Here is an account of all the fun things we did today, April 11, 2012.
Marsh wanted me to get a feeling for the public transportation (our/his goal is for me to have a very clear picture of what life in Ukraine is like so I can understand the history of our two new kids) so we took the metro and the a bus to the Kiev Temple rather than hiring a driver to take us.
Here is Marsh in front of the Kiev (Kyiv) Temple! We got to do an endowment session with our family names. They had headsets for me to listen to the session in English but Marsh did the whole thing in Russian. This temple is the first to be built in Eastern Europe and it services 11 countries! I met a woman from Russia who was there for a few days to be able to do temple work. It is a 24 hour train ride for her to attend the temple. Another woman was from Odessa and it took her 8 hours to get there. We Utahns have nothing to complain about.
On the way into the temple, we met our friend, Zoya, who later took us for a tour of Kiev. She was born and raised there but her daughter lives in the US. She is a temple worker there. Then, who came down the stairs but Elder and Sister Hancock from Rexburg, Idaho! Marsh knew them from childhood. But, that's not all...Elder and Sister Westwood, also from Rexburg, were also serving there! It was a fun reunion for them all!
Here is one of the cards from our endowment session. How wonderful to have everything exactly the same on the other side of the world! We are all children of God no matter where we live or where we were born.
After the temple session, we hopped a bus to the metro and took it into the center of the city. There, Zoya took us to a Ukrainian buffet. I was so excited to try the foods we'd made at home in the country of their origin...and to try some new things, too. I have to admit, Marsh's borsch is WAAAYY better. It was great to try his favorite Ukrainian potato salad: olivye. From left to right, clockwise, here are the dishes: Syrnyky--cottage cheese and raisins baked, marinated mushrooms and pickle salad, garlic bread with dill, borsch (beet soup), Chicken Kiev (like chicken cordon bleu without the ham and bleu). All were tasty! Can't wait to make syrnyky myself. Zoya said the kids love it.
After lunch we took the sky tram up the mountain into a completely different area of Kiev. Below us you can see the Dnepr River and the historic area of Kiev.
Up on this hill, the princes always lived so it is very beautiful and stately. Here is St. Michael's Cathedral. It was rebuilt about 15 years ago. Zoya only remembers it as ruins during her childhood. It is very ornate inside with plenty of places to light candles and pray to your saint. Upon asking about the religious background of the area, Zoya told us that this orthodox church is broken into four sections, each feeling they are the true church. When I asked what Ruslan and Nastia might believe, she said the people there just don't know what they believe. It's more of a tradition than anything.
After visiting the cathedrals and seeing the monastary, we went to the touristy shop area. I loved seeing all the matroshka dolls set up and had to snap a picture.
On the way home, we met this sweet Babushka selling her wares. These babushkas are everywhere in the open market areas. Such a traditional look...and they all look like this!
The open markets are so fun to walk through. We know that Ruslan and Nastia's mom sold flowers in the market, so every time Marsh would see a woman selling flowers he'd say, "There she is!" Once again, we're trying to absorb these things to better know our new children.
This is in our apartment area. The building on the left is one of the apartment buildings. The building on the right is a medical clinic for families.
Here is Marsh getting ready to cross the street to go to our apartment building. It is the building that appears right by his head.
And just across the street from where he was standing, was this kindergarten school. You can see how the needs of the community are met right in their own neighborhood. Schools and apartments are right next to each other.
On the way into the building, we had to take a shot of the trash can for the building. It's a shute that everyone puts their trash down.
Here I am cooking in the little kitchen. We made noodles and sweet and sour chicken. I must say, with so few pans and such little space clean up is REALLY easy!
Tomorrow is our appointment at the State Department of Adoptions where we will receive our permission to visit the orphanage. It's first thing in the morning and we're really ready to get this show on the road!