March 24 Day 13 of Journey

March 24, 2011 Day 13 of Journey

By Tony

Remember how I wrote that it looked like the fields had been sown with plastic bag seedlings? Well,it is now harvest time and people are everywhere with rakes and shovels cleaning things up. I guess it has gotten warm enough for people to start thinking about getting ready to plant. One thing people are doing is gathering up all the dead vegetation into piles and preparing to burn them. All along the roadways there are groups of people tending burning piles and burning piles with nobody attending them. It appears that is why the air is so hazy–everybody is burning brush everywhere we go. From the looks of things there will be a lot of burning going on for several more weeks. If somebody can get over here with a chipper-shreader, they can make some great mulch and stop people from burning everything and dirtying up the air.

One interesting thing is that on the way to the orphanage from Nikopol about 10 miles out of town there is this solitary cow that is chained about 30 feet off the road. The cow has been there everyday for the past week. The odd thing is that there is absolutely nothing else around to indicate that the cow belongs to something or to somebody. Picture yourself driving to Wendover and about halfway there in the middle of nowhere there is a cow just off the interstate minding its own business. Strange indeed.

We checked out of our place this morning and bid goodbye to Nikopol and the cow and made a visit to the orphanage for a couple of hours before embarking on to Zaparozhye. We made it here just after 3:00pm and met up with Sveltlana who had located a couple of apartments. The first was was quite inexpensive (abour $28/night). It ended up being a bit on the other side of town away from the orphanage which was one negative. When we actually got there I knew we could not stay there. Kind of like when your house hunting and the real estate agent takes you to see a house and tells you to lock the door as you head down the street. One look and you say without getting out of the car to just keep driving. I don’t know how to say, “Just keep driving” in Russian, so we ended up stopping. I have been to a lot of pretty scary places in my life but this easily makes it to the top. The funny thing is that despite the surroundings, the apartment was actually not bad inside. That appears to be pretty standard around here. The outside of these buildings look prettty attrocious but the insides are well kept. The idea is that you don’t want anybody to know what you have so they won’t want to bother trying to steal it. We feebly stated that the apartment simply was not big enough for our needs, which was true. Dema (the landlord) told us that there was a bigger place closer to downtown that we could preview at 8:00pm. I was starting to wish that we had never left Nikopol.

Dema ended up calling us back telling us that we could actually see the apartment at 6:00pm. Hope was beginning to grow again. We met Dema in front of the Intertourist Hotel which is considered the nicest hotel in Zaparozhye. This area was decidedly better than what we had seen before. We walked about a block behind the hotel where the apartment buildings still don’t look so hot but the inside was bigger and acceptable for our needs. It looks like we will be staying here until our court day next Thursday before heading back to Kiev and home to Salt Lake for a couple of weeks before Anne returns for two weeks to comple the adoption. We were promised that the apartment had internet but once we got in were told that the internet would be hooked up “tomorrow”. They requested payment in full for the week. We declined and simply paid for two nights. Had we paid in full, I could envision that the internet would still be coming–tomorrow. . . If worse comes to worse, I can always stand in front of the Intertourist Hotel and use their free WiFi.

We did find out that it looks like we will be able to change our plane tickets without too much difficutly. Now if they keep our court date we will be in good shape.

If it sounds like we are not having the time of our lives you would be correct. I feel like I am pregnant. In the past when Anne was expecting, I could live my life normally doing whatever I normally did without any distractions. Anne, on the other hand, was constantly throwing up, dealing with an enlarging abdomen, and being generally miserable. It feels like this time I get to experience some of the misery of getting these three children delivered. I’m having those “I’m in the doctor’s office” feelings again. I just want this to be over. Hopefully, when it is over I will forget the travail that we have gone through just as real mothers almost instantly forget their difficult pregnancy once they have delivered their baby. Fortunately, our “pregnancy” has not had any complications like some of the other families. We do hope and pray that those other families having problems will be able to get through everything and ultimately end up back home with everything they had planned.

Note from Anne:

It is amazing how driving for hours can make one tired. Sam, Gabe, Lucy, Tony, and I sit in the car for over three hours a day. After sitting and doing nothing in the car, but talk, try to read, try to watch a movie, or just watch the fields and potholes go by, we climb out of the car at the end so lethargic.

