Saturday, March 27, 2010
Yes, I know most of our blogging revolves around food but what else are we going to focus on if not food? It's not like we can go catch a show or go to a sporting event. So, we are left with one of man's basic needs-food. Fortunately we're good at eating so we've got that part covered. Mrs. Nancy found this place by passing it as she was accompanying her daughter for a hospital visit. It's sort of like an American fast food diner, but not exactly. Of course the menu is in Russian/Ukranian and the staff do not speak english. What to do? Simple, we call Marina (one of our facilitators) and explain what we're looking for and then she translates it to the waitress. Not very fast, but effective. The girls get some pork shiskabobs and the boys get a chicken breast, with FRIES! Not American french fries but close enough. Overall, the whole meal was good and the decor was kind of cool. The entire inside is laid out like a train, including the booths. One of the booths pictured above had a screen in it that had a landscape whizzing by. It was really cool. Except when the train "sped up". It went so fast, it made you feel dizzy. After we were finished, our waitress told our facilitator that we could take a picture inside the special train car, which we did. It was nice to eat something a little different and actually walk to the place rather than drive. And for the girls the beer was cold (you see a pattern with these two?), but for the boys we got a special treat. (see above picture on the right) BTW-Boy picture update tomorrow! It will be a good one, I promise :o)
Last night we decided to walk around and find a new place to eat. We wandered among the locals and wound up at some park in the downtown area. Here we found something amazing! No not the tank and war memorial, we actually found a place in the city with grass. Another interesting thing about this region of the Ukraine is there is very little grass throughout the area. Suffice it to say that Eternally Green Lawn Care would not thrive here. The added bonus was this large WWII tank. Logan of course wanted to climb on it. I thought that might be a bad idea so we settled for a picture of him in front of it.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Yeah, that's right another culture-shock lesson, and one that could be painfully learned if you're not alert. This is a sidewalk that we walk everyday to go places on. There are stores and banks, etc located up and down this street. Hundreds of people walk this everyday. Well it also seems a few occasionally drive them as well. And it's perfectly legal! That's one way of maximizing your infrastructure I guess. Beep, beep look out. Coming through. I guess the bigger user has the right of way????
The day before yesterday was our new son's 2nd birthday and yesterday was my (Jim) birthday. Neither event was what the Webb family wanted. First, the little guy didn't get a cake or any presents (except of course if you count his cool new family), but that will happen when we finally get home. It was just another day, outside of mom, dad and Logan singing him happy birthday in a language he doesn't quite understand. Dad's birthday was yesterday and I did not get what I really wanted. Now I am thankful for all the blessing, Robin, Logan, Zach, extended family, health, etc., etc., but the present I really was hoping for this year was a court date so we can finalize this adoption. It didn't happen, and right now it is in limbo for no one knows how long. (I'll spare you the details because I'm trying to stay PC) We would have had to still stay in country over the weekend, but at least Zach would have been with us and in our custody. Now we will still be in country, repeating the same routine the entire weekend, waiting for some silly document to get processed.
Second unwanted birthday present-Robin got sick. Seems she had what I had a few days ago, some stomach bug that completely wipes you out. (Pray Logan doesn't get it-ugh) She mustered enough strength to go to the orphanage but that wiped her out for the rest of the night. Since they all had plans to take me out for dinner, that kind of stunk. So she stayed back and slept. My stand-in "wife" became Nancy the Patriot fan. What lesson is God trying to teach me here? That I have to get along with everyone, even Patriot fans. Fine, fine whatever I'll do it. We did have a good time and got to see the cool part of the Sir Lancelot Restaurant that we've never seen before. (Due to some country band thing going on upstairs, we were sent to the basement. It rocked! It was layed out like a castle and decorated so cool. I LOVE knights and all that type of stuff, and our waitress spoke perfect english-she's actually from America). So we had a good dinner and also took some fun photos. Then Nancy tried to give me a birthday kiss, but I reminded her I'm taken and though I am trying to accept all people for who they are, I just can't get past the fact she roots for the Patriots. Guess I'll never change. Oh well, who cares the Patriots are big stinking cheaters anyway, and they're fans should receive abuse heaped on them in large amounts.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
That's right, you've asked for it and now you've got it. Is it everything you expected? What do you mean no? Were you hoping for something else? Hmmmm, it seems you people are never satisfied. Well, I'll take your requests into consideration and see what I can do with the next picture update. Until then...
