Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Picture Perfect Weekend

This was our first weekend in Ukraine, which turned out to be a picture perfect weekend in Kiev!  Snow started falling Saturday afternoon, at the exact time that Matt decided to take me on an outdoor stroll.  Snow is so beautiful, especially for a Texas gal who rarely gets to experience the beauty of white wonder.  (I prefer visiting snow instead of living in it! :-)


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The view of brand new snowflakes drifting onto the window’s ledge of the Airhart’s apartment.


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Snow just beginning to accumulate on the little playground by the Airhart’s apartment.


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Lorraine posing by the pretty pink hair salon. I had a little snowflake on my hat that we were so proud of! Smile


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The “underground city”, an open-air market that runs under the streets of Ukraine.  Love it!  (pic above and below)  You can get everything from magazines to coats to food to undergarments!  Wal-mart under the city.  Sort of.  OK, not really, but the variety and the prices are close.

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Matt was so cute, making me pose on the street, in the middle of the city’s bus tracks (that operate by rails). He really cared about the snow. He promised He’d keep an eye out for an oncoming bus!


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Matt took me to the cutest (and yummiest) little French bakery where we spent almost 2 hours, just the two of us, hanging out, catching up, enjoying the scenery, people watching, oh, and eating delectable French treats.  Matt continues to call this my European vacation. Smile


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Isn’t the wallpaper cute?  Oh, and how ‘bout Matt? Smile


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Eiffel tower of treats.


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Lovely window display.


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LOVED the bathroom mirrors.  Precious.


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We were there so long that the waitress took our photo in front of the heavenly baked goods.  If I had to choose anywhere to spend my time in Ukraine, it would be here.  I actually ordered several pastries to go (I LOVE pastries), but the guy didn’t understand what I meant about “to go”.  He starting setting multiple treats onto plates, thinking I was going to eat it all right there!  I used the universal pantomime language to act out taking the food out the door and waving “bye-bye”.  Then he was able to comprehend my request for my treats “to go”.  He promptly smiled and said, “Oh, take-out!”


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Roshen is THE Willy Wonka of Ukraine.  Their window displays are magnificent.  The photo above shows chocolate cars with white chocolate pedestrians.  I think that’s a white chocolate Santa climbing onto the rooftop using a rope.


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Chocolate 18-wheeler with white chocolate excited kids!


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White chocolate “ROSHEN” letters, snowfalkes,  and a white and dark chocolate Santa, sleigh, and reindeer.


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Then Matt took me to the closed-air market.  What a cultural experience that was!  The shot above was entering the market.  Oh how pretty, I thought.


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As soon as I rounded the corner, I was overcome with the stinch of dead fish.  Lovely.


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And sausages.


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But the real treat was the HUGE “locker” (open-air, inside of this huge enclosed market) of fresh carcasses.  Lovely.  Not sure one could get fresher meat, but I’ll take mine enclosed in plastic wrap with glass between me and the blood butcher.

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Fresh rabbit.  With a foot still on, just in case you’d like to make a key-chain. Smile  (Actually, I noticed that both rabbits still have their right foot, so there’s probably some significance to leaving the right foot intact and unskinned.)


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Duck, duck, goose.


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There’s an axe on the block above that is GIGANTIC.  Eek!


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Lots of pickled veggies.  And fresh fruits and vegetables, too.  That part was nice, and I’d gotten used to the smell by then, too.


There’s an upstairs to this market, but they don’t allow cameras up there.  (Have no clue why, maybe they don’t allow them downstairs either, but I didn’t see that sign.  Oh well.)  The upstairs has vendors selling mostly clothes, coats, shoes, textiles.  We walked it all.  I actually really liked it, but we didn’t buy anything.  Matt says we have no space in the two suitcases I was allowed to bring. 


We walked back to the Airhart’s apartment Saturday around 5PMish (left around 2PMish), then took Tara out to dinner since her hubby (and her father-in-law) had been gone all day and weren’t expected home until late.


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We were only in her apartment for maybe 15 minutes, but when we walked back outside, the snow covered the land!  It was so beautiful.  It was falling rapidly, hence the white streaks in the photo above.


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This shows how much snow had fallen in about 15 minutes.  Beautiful.


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Tara chose a different French restaurant that was beautiful.  Matt ordered sea bass (pictured above), which he thought was delicious.  Too many eyeballs bones for me.


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I went out on a limb and ordered some kind of seafood pasta dish.  That little creature above was some kind of rubbery squid, which I chose to let Matt sample first.  He advised me to enjoy the delicacy via photos, so I obliged, like a good submissive wife would.


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And then there were these creatures (above).  Anyone have any idea what those are?  Matt and I both chose to enjoy these with our eyes and not our mouths. Smile


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The chandelier and décor were beautiful.  Loved the freshly baked rolls with butter.  The sea creatures, not so much.


We went to bed around midnight, excited to attend church with the Airharts Sunday morning.  We woke at 6AM since Tara’s husband plays drums in the worship band and has to be there by 7:30AM for practice.  They have 2 worship services (at 9 and 11), in English. 


Jonathon Airhart’s dad, Melvin, is visiting right now, so he and Jonathon played together in the worship band.  Melvin plays the banjo (and guitar).  They played “I’ll Fly Away” and “I Saw the Light”, good ole southern bluegrass worship in Ukraine!


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The photo above was taken from the window of the church building.  Beautiful snow everywhere.


After church, we ate at a restaurant called Aroma, which serves delicious sandwiches on homemade bread, plus a lovely selection of pastries and baked goods.  Yummy.


Then we drove back to the apartment.  I took lots of photos (from the car window) on our drive home, since we’ll be leaving tomorrow morning early (Monday).  Plus the snow was so beautiful, I couldn’t resist.  Here’s a sample of what one might see when traveling the main streets of Ukraine:


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Cars park on the sidewalks here.  I’ve been really impressed with the driving though.  The safest, most conservative we’ve experienced in our international adoption travels.


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The Barbie posters are on the side of a dog shop.


And then back to our temporary home-sweet-home, the Airhart’s apartment.


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We’ll leave at 6AM Monday to take a car (with driver, along with our facilitator’s husband) to Kremenchuk, the city where the boys are.  The local inspector, who must supervise the first visit, is apparently out of town right now, but expected to return sometime Monday.  Please pray the inspector will arrive in time to supervise our first visit, or that someone will be able to supervise in her absence so that we can love on our new sons.


It’ll be hard to pack up and leave the luxury of the Airhart’s place (and their hospitality), but we’re so eager to meet our new little guys.


If you don’t hear from us right away, it’s probably because of Internet issues.  I’ve heard it’s much harder to get Internet in other cities of Ukraine, so we’ll see.


Looking forward to our next update including PHOTOS of our newest sons.  My heart feels so full of love for them, I just can’t wait to hold them, to whisper our love in their ears, to shower them with attention, and let them know they are not forgotten.  Chosen.  Cherished.  Treasured.  Thank you, Jesus!

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