Thursday, November 01, 2007

Its all Russian to Me

We awoke to the pinging of rain on the tin roof outside our window yesterday morning. The air was palpably cooler as autumn has placed her foot decidedly in the city of Odessa. Venturing into the damp streets, our breathe was visible as we chatted on where we would go. Robert wanted to see the port again so we wandered in that direction, but a stubborn gray curtain hung before the seaport, obstructing the view of the waters. We made our way back to the center of the city to look for lunch before making plans to visit the children at the orphanage. Inevitably, we always get stuck looking at buildings as we wander the city. If you look closely, there are the most remarkable plaster settings on the older builing, faces of girls, angels, lions, etc. We walked past the opera house where the bright pink roses were still struggling to bloom in the sinking temperatures and the wispy grass was receiving its final cutting of the season. The rain water mazed in angry torrents through the cobblestone streets of Deribasovskaya Street as we looked for someplace new to rest our feet. We found a quaint Italian resturant that offered a menu in Rusian/Italian/English. The meal was wonderful and under $15. A resturant of that caliber at home would have been at least $60 for lunch for two.

When we arrived at the internot, only a handful of boys were in the playroom. They were watching a kung fu movie and acting out scenes on each other as their intrest ebbed. Kola ran up to greet us and hugged me as hard as he could. Its good to see the kids growing more and more comfortable with us. Eventually Kristina and Lena wandered into the room. The two of them are joined at the hip, thick as thieves. They begged us to go to the music room and listen to them sing karaoke. We didn't understand a word they were singing, but they were singing and dancing around like they were on American Idol. It was hilarious! Before long it was time for the children to do their chores, so we headed home for the evening.

Lela Steele planned an outing to the movies today and invited us along. We met up at the internot this morning and rode with the children to the theatre. Our bus had seating for 18, but there were 40 people crammed onto it! Thankfully, the cinema was just down the road so we weren't packed in for long. We waited in the lobby for quite some time before going in. Robert decided the kids needed popcorn if they were going to properly watch a movie. You should have seen him going back and forth between the concession stand and the theatre passing out enough popcorn tubs to feed 70 people! The kids never get popcorn, so it was a real treat. I think it was more of a treat for Robert though. Can you believe that much popcorn was only $40?!? We watched the Bee Movie. It was all in Russian (seems to be a theme here), but we got the gist of it. After the movie, we rode back with Lela (to avoid being crushed on the bus!) and stopped off at McDonald's. It hit me as we were walking in, that this was the first place I had seen Kristina. I showed Robert the very spot she was standing when I took her picture. How strange to reflect on all that has occured in the last 18 months. We sat outside feeding french fries to little sparrows and talking about where God has brought us in this adoption and where He may still be asking us to go.

This evening Natasha took me to a book store around the corner from our apartment. Those of you who know me know I can spend hours in a bookstore. Even though most of the books were in Russian, the place had the same welcoming atmosphere as all good bookstores. Copies of the last book in the Harry Potter series graced the window fronts. Popular best sellers were recognizable by their covers. Wandering the rows, I found a couple of Russian-English workbooks for Kristina.

Not much to do this weekend; we will likely try to find the famous outdoor market and get lost there for awhile. We're waiting on one piece of paper that will allow us to have court on Tuesday morning. We won't know for sure until Monday when the SDA calls. Please pray that this all falls into place. Pray that we can find affordable airfare following court to come home for the waiting period.


Nataliya said...

You'll be very impressed with the famous outdoor market - it's huge! Here is a link to the web page about it:

Hopefully the piece of paper from SDA comes on time so that you can have the court on Tuesday and then buy the cheapest tickets to fly home after that! You guys are in our thoughts and prayers!

Debora Hoffmann said...

I second what Nataliya said: you guys are in our thoughts and prayers! Thank you for writing about this journey so we can be praying for you and also getting to "know" the children. They are so precious!

Melissa E. said...

Tuesday?! Wow, that would be great! Things are moving right along...well, hopefully anyway! We will pray for your piece of paper!

I enjoyed hearing about your thoughts in the McDonald's. Amazing what goes by in a year and a half! In the midst of it, it seems so long and you can get so bogged down in the details but in the end, you look back and forget so much of the anxiety and all in the joy of the present.

Jim H. said...

That bookstore actually has a small English section if you get desperate and don't mind Somerset Maugham, Dickens and good bit of poetry. Actually, it's not a bad idea to sit in the park and read some poetry while in Odessa! And, I recommend Robert take a trip to the banya before it's too late!

Melissa E. said...

BTW, that picture of Kristina's friend ironing...why is the board between chairs? I see legs for it. Is it broken or don't they know how it works?

Leslie said...

LOL, I was thinking the same thing Melissa! Robert has collected a number of photos of the children doing their chores (sweeping with handmade brooms, mopping, ironing, cleaning windows) and he says he's going to mke a video and put the pictures to the music from Annie "Its a Hardknock Life for Us".

And yes, the time changed here last weekend as well. Of course, we didn't know it until after the fact.

Unknown said...

Hey Leslie,

After reading your post from today, I spent about an hour reading the whole Orphans of the Ukraine blog... tears rolled down my cheeks for these sweet children. I give praise to the Lord for people like R. who serve him faithfully in the lives of these children. Thank you for pouring out your heart's journey in this blog. I lift you and Robert up daily and am praying for a smooth and straight path for you with all the paperwork.