley (my nickname) with Kevin I got hopelessly turned around so I was a bit nervous about making the trek alone but figured if I couldn't find the place, I'd just turn around and come home. I studied the map which helped tremendously in my understanding of the general layout of the land and how different important landmarks related to each other. (When I'm with Kevin I honestly do not pay any attention at all to where I am) So I stroked it down to my metro station (in my view of things, walking like you're late for an IEP meeting or a job interview or a day-after-Thanksgiving sale makes a person look more Ukrainian), pushed my token into the slot, headed down the escalator (if you're ever bored on an escalator here, try just planting your hands and feet in a comfortable position and then try not to move your hands--Kevin discovered that the hand rails and the feet portions move at different speeds so your hands will either pull way out in front or trail way behind after awhile), and headed for the Poshtova Pl. ('poshtova' looks kinda like 'nowtoba' in cyrillic) I'd forgotten that this stop is right by the River--beautiful view but icy wind. Traffic on the metro was light enough I actually got to sit most of the way. Then up the hill on the fernicular (sp?), past St. Michaels, down a street where I kind of had to watch out for the tree-trimmers overhead and easily to St. Andrews. This is the church right by the SDA and right by Andriisky Street but I'd never looked at it for some reason. There were quite a few people in it today--I guess cuz it's Sunday--crossing themselves, lighting candles, etc. I had my own private in-my-heart worship service thanking Jesus on the Lord's Day for giving his life for me. Again the artwork was beautiful and awe-inspiring. My eyes were teary from the wind but in that atmosphere teary eyes seemed very appropriate. Though I would have liked to take pictures, and though there were other people doing exactly that, it just didn't seem reverent. Finally I turned away and headed back outside, getting a beautiful view of the city. I was reminded of what I'd read in my guide book earlier in the day about the location of St. Andrews: '' The place for the church was not chosen by accident. According to the chronicle, the Apostle Andrew, standing on this hill, pronounced prophetic words: 'Can you see these hills? The grace of God will shine on these hills, and there will be a great city there, and many churches will be erected by God.' '' So be it.
My shopping quest didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped. I couldn't find the guy who had the madroshka I had liked so well. He wasn't set up in the same place he had been. I didn't go the entire length of the street but I did go quite a ways. I found one that was OK--less pieces, more money, not painted as cute--but OK. The moral of this story is if you find a souvenir you REALLY like, you better get it--that is, once you have a clue what an appropriate price is.
It was really easy to get back to St. Michael's now that I was paying attention. I'm sure it was as beautiful as ever except my glasses were so fogged up I couldn't see well. As I came out and actually looked across the plaza I saw another church that I recognized from the guide book so I headed over there (very straight, easy shot so no chance of getting lost). On the way I heard music and saw that there was an ice-skating rink set up with lots of people enjoying that activity. The church turned out to be St Sophia's and I had to pay 2 greivnas to get into the compound. It has a bell-tower that looks very similar to St. Michael's bell tower and they face each other across a big open area with nice, wide walkways. (There are intersecting streets but easy to cross) Apparently there was an additional charge for tickets to actually enter the church and possibly some museums on the site. (Being illiterate is a bummer.) But I walked around the compound and took lots of pictures. Of course, each time I took a picture I had to take my glove off to press the button--and boy, the air was absolutely frigid. It was time to go home.
After I had late lunch (bread, bologna and cheese that I sliced myself, oh great chef that I am) and got warmed up a bit, I did head over to the market and managed to make a few purchases all by myself including different laundry soap. Not being able to read all the settings on the washer (we did figure out white, color and wool) nor the directions on the laundry soap box make for some somewhat uneducated guessing. I don't know if I've been using the wrong soap or too much soap for the amount of clothes, or not setting it to rinse enough or what but it feels like my skin is a bit irritated pretty much everywhere my clothes touch and I generally do not have sensitive skin. I've been playing with a couple of the settings--one is temperature I'm pretty sure and I think the other one might be water level. Hopefully all this adjusting will help.
You would laugh at the number of bags I have grouped up by the door so I won't forget them tomorrow. There's a big bag of diapers and a couple boxes of chocolates for the orphanage. There's a sack of clothes for Caleb--including 2 pair of pants and 2 outer shirts because I'm not sure which will fit better--and coat, gloves, hat, inner shirt, diaper, sox and shoes. Another sack has bottled water, Fruit Loops equivalent, and will have bananas and sippy cup. My big-purse-turned-diaper-bag isn't even out of the bedroom yet but it is packed. Remember please, my youngest is 9 and the last little guy we fostered was in 2001. Please tell me I will remember how to do this.