Everything in Ukraine is still going great! Yesterday, we hired a taxi (minivan) and went to the Sea of Azov. Our coordinator and translator went with us. The drive was only about an hour and once we got on the beach, it was very windy. The water was green, just like the Atlantic Ocean in Myrtle Beach and the sand was filled with sea shell pieces. Our feet got some much needed exfoliation. Xan was the only one brave enough to get any part of his body wet. But, once he was wet he got really cold. Thankfully I thought ahead and brought a change of clothes for Xan and Brennan. Like Brennan’s other trips to the beach, he did not want to get close to the ocean water, but really enjoyed the sand. Sasha, poor thing, was so cold. We bought him a sleeveless shirt, which he picked out, for our trip to the beach because the temperature was supposed to be warm. Well, the temperature was really warm, but the wind made it feel really cold. He was shivering by the time the taxi driver offered him a jacket. Sasha found a mound of sand and entertained us by doing back flips off of it. We tried several different beaches, but it was simply too cold to stay out for very long. We got lots of cute pictures though! On the way home, our driver had to slam on his brakes and Xan and Brennan fell out of their seats and landed on the floor. Both were fine, but it scared them to death. In Ukraine, seat belts are not put in the back seats of minivans. So, there are no restraints for the kids. The driver felt awful and I believe he gave us a discount at the end of the day.
Today, I had a mommy’s day out. Our translator, Natasha, and I went out together today. Svetlana, our coordinator, had to return to Kiev to pick up some paperwork for our court date on the 6th. Natasha and I went shopping and then had a really long lunch and talked about many things. She is a true kindred spirit, a wonderful Christian lady.
While I was out with Natasha, my very brave husband took all the kids to the park to play on the playground and sandbox. Then, they went on a roller coaster ride. It was a very small roller coaster, but all the kids enjoyed it. I think Xan was a little scared at first, but said he would ride it again tomorrow. Brennan LOVED it which does not surprise me at all, I knew he would be our adventurous, wild child. After the park, they had lunch together at a local pizza place. Bucky pointed to what he wanted on the pizzas and Sasha ordered them for us. Sasha has been such a big help to us when we are out and about without our translator. He even helped Bucky not get ripped off while buying an onion at the local outdoor market the other day. The lady realized that Bucky was American, but must not have realized that Sasha would know what the real price of an onion would be. So, she apparently quoted an enormous price and Sasha put the onion down and told the lady “no”. Then they walked around the corner and found a more honest person.
Sasha was regularly calling Bucky “Bucky” for the first few days with us and we would lovingly remind him to call him “Papa”. I don’t believe I have heard him call him anything but “Papa” the past few days. It is so wonderful to hear him say, “Papa, please stop” in his Russian accent when they are wrestling and being rough with each other. He has the cutest gruff voice ever! Sasha has the biggest crush on our translator, Natasha. He sprays cologne on himself anytime he knows we will be in her presence. The day before yesterday while Sasha and Bucky were out during naptime, Sasha wanted to buy flowers for me and Natasha. Bucky told him, “I only buy flowers for two women, my mom and Mama.” So, I got some really pretty pink tulips, which are my favorite flower.
The people of Ukraine bundle up and they especially bundle their children. It has reach the low 80’s a couple of days this week, but the children are still in winter coats and toboggans. I am sure they think we are neglectful parents for not dressing our children the same way, but I think Xan and Brennan would die of heat stroke. Even with the high temps, the Ukrainian adults still wear very warm coats and jackets. Ukrainian women also dress like they have just stepped out of a fashion catalog. Even when they are playing with their kids on the playground, you can expect them to be in a high heels and miniskirts. I seriously don’t know how they walk around in the high heels. I mean these people walk everywhere they go and they do it in high heels. I have felt like I look like a homeless person when I go out because they are all dressed so nicely all the time. We have not experienced any of the racial hatred we were warned we might experience. Our experience has been quite the opposite, especially with Brennan. We have had several people comment that he has no “fault” in his features. At a restaurant the other night, the waitresses communicated to our interpreter that they had “fallen in love” with Brennan and wanted to know if they could hold him. He let them hold him briefly and they gave him a present (legos).
Please pray that after the 10 day waiting period, that will begin after our court hearing on the 6th, we are able to travel to Sasha’s birth city and get his new birth certificate and passport during one business day. Our coordinator is not sure if they will consider his new passport a “new issue” or a “re-issue”. If they consider it a “new issue”, we may have to wait an entire week before the new passport is issued. If they consider it a “re-issue”, we would be able to request it and pick it up the same day.
Well, it is nearly dinner time. I hope you have a wonderful day!