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Our Big Day Out

Posting from: Khabarovsk
Local time: 10:37 am on Sunday, September 3
Weather: clear, cool, pleasant

Just want to clarify that we are not disappointed about the schedule. We had the option of picking them up full-time on Saturday, but the gradual transition makes sense to us, and also – via translation – to Andy. It also gave us a chance to make sure that we had brought the right size shoes and clothes, so that when we do pick them up, we are not surprised. Everything we brought fit, including the little green birthday shoes.

Our morning visit was great and a great learning experience for Jamie and me. We started out in the apartment where they vigorously searched through every cupboard and drawer, looking (presumably) for the mountain of sweets and toys. They handled that disappointment pretty well and we headed off to play in the park. (Sweets and toys are hidden in the backs of the tallest cupboards, but don’t tell them that!)

They have a decent play yard (trees, grass, walls to bounce balls off of) at the orphanage, but I did not see climbing equipment, swings, etc. The play-yard had these and Andy and Juliana loved them. Up! Over! Down! Dash to next! On! Off! We were surprised, however, when after about a half hour they were visibly exhausted and asking, yes, asking for their naps. We headed back to the flat.

They perked up when we got back and indicated (sign language) that they were hungry. “Bring on the ice-cream!” we think they thought. Alas, milk and cheese and crackers. Again, they handled the disappointment without tears, though they had clearly expected something decadent and special. “Nap! Nap!” they implored. They went to their bedroom and fluffed their special pillows and blankets from Grandma B. and found their pajamas and started to change into them. It was all we could do to keep them from their naps, but our facilitator was due to pick them up in ten minutes and we needed to keep them ready so that she could get them back to the detsky dom in time for lunch and naps.

It was tough saying goodbye, especially as Juliana looked up at me saying “Mama mama blah blah nyet detsky dom, blah blah.” She is so ready to stay. I think Andy was ready to go back and have a chat with the kids that told him that Americans are all about ice-cream and toys and sweets.

I forgot to include in the last post that the orphanage staff was really grateful for the Legos (thanks M&J&JB), coloring supplies (thanks B&S&B), and craft supplies (thanks B&D) that we delivered. As we are the poster-people for international adoption for this orphanage, we were especially appreciative of your help in being generous. We also took some balls and lots of toothbrushes and toothpaste, clothes, shampoos, hair toys, and one special outfit for one special girl who has to stay at the orphanage.

After the children departed, we had a bit of lunch and then trekked into the city. My good walking shoes are not holding up, so we are on the look-out for replacements, as we have a lot or walking ahead of us.

We walked up to the Gold Church and the World War One and World War Two memorials. We saw many wedding paries here, as apparently one must stop here to get one's portraits taken.

Our walk took us down the hill, past the pretty buildings, and up the hill, past the pretty window, to the Blue Church.

The square in front of the blue church was full of more wedding parties and small motorized children’s vehicles to rent, not related, I don't think.

We rested here for quite awhile (I napped) while Jamie shot these pics of the square.

Our journey then took us down this long flight of stairs. We bought ice cream and strolled along the riverside. We located all the museums that we want to take the children too and found the last gift that we had to find and finally made it home about 9ish.

If you are coming to Khabarovsk, don’t rely on your credit cards. We find that sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t and we often end up using cash where we didn’t expect to.

I also wanted to mention that we had a fabulous potluck at our flat on Friday night to say farewell to the folks that are leaving. A Canadian couple with an other agency dropped by with their little fellow. They are in their final week here and we were quite pleased that they joined our gathering.

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