Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Life in Ukraine

We have met many interesting people during our stay. Yesterday as we were leaving our apartment a man heard us speaking English and he came up and introduced himself. He is from Florida, but he travels all over Asia, Russia, and Ukraine for business. He showed us a few places where we could eat that weren't too expensive. He also showed us some clothing stores and told us stories about living in Ukraine. We are always skeptical when a stranger approaches us and Tim is on guard the entire time waiting for a con, but he was very nice and we actually went to one of the restaurants he suggested and had a nice meal last night. Tim is also sending me out with my purse as a decoy to try and catch anyone who tries to pick my pocket! Tim says he will invite them to a redneck party.

When we first arrived in Kiev with the kids we ran in to another American and he heard us speaking English and introduced himself. He is a former diplomat and knows the country. He met a woman online who lives about an hour from Kiev in a small town and had been corresponding with her. He came to meet her, but when he got to her town she never showed up. I'm not sure I would have shared this story, but when you meet another American you tend to pour your heart out. He stopped to help a man push his car out of the road when it died and someone picked his pocket and got all of his money, but not his passport. Several days later Elizabeth and I were walking back from the internet cafe and we ran in to him. I shared my story about my blackberry getting stolen.

I forgot to mention that the night before we got the kids out of the orphanage we met a couple from North Carolina. They were adopting a 9 year old girl. They were just starting their adventure and we were able to share our story with them. Their little girl is adorable. They told us she went to a camp in Texas. I believe she went to Dallas at the same time we hosted Michael. We exchanged email addresses. It turns out they were staying very close to where we were staying and we shared our taxi with them. We also exchanged addresses with the Italian couple. All of the kids know each other and it will be nice to stay in touch.

Today is our first day without our friends here. We went to the new restaurant with them last night and had a good time. They called us this morning right before they boarded the plane. Oh, how we wish we were going with them. It got cold today. We walked to the market to shop dressed like we normally do, but on the way back it got very cold. We broke out the long johns for our afternoon walk. As we walk along the street Michael will read the names of the cars (BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Fiat, Loda). He seems to really want to speak English. It's alittle bit harder for Elizabeth, but she is very smart and once we are home and in a routine it will be much easier for her. She is a typical teenage girl. She is more interested in changing her hairstyle 100 times a day, taking pictures, talking on the phone, fashion, shopping, and eating McDonald's. She also loves being in the apartment. I think it's because it's private. Everything there is for the four of us and we don't have to share it with 180 other kids.

We have been trying to figure out a way for Tim to get a computer connection. I was reading through the travel guide book that June let me borrow (thanks June!) and I realized that some of the luxury hotels have WiFi. The Hyatt Regency is not very far from our apartment so we walked over there before we came here and asked. Jackpot! They said for a fee Tim can come back and use their WiFi. He is very happy that he will be able to get more work done. President Bush stayed at the Hyatt when he arrived on April 1. I read in the Kiev Post that everything in Independence Square was blocked off. So I guess it's a good thing that we arrived on April 1 and took the train that night directly to the kids because we would of had a hard time getting to our apartment or getting around. They said the security was at its highest level and they weren't letting any cars anywhere near Independence Square or the hotel.

We hope to hear something from our facilitator by Friday. Thanks for all of your comments!

Barbara - thanks for the message. We love being parents. There is always something to do. It's great to see them experience things for the first time.

Erin - thanks for the message. I'm glad you are able to read the blog. You or Barbara may need to help my mother with her comments. She seems to have problems every time:-).

Becky - We'll see you soon when you come to vist CJB!

Brenda - Thanks for the birthday wishes. I hope Stephen gets to come home this weekend and see Hayden. Please keep me posted.

Mom - Call me again in a couple of days.

Julie - check your email.

Stephanie - Stay out of trouble.


Betty&Jim said...

Hi everyone!!!! I always, get so excited when you have posted on your blog!!!! Today is tax day and it sucks!!!!! Everyone at my house says,"Hello". Sharon, you better be careful with your "purse decoy"!!! What is it now, day 8, 9,on passport watch? I lost count!!!!! Hurry home.
Miss ya'll, Brenda

Becky Maxwell said...

I get excited when your blog is updated too! When you aren't on it for a few days, I constantly check for updates.... you know when you get home, it would be nice for you to continue your blog so that those of us who live out of town can still keep up with what's going on. :)
Things sounds wonderful on your end. Won't it be nice to be home and settled?
Keep the updates coming. It is so exciting to follow your adventure!
Take care and be safe! Becky

Erin said...

Sounds like you are having a great adventure. I am sure you are all ready to be home and start your new family life. Good luck and can't wait to meet the newest Coons'!

Ladybug said...

Hope you all are doing well. Just a few more days and your journey to get the kids will be complete. Can't wait to hear that you are getting on the plane to come back. We all cannot wait to meet the kids. Sorry to hear about all the pick pockets. Guess you can really tell how desperate people are by all the stories you hear. Be safe. Love, Ladybug

JLW said...

I also enjoy reading your blog and the updates on M & O. I sent an email to your office email address. I hope you can open it as I had forwarded an email that I sent to Leslie.
I hope you get the passports soon. Then a quick trip to Houston to begin a new family life. We are praying for you.

John and Ann

Lyndsey said...

Hi! I was just catching up on your blog and wanted to send some love and tell you how happy I am to read about your adventures. Safe travels!

Much Love,

Lyndsey (& Lance)