As we look for apartments, I always feel a little concern, because people actually move out of many of the apartments that we look at. This three bedroom apartment was not to be available for us to look at until 9:00 so that the people or person could move out. I told the Ukrainian girl that was helping us, “We would just like to go by the place to see what part of town it is in and if the size will work for us before someone goes to the trouble of moving out.” That doesn’t seem to be the way it works. I guess we need to realize that these people are grateful when they can rent their place to us and make quite a bit of money doing it.

After we all brought the first load of stuff up to the apartment, Tony decended the four flights of stairs to get the last two bags. While he was gone, Lucy was telling me that the men wanted some kind of document, like our passport or something to make sure that we don’t leave early. Lucy told them that we needed all our documents. They wanted us to pay for the whole week as Tony mentioned. I told them that we did not have the money. We would pay them every two days in advance. They said that they would like it for the whole week. Lucy reminded us that people around here do NOT trust each other. I am really glad that we did not have enough money, because we will certainly wait till they install the internet before wmattress pads. In our apartments in Ukraine, they just lay a single sheet over the mattress and that is it. The one on this bed is a twin size top sheet that is difficult to keep between us and the mattress. If it were my very own bed a home, I think I could handle that just fine, but sleeping on a bed that many strangers have slept on, bothers me a bit.:)

Oh, by the way, today was Tony’s birthday. The children at the orphanage were very sweet. A couple of the older kids drew Tony pictures, one boy gave him a sweat band for his head, another boy that looks to be Gabe’s age but is actually 12 y.o. painted Tony a heart on a pieace of glass. I don’t think we will be able to get that one home and will just have to take a photo of it. One girls has made Sam a new friendship bracelet each day for the past three days. Sam said, “How do I tell her that I don’t need any more bracelets to be her friend?” Lucy and I have also been the recipient of the children’s creations. I am returning home with multiple neclaces and bracelets the the children have made.e pay any more.

I did not sleep really well last night. The apartment smells a bit like cigarette smoke. It smells stronger in some places than in others. We slept with the window in our room open most of the night. Tony closed it, NOT so quietly, during the night. After a while, I had to have him open it again because the smell of the apartment was bothering me. There are burn holes on the sheets and the pillow cases. I guess smoking in bed hasn’t burned this place down yet. Tony and I slept in one of the bedrooms, Lucy slept in the other, and the boys slept in the main living room on the fold down sofa that is just wider than a twin bed. We could not open the window to the enclosed balcony, because it looks to be the main smoking spot and smelled like it. I am sure missing vents — no vent in the toilet room, no vent in the bathroom, and no vent in the kitchen for the cooktop. I am also missing my bathrugs that I throw in the wash every week. The piece of carpet in the bathroom and the one in front of the toilet are pieces of rug that do NOT get run through a washing machine. Being a mother of six sons (soon to be eight), I HATE carpeting in bathrooms. I like rugs that can be washed every week and a tile floor that can be easily cleaned and sanitized. I wear my shower sandels in the shower and around the house so that I don’t have to think about what is on the floor. This apartment does have some lovely new vinyl wallpaper. It is nice and clean.

3 Responses to “March 24 Day 13 of Journey”
  1. Chris Stout says:

    I’ve been holding my breath for the past couple of days just waiting for your post. This is better than any “reality show” out there (actually most of them have very little, if any, value). But this is our friends real life experiences. I have loved reading your blog!! Thank you for opening the window to your life and letting us vicariously share your experiences with you. I love the details you include – the cow in the field – the apartment living – etc. We are daily praying for you and your family. Take care.

  2. Cindy Huntress says:

    Wow a big dose of ‘other culture’! Isn’t it so true that we take for granted the ability to do it the way we are comfortable. I saw that in China. Just think, by the time you are heading home you will have adjusted to another way to live (even if you aren’t sure you like it!).

  3. Erica says:

    In a lot of ways, our adventure was much worse than being pregnant. The nice thing was that once that court was over, I was having a blast over there and didn’t want to go home. I still really miss it and wish I were there with all of you! Ira is doing great here though. 🙂

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