We met the infamous Serge! We proudly gave him gifts of Marlboro lights and Jack Daniels and thanked him for everything he had done for us. He was so kind! His big burly physique is so deceiving ;) Even Serge was excited to have so many families in town together and insisted on a group photo.
From left to right: Niko, Carmichaels, Wingfields, Hogelands, Serge, Yulia, Walls, Wests, Estes'
We then went one by one into the tiny room under the staircase, showed our passports, signed our names and walked out with a stack of paperwork as thick as a McFoxy’s cheeseburger. It was our precious dossier that we had poured our blood, sweat, and tears over for months, hand-sewn together and accompanied by our official referral. It was the magic word; the one we needed to make the next step, the one that meant we were to go- to her!- the one that will be presented to the courts in only a matter of time to show that we are capable of caring for this little girl.
With our referral, at the DAP
With referral in hand, we walked back to our apartment to stow it away safely (and add a couple more layers because as Eugene stated, “winter has arrived”, and yes it is even COLDER). We had a leisurely lunch at a little Italian café- more pizza!- where we could people watch. I had a “Promodoro”, mozzarella and cherry tomatoes (yummmm) with a glass bottle of cola regular and Nathan had “Sicilian”- chicken, mushrooms and onion and bottled water. Apparently, the pizzas were half off for some reason so the whole meal was less than $10.
We also went on a wild goose chase for three things:
1) That darn hair straightener.
We searched and searched. We found one, but it was $40. I knew a couple other gals had gotten one for less than $8, so I wasn’t about to spend $40. I REALLY don’t want to meet my daughter for the first time looking like Kathy (remember those old comics?!) so I guess my husband will have to go all McGyver on the clothes iron again. Monday he heated it up and held my straightener to it long enough to heat it, tame the mane, reheat, tame, reheat, tame. It was better than nothing! (update- we don’t have an iron either. BOOOO. It looks like I shall present myself as a cartoon character afterall, and hope my 11-month-old doesn’t judge me.)
2) Jeans. I know… I am the queen of jeans, but I did not pack wisely. Both pair of jeans I brought are boot-cut, too wide to tuck into my boots and too narrow to wear over them. I knew all along that my skinny jeans would be the best fit for the trip, but to be honest, I didn’t fit into my skinny jeans! It was quite comical- me trying to figure out not only where to shop for affordable jeans, but how in the world do I know what size I wear?! It was interesting, for sure. I finally picked up a pair as a starting point and the tiny little sales girl looked at the jeans, opened my coat to place her bets on whether or not they would fit and then literally shoved me into a dressing room. Please please please please please. Suck.in.and…. nope. Not happening. I came out and tried to explain to tiny sales girl#2 that they were “nim noh gah”… little bit? She rolled her eyes. Tiny sales girl#1 came back over and I managed to hold my fingers up, indicating small. We finally found a size up and I made my purchase while they literally laughed at me. That happens a lot.
3) Boots, arg.
Those waiting to travel, tips for boots: make them tall and black. Make sure they are both warm and capable of walking on ice and snow. High heel optional (not even happening for this heel-lovin’gal, but these women are PROS).
I brought two pair of short brown boots. One warm, the other safe. Neither are both. I really want to make it work, it’s just a few weeks afterall, but with the temperature drop today and knowing it’s even colder in region, it’s becoming evident that they just might not. However, we didn’t find any affordable ones today that meet all the criteria :/ Bummer.
We came back to the apartment, just in time to Skype with our littles. It was super important to catch them before school- we needed to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Brynn and Cale!! They’re five years old today!!
This was on our DVD player in the apt this a.m.! We have no idea why. Cool :)
Shortly after, Eugene was back again, this time to take us to the train station (woo woo!). Thank goodness for this team. There is no way would have been able to maneuver that train station without him. After the delay yesterday, our train tickets had to be changed. We were moved to an express train, which was only a six hour ride, but it also meant giving up the privacy/comfort of our own cabin. We didn’t even have seats together actually. But again, after loading our luggage overhead, Eugene helped us ask a man to switch and we were able to sit together. That earns you a few extra grivnas, Buddy.
On the train....
The train was a little intimidating. This was the first time we were surrounded by Ukrainians without a single person who appeared to speak English. We faced two brooding men in black for the first hour or so, but they ended up moving. We watched a Russian sitcom that everyone else seemed to think was funny, I started –and finished- a book, and we ate the sandwiches we had made ahead of time. Thank you to whoever told us to bring our own peanut butter from home. I have eaten it every day (you can’t buy it here). Six hours later, we were here!!
Tatyana and her husband, Valentine, met us at the train station. It took us a while to find each other. Apparently, she saw me but didn’t think we would be so young. She said over and over, “I was not expecting such young couple!!”. I’m surprised that they’re all so surprised? It’s after midnight and we just got to our room. We are staying at a hotel for tonight. Tomorrow, the Kimbles leave the region and we will move into their apartment. Also tomorrow- we meet Anna Gray!!!!
We will post pics as soon as we get somewhere with wifi :)
TOMORROW, TOMORROW! I LOVE YA, TOMORROW! YOU’RE ONLY A DAAAYYY AAWWAAYYY!!
Ahhh... it's after 1am here now, alarm goes off in five hours!! PAKA PAKA!