We flew from Miami to GA. My childhood friend, Mandi, happens to live there and she was so kind to pick us up from the airport, let us stay with her, AND drop us back off at the airport the next day, to fly to Russia. Yes, my mistake in having such a long layover meant that I was able to catch up with Mandi, meet her husband and adorable children. We had such a lovely time. Memorable quote by the worker at Arby's drive thru: "I don't know what I'm doing." Thanks, Mandi! You are a fabulous host! :)
Jill, Sarah, Mandi - we all grew up in the same town in Mustang, OK. :)
The kids and luggage at the airport.
It was a novelty for the kids to pull their own suitcase while carrying a backpack. The fun soon wore, off, however. Iryna was a stinker and didn't want to pull or wear anything. It was frustrating. A lot. You have no idea.
The kids LOVED riding on the airplane.
This is how I look when flying.
Moscow, Russia. Yes, that IS snow. It was 91 degrees and sunny when we left FL. A bit different here.
Waiting for our taxi to arrive. In the back is a woman who rode with the taxi driver. I would tell you her name, except I don't know it because she speaks zero English. I hear that's common here in Russia.
Pictures taken from our 6 hour taxi ride from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod. 6 hour taxi drive after an 11 hour plane ride = very tired people.
Everyone slept...except Iryna. She didn't sleep on the airplane. She didn't sleep in the taxi. But she DID sleep well last night. 11 hours. Yes. She was tired.
The apartment. It's in central Nizhny Novgorod. We're right by the market and McDonald's. Perfect location. We love it! It has enough room for all of us.
A view from our apartment. The other two views refuse to be uploaded by Blogger.
So! You've seen some pictures, here's an update. The flight from Miami to GA was uneventful, except that it was Anna's first flight EVER. She was nervous and worried and I've never seen ANYONE pay more attention to the flight attendant during her safety demonstration. She now says that flying on a plane is "Okay." I guess that means it was tolerable? Maybe.
We had a great time with Mandi. She's wonderful and bubbly and her family is so welcoming. We had a nice stay there and all agreed that it was too short.
The flight from GA to Moscow. Well, it was 11 hours long. We tried to sleep as much as we could, since we knew that we'd be arriving at 10am in Moscow, yet it would feel like 2am (FL time). I wasn't pleased with 2 of the movies they played, as they seemed quite inappropriate for Anna. However, her gameboy was a great distraction and I just tried to sleep. I think I only slept for about 2 of the 11 hours. Iryna, however, didn't sleep. At all. That's right. NO SLEEP for my baby girl. She had taken her bedtime meds and melatonin - nothing. Iryna has some major self control. Well, in this instance. I don't think children with FAS are known for their self control. Ha ha.
We arrived at the Moscow airport. It was nice and clean and small and easy to navigate. The lines didn't take long and at customs they didn't even do anything or scan our bags - nothing. I kep waiting for the stress to come, but we were just ushered through. Nice. We went outside to wait for the taxi - it was a van that held all 6 of us, comfortably, the driver and his lady friend (still not sure what her role was, exactly...), and all of our 14 pieces of luggage.
I slept for about 2 hours again on the taxi drive. The traffic was better than what I remember in Kiev, but Tyler thinks it was because of the time of day that we were on the road. It was rainy and snowy and the driver was a pro. I didn't feel nervous at all, despite my seat belt not fitting.
Funny thing: Tyler & I wanted to buy some bottled water on our taxi drive to Nizhny. In Ukraine, they sell carbonated water and drink it plain. We didn't know about carbonated water, so we bought a dark blue capped bottle of "water" which ended up being carbonated water. Bleah! I have found that I am NOT a fan of carbonated water. This time around, we were DETERMINTED to not repeat our mistake.
So, when we went to buy some water in Moscow, we looked for the light blue cap on the water, shook it up and saw no bubbles. We bought 3 big bottles, since there are 6 of us. 5 minutes down the road...you guessed it...carbonated water. Bleah! Yeah, we felt pretty silly. However, this time around, Tyler has been boiling the carbonation out of the water on our stove. Yeah, he's engineery like that. The water does taste normal without the carbonation. (imagine that).
We arrived at 6pm in Nizhny Novgorod. Sveta - our translator - met us at the apartment. We were going to stay at a daily apartment (where we pay per day) but she found us a sweet apartment right across from the town square, a market, and McDonald's. It's awesome. We love the apartment. The only thing it's missing is an oven, so cooking will be...simple.
Sveta is nice and courteous and very genuine, plus naturally optimistic. Most Russians aren't very happy, but Sveta is and I appreciate that. She let us get settled in, after taking our documents and helping Tyler & I buy some items at the market.
Last night we all slept hard. I woke up at 10am this morning and felt super rested. I made some fried potatoes and scrambled eggs for breakfast. For lunch we had some sliced slightly-sweetened bread with butter and Russian cheese plus fruit. Anna says she is a big fan of this meal and wants it often - no problem, Anna Belle!
Sveta came over and discussed our visit with the MOE tomorrow. We will meet the lady there and give her our documents. She will ask us questions about ourselves and the type of children we would like to adopt. She will ask us if we have an adoption visa, we will say no, because they do not offer adoption visas anymore. She knows this, yet she will ask us, already knowing the answer. Okay, sure, no problem, I can read a script. Sveta said that the lady will want to know if we intend to adopt 1, 2, or 3 children. We had intended just to adopt 2, but Tyler said he was actually interested in 3...so we have the next 24 hours to think and pray about that. Please pray for us to get a clear answer!
Today we have been relaxing, playing games, watching HOUSE (Tyler, Sarah, & I) and enjoying this vacation. I emailed a missionary and they are going to meet us on Sunday to walk to church. I can't wait. This is fun. I am having fun. Wish you all could be here. xoxo