This is a common site around Ukraine. These liquor kiosks are everywhere and the locals walk up, pay their Grivna (money) and grab a bottle to go. It is definitely a strange sight to see, and stranger still to see people walking up and down the city streets with open bottles of beer in their hands. You ususally only see this on the west side of Chicago, and even with that the bottles are in bags. It even seems that Nancy and Robin have been able to adapt to the locals because they have become very astute at the whole kiosk beer exchange. Lushes :o)
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Not really sure if this is the type of sign you want to see in a restaurant you're going to eat in? But there it was on the wall as we sat down at a very nice Italian-style restaurant. After an excellent meal, we needed to use the umm...facilities. Robin, Nancy and I looked around for any signs that might point us in the right direction. There it was, on the wall by some stairs going down. Now look closely, that is fire coming out of his butt! Yes, fire! Are you kidding me? Is this what I have to look forward to from the food, or is that stuff exiting him just some image that is recognized by the locals as...umm bodily excretions? I know I live a sheltered life in my little American town, but never in my wildest dreams would I equate fire with using the toilet! (Maybe in some greasy, fast food taco place, but not as nice a place as this)
Well, it's the only sign we see and since no english is being spoken, down the stairs we go. And yes it is the directions to the bathroom, or water closet as they say. The hits just keep on coming with this trip. Now, if you've read the earlier posts you'll know that their bathrooms are unisex (for both men and women) and some are regular toilets and some are "squatty pottys". Ok, I've come to accept that. HUGE difference here is that up until now, all of the bathrooms I've encountered have been singles-one person in at a time. But oh no, not this one. We're talking a 3-stall, 2-urinal bathroom open for everyone. And wouldn't you know it, there's a young lady who goes in right before Logan and I. Fine, I'll just wait until she comes out. Good in theory, but when you have a 6 year old dancing around because he has to go, plans change in a hurry. And since girls just take longer than boys to umm...go potty, she ain't coming out anytime soon. In we go. This event just keeps getting better and better. There are 3 stalls and 2 urinals, but 2 out of the 3 stalls are in use and the urinals are too high for Logan to use. So, he has to use the stall, and now I really have to go too. (and no, I couldn't even squeeze in the stall with him because they're so stinking narrow I'm surprised one person fits) Hm, hm, hm (me humming waiting for anyone to finish). Of course not. Ok, I can't wait any longer, I have to use the urinal. And right on cue, just as the ummm...process begins who comes out of the stall? Yeah, you guessed it, the young lady. Perfect! Despite what you all may think, I'm a pretty conservative guy and there are certain places that are just sacred. This is one of them. Can anyone say stagefright! She leaves, thankfully and my umm...business is completed. But now I feel violated in some strange way. It feels like I have left reality and now am in some crazy Twilight Zone world. Men and women in a public bathroom together, mass hysteria. Help me.
It seems my boy has been holding out on me. I mean I knew he was smart and all but I had no idea that all this time he has been going behind our backs and building cars. Which of course I don't mind but you think he'd share the profits with dear old mom and dad. Must say that his namesake ride is pretty classy looking. He must've been aiming for designing it after his classy momma.
Several days ago, while we were eating at one of our usual establishments, a stranger made his way up to me on my way back to my table. As I saw him approaching, I was a little cautious as to what his intentions were because the people here do not come up to talk to us. Then he spoke english to me! Awesome. I can't fully explain the jubilation one gets when after being in a foreign country where no one really speaks your language (bless the hearts of our Ukrainian friends who try though), and then encountering someone who does. It's like, WE'RE NOT ALL ALONE, there's a moment of connection that is really satisfying.
That day we met Martin, Jennifer and their daughter Laura. They are actually not Americans, they are Canadians. But hey, when they speak your language, that's close enough that we'll adopt them as fellow North Americans. They are a very nice family, also here for an adoption. Their process has taken them much longer, over 6 weeks. We all went out to Sir Lancelot's restaurant for pizza. We even took our Patriot loving fan, Nancy with us. Can you believe it, I'm allowing a Patriot fan to hang out with us! See how much I've grown since I've been over here. (Not really, she's better at the language than we are so she has some uses:o) It was a fun night and we all had a good time talking about our experiences and how much we all wanted to get finished so we can take our new additions home with us. Hopefully, all of us will be leaving shortly and our new friends will get to step off of their plane to the sound of, "O Canada! Our home and native land!"
Sunday morning brought nice weather (temps in the mid 50's) and with it the people came out in droves to go to the market. It's a big thing here. Imagine Frankfort Fest, only larger! There are were 1,000 to 2,000 (we think, maybe more) booths everywhere. Not to mention the many thousands of people who were there buying things. They sell everything there. Clothes, seed, flowers, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish (full ones, with the heads and eyes still attached-yum yum), etc. You name it, and you can probably find it or something close to it. I cannot imagine what the place looks and smells like during the hot summer months. All in all it was an experience to see the dynamics of the people and how they live. After this day, all I can say is where is my Jewel-Osco and my Target? I miss you sooooo much.
Another glimpse of that elusive baby boy was captured on film the other day and is now posted for your viewing pleasure. Pretty awesome isn't it? I mean look at that shape, the contours, the flow of the long hair (which will be getting cut promptly upon our return). I mean if just this part of him is that awesome, imagine what the whole boy looks like? Well, we've seen all of him and let us tell you he is cute! Until the full monty is revealed, you'll just have to take our word for it. Until the next sighting...
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Another baby picture for all of you to enjoy. This one is important to us because it's the first time we've gotten to see the little guys bare legs. Normally, he is dressed in many layers of clothes (that's just the way they do things at the orphanage). For the past week, he has been in no less than 3 layers of clothes-leggings, a little jumpsuit, a pullover outfit, and occasionally a heavy sweater on top. They believe that the children should be dressed this way. We have been told that when we finally get to take him home, we need to be sure and dress him warmly or all the older women will yell at us in the streets. (In fact, one day when they brought out this heavy sweater for him, the worker asked if Logan needed one because he was only in a single turtleneck shirt. It was quite funny as we had to explain that he was fine) Well, yesterday the temperatures climbed up to the 50 degree mark. So we got to see him and he was in only a single suit, with no leggings. What a cute little leg he had under all those clothes. Enjoy the picture. Hopefully we will get our court date next week and finally get to take him home. When that happens, we will finally be able to post a full facial shot. Until then, keep praying for our court date to take place this coming week.