Merry Christmas to our little lamb. Merry Christmas to your big brother, our sweetest Anthony, at home. We miss you so very much dear heart. We'll be home soon.
It's a bit strange and a little lonely being on the other side of the world from the rest of your friends and family, especially on Christmas. Facebook has been really nice for seeing what everyone else is up to. What's really funny, is that I know if we were at home right now, we'd just be thinking of you, AJ, and how badly we wish we were with you.
Another thought that occurred to me was that you don't necessarily see all of your family and friends throughout the Christmas and New Year's holidays, but you know where they are. You know that if you wanted to see them, call them, stop over...you could. I'm finding that there is a real comfort in that. When you don't have it, you start feeling a bit vulnerable. That's kind of where I'm finding myself today.
We did get the chance to skype with one of our faves, Joani. That was certainly a Christmas gift to us, and she probably doesn't even realize it. A little taste of home for Christmas. We also watched Pastor Dan teach online from last Sunday. We are so very thankful that our church records and streams the teachings online- that, too, is a nice gift and taste of home.
This is the first Christmas that we've ever been away from friends and family- let alone, on the the other side of the world from any of them. So, this is how our Very Merry Ukrainian Christmas went:
We didn't get to bed until about 1:30am, but Daddy didn't get to sleep until about 4am. Yes, one week in and our bodies still haven't completely adjusted. How long does that take anyway? I woke up at 12:15pm and started to make your Dad some lunch. He's been hungry and not at all used to the small portion sizes, small plates, small cups, small bags, and smaller amounts of food. (For example, he went next door to the grocery and bought 3 bags of chip like snacks. 15 minutes later, when I was asking if he would share with me, they were gone. Note to self: Self, steal food immediately upon entering the apartment, lest you receive an empty bag.) So, we enjoyed ham, toast, scrambled eggs, a banana, and a clementine. Add a little orange juice on the side for me, water for Daddy, oh- and a few dill pickles for me too.
I realize that in the picture, this looks like a lot of food and what are we complaining about, right? The plate I used to serve everything up on is the same size as the dinner plates we have at home. The plates we ate from are the same size as salad plates (or I call them our lunch plates) at home. Kapish? And I have yet to find a gallon jug of juice or milk. Ukrainians must go to the market everyday to every couple of days, or we eat entirely too much as Americans. I have a feeling it's probably both. I wonder what Ukrainians would think of how large everything in America is, or that it's not uncommon to drop 200 bucks or more at the grocery store and not go back for quite some time?
After lunch, Daddy cleaned up the kitchen. I started laundry. We've figured out, best to do laundry in the beginning of the day and you can begin to guesstimate when your clothes will be dry enough to wear them again.
We decided to hit the streets and walk for a bit. It's not Christmas Day, here in Ukraine, but everything is very lively just down the block from us.
The end of our street, facing city center.
TGIFridays!- We haven't eaten there, though we've heard it's the place where a lot of adoptive families in country meet up. Right now, since Allen and Mallory left- we're the only ones still in Kiev.
This is how you cross the street. You go underground to do it, lest you be run over or dragged behind the bumper of a Mercedes and left for dead. We have learned- cross the street underground unless you can get into a large group of people who are ready to cross. Cross in a big group above ground, cross by yourself underground.
Merry Christmas from Independence Square- Kyiv, Ukraine!
I really can't tell you why the following photographs even exist...we are both bird haters. Mine stems from being forced to care for parrots while growing up. I hate them. They hate me. It's a perfect relationship. I was waiting for this thing to gouch my eyes out at any second. Look at him- you know he's thinking the same thing.
Before I knew what was happening, I had one on my freaking head. All I kept thinking was, if this thing takes a poop on my head...I know what your starving Daddy will be eating for dinner.
Daddy is not digging the big one...at all. I'm still waiting for the white ones to unleash their intestinal fury on my arms.
Daddy's turn to worry as to whether or not this thing is going to take a monster dump down the back of his neck.
Independence Square Christmas Tree. The entire city center is lit up just beautifully! There are street vendors everywhere. You can find pastries, coffees, ice cream (ya, I know), sandwiches, balloons, toys, scarves, hats, etc...you name it- you could probably find it down here.
I had to. I couldn't resist. I found it funny that we don't have a GAP to speak of any longer at home, but there happens to be a 2 story one in downtown Kyiv. Although, when we were down here the other evening, I didn't realize it was 2 story. We walked in to see if we could find anything cute for you and your brother. There were children's clothes in the front shop window, but we saw nothing inside. It was really very tiny. Tonight after taking this photo, I realize there was an upstairs we hadn't known about.
Last stop before home was the Billa. It's another nice grocery store around the corner from where we normally go. We just happened to be passing it on our way home so thought we would just load up there. Remember, what you buy- you have to carry. The bags here- you buy them too, so we must keep that in mind. We, actually have yet to remember to bring our own bags and have bought them every stinking time. I must say, though, the bags are crazy strong. Much stronger than our plastic grocery bags at home. This by the way cost a total of 299 hryvnia or about 37ish USD.
Welcome to Christmas Dinner 2011. Your Auntie Kimie in Oregon said when dinner is ready there, she would skype us in. Thanks. :)
Last note, for our readers and other adoptive families in Ukraine...Read your labels!! We're so used to walking into the store and picking up whatever without thinking about it based on its familiar looks. (Insert chuckle here.) Yes, I'm leaving it at that. We need someone else to commiserate with.
So, our sweet AJ, that was our day in a nutshell. Our Christmas present comes tomorrow. A gift so precious and well though out, a gift hand picked by Jesus, Himself, no doubt. We'll unwrap this good and perfect gift by being led through a doorway or maybe having a door opened to us. Are you still pondering about what this miraculous gift could possibly be? I'll give you a few hints:
He has blonde hair.
He has big brown eyes.
He has the sweetest milky white skin.
And, we have been waiting and praying for the day to finally come to love on him and call him ours.
See you in the morning Sweet Little One.
It's 9:38pm where we both are right now. The morning light can't possibly come soon enough. Sweet dreams....it makes me smile now, finally, to say- you have no idea.
To the moon and back,
Mommy and Daddy