Got up after heading back to sleep for a few more hours. Not quite the sleep I’d hoped for, but good enough. We packed up and headed downstairs for our Continental Breakfast that was included with the room. We were both pretty happy with the fact that most of the things were pretty recognizable … and good. Potatoes were a disappointment, though. Cold and only partially cooked. I was expecting good ‘ole hash brown potatoes. Wow. That first bite was a surprise!
We went back up to the room to wait for A’s call. Once she got there, we checked out and off we went!
Her Dad is our driver for the week. Nice guy. Or at least seems to be. Doesn’t speak a word of English, and I just learned my first official Russian word. Thank you. HA!
It has helped, though.
It took about three hours to get to the Children’s Home. We went in and they brought him right to us. What a cutie. Seriously. He immediately had this thing for my glasses. DH did take some great pictures. I managed to pry the little guy out of my arms – didn’t want to let him go – and pass him off to DH every now and again. We both got some really good pictures and video to share with everyone back home. Should be fun!
My parents have been asking for a very long time what they can do to help. Well, this past winter, they went south like they always do. Every winter, they travel down to Florida like the thousands of other retirees. So I asked them to pick up a beach ball. You know the ones. The inflatable ones. They could only find larger ones, but its working out well! What a great thing to bring, because it packs flat.
I don’t think the baby had ever seen a ball that big before or really understood the concept. When he first saw it, it was pretty obvious that he was very frightened of it. Over the next few hours, he gradually started to interact with the ball … to the point of understanding that the ball rolls away when he pushes it and he even likes to head-butt it. I think we may have a soccer player on our hands!
We also brought a board book and he didn’t do much more than try to chew on it. That’s ok. He’s got plenty of time. ;)
We met with the Doctor/Director of the Baby Home, and got more information on him. She seems like such a nice woman. We took her out for lunch, too.
We also gave her our donation of clothes. She seemed very impressed with the amount, and some of the things, in particular. There was one little baby sweater that was hand-crocheted by my Godmother, and that was one of the items that she picked up and looked at in detail. I think I’ll try to bring the same amount next time along with the hand knitted blankets for the kids. The blankets are being knitted by my mother and godmother.
Later that afternoon, I asked A if there was anything else we could do. We agreed to purchase a few more things for the Baby Home.
One of the nurses also brought in a bottle of formula for him, and he didn’t want anything to do with it. He only wanted to hang out. I tried to feed it to him a few times, and finally gave up.
Our impressions of the people are wonderful. The buildings are this: they do the best they can with what they have.
A left us alone with the baby for a couple of hours. I finally realized that the day was getting long, and we were getting tired. So was the baby. So I tracked down A who was right outside, and we gave the baby back to the nice women who took care of him.
Once we left, it took about an hour to get to our new hotel. It’s called “Rent” Hotel and its very nice. We’re in a suite, and it’s on par with any Suite you would get in the states. I don’t even know what town we’re in.
We settled in pretty quickly. DH sent his jeans to be laundered and then we managed to get access to the internet room for a couple of minutes to email everyone to let them know that we made it ok and met the baby. The Internet Room was actually three computers hooked up to a router. The computer we used had a very old version of IE 5.0, I think, and had Windows 2000 installed. It was so old that it didn’t have a USB port anywhere.
Once we did that, our family obligation was done. Off to dinner in the hotel restaurant. Not one server spoke English, and their “English Menu” sucked. It was a straight, literal translation of the Russian side of the menu. It was so confusing! Since our waitress didn’t speak a word of English, we used the universal ordering language. We pointed to different things, and she brought them to us. We managed to find some food that was actually pretty good. I had a salad and some chicken. DH just had a salad. I think tomorrow he’ll end up ordering what I did tonight. He’s pretty hungry, as such a picky eater he’s losing a lot of choices in the translation.
We got a peek at the breakfast menu, and it seemed pretty passable. I think DH will load up on breakfast. I know we saw Egg and Bacon sandwich on there. So I think he’ll be OK.
Again, we’re in bed by 7. I’m about to turn off the computer. I seem to be getting around seven straight hours sleep before I wake up for a couple hours and go back to bed. That’s pretty normal, but I sure hope that it doesn’t mess me up too badly once we get home. DH seems to need a lot more sleep here than he does at home. He got a full 12 hours the first night, and he’s on track to repeat that for tonight.
We met our baby, and he’s a sweetie. Now we just need to get him home.
All that’s left to do once we leave the Baby Home is to go back to the Ministry of Education in Vladivostok and sign the Intent to Adopt paperwork. Should take another 10 minutes. Then we’re done. We don’t leave until Monday. So honestly, I’m not really sure what we would do if we left here to go back to Vladivostok.
• Buildings crumbling around the people that live in them.
• So many buildings without glass in the windows.
• Babushka’s hanging out on the side of the road selling berries and flowers.
• Wells for water next to houses with no running water. The wells have the ropes attached to buckets that bring the water up.
• We’ve noticed a lot of road construction. Main roads are well maintained, but side streets are completely ignored. The road that the baby home is on is filled with pot holes.
• Today, we saw an Army water truck watering a flower bed that was in the middle of a Rotary. Pretty interesting to see these big, burly men in military uniform out with a hose watering flowers.
• In every larger sized town that we drove through, there seems to be either an old Soviet-era plane or tank somewhere in the middle of town.
• Gas for your car is interesting as well. Gas stations had one pump for each grade of gas, and you just drove to the right pump. Its also full service here, so people pump the gas for you.
• The further outside a major city you go, the less that is recognizable. In other words, fewer advertisements for Coke, etc.
• Here, they understand the universal language of Coca-Cola. Just don’t ask for Coke. They have no idea what you are saying.
• Elevators here are really small. Most of them fit 4 people max. The elevators at the hotel at the place we stayed in the first night in Vladivostok was normal sized.