Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 3.3--Sunday

What a day!  I mean, REALLY...what a day.  So many wonderful things, yet a comedy of errors that we aren't quite ready to laugh at yet.

It began with me realizing that the one shirt I had brought for my Sunday clothes was still wadded up in the laundry bag...with all the dirty socks, no less.

A few minutes later, I got an email message from Marsh that he was NOT on his flight home when he was supposed to be:  He had had a difficult night dealing with jet lag, a whirlwind weekend, money that couldn't be changed because it was not crisp enough, arriving in Kiev at 11pm and flying out at 7am...all of that put together meant one exhausted man.  So, once he was checked into his flight, he settled down into a chair and promptly fell asleep.  Apparently, they paged him over and over but no one bothered to wake the man sleeping right next to the gate.  Twenty minutes after his plane had left, he woke up to find a whole new group of people sitting around him.  He said he had a sickening feeling as he started to realize what had happened.

The great people at BYU travel took care of him, even though it was midnight Utah time, and he is now on a plane to JFK...I think.

One good thing about dirty shirt didn't seem like such a big deal after all.

We had a fabulous day at church!  We met the missionaries and several other people who speak English (yay!).   I obediently turned off my phone during Sacrament meeting.  The missionaries took turns translating the talks for us as some of them needed to speak at the pulpit themselves.

I was struck by how remarkable it is what a young man can do when given a desire to follow the Lord and the opportunity to do so!

We (the kids and I) attended Gospel Principles class all together because there were only two other youth, both boys, and this way the missionaries could translate for us some more.  We also met Yana who has a "hobby" of speaking english but is really fabulous at it!  She has offered her help to us this week if we need it.

Chris went with the missionaries to priesthood meetings and attended the teacher's quorum with those two boys.  It was taught by the branch president who speaks english as well, so he translated the lesson for Chris.  Patty and I went to Relief Society and Yana translated for us.  I had all the manuals and books on my Nook, so we read along with the class and sang all the hymns in English throughout the meetings.

Chris and the elders were hanging out together afterward and they were all loving the commraderie.  The elders have their p-day tomorrow and invited Chris to come play volleyball with them.  They also said they could use him on splits this week, so he may have that opportunity as well!  He is REALLY excited about it.  We just had a wonderful time at church!

About half way through the meetings, I decided to turn my phone back on in case Marsh or my facilitator (who knew of Marsh's situation) needed to call me.  It asked me to put in a PIN code to access the phone.  Uh oh.  I didn't have a code but I tried some stuff anyway and ended up locking myself out of it completely.  At first, I was filled with dread.  But, then I realized that I could ask our driver, Olga, to call my facilitator and get the code from him.  When she picked us up, I asked her about her phone (with all the hand gestures I could muster) and she said, "Olga phone no" and showed me her phone in several pieces.  No calling the facilitator.

This was a little unnerving because I realized that I didn't have a way to contact anyone...including the missionaries about p-day and my new friends who had offered to help us this week.  All the contact numbers for drivers and facilitators were on the phone, as well as the number I needed to access our internet account to put more money on it. 

When Olga dropped us off, I tried to ask her if she could pick us back up later to take us to the orphanage, but with all my charades and even pulling out my calendar, we were at a stand-still.  And neither of us could call my facilitator to help translate.  I finally resigned to just asking her what she did understand...that we wanted to be picked up tomorrow at 9:45am.  I was figuring that we might as well take Yana up on her offer to help me get church shoes for the kids (hoping to get permission to take them to church next Sunday) so I would just use a driver tomorrow to make that possible.  Of course, I realized later that I really didn't have a way to call her so what was I thinking?  Things were getting complicated.

We came in and had lunch and I sent off an email to my facilitator (luckily, he had given it to me just this morning while we were dealing with Marsh's airport issue) asking about the code.  We then left for the orphanage on foot.

We had only about 1 1/2 hours with the kids once we got there.  Patty had found the Russian Book for Dummies in the apartment and found all kinds of things I could have used to communicate better with Olga.  We brought the book and I used it to do a little english lesson.  I had Patty and Chris practice the Russian and Ruslan and Nastia do the same thing in English.  We...well, I...had a lot of fun!  We used the snacks we brought for practicing phrases like "I'm thirsty" or "I'm hungry" as well as practicing words like the names of fruit on the juice boxes.

We have learned the game Skip-Bo and really like it!  Even with me explaining the rules in English, the kids picked it up right away.  They are bright!

I forgot the scissors back at the aparment...again.  I have a habit of doing that.  Without a way to make fabric flowers, the girls decided to use the glitter paint that Nana bought (YAY for Nana!) to put the names of Nastia's friends on bags.

Nastia is putting pictures of herself with her new family into albums that fit in these little bags.  This will be her goodbye present for her three closest friends.  They will always be able to remember her.

Here is the tram we ride down the hill to the apartment.  We are feeling quite proud of ourselves as we act like native Ukrainains (sort of) and wield our grivni (their dollars) like we know what we're doing!

We then played games and Nastia and Patty worked on the goodbye gifts for her friends.  Before we knew it, it was time to go.

We came back home and checked for any news about the phone.  No message from my facilitator.  I hurried and sent off an email to my coordinator in California, knowing that they usually talk on the phone in the morning.  He just happened to be at his desk...he said he never checks his email on Sunday mornings and was leaving in 15 minutes so being able to reach him was a gift.  He called my facilitator and got the info on the phone.  I shortly received a message from my facilitator, too.  I learned that I have to buy a new SIM card because I locked myself out...which means I have to purchase that tomorrow and lose all the money we put on the card that is in the phone right now.  *sigh*

We did the dishes after resigning ourselves to not being able to communicate with missionaries about volleyball tomorrow and such when suddenly there was a dripping sound coming from the kitchen sink that was so much louder than usual.  I looked under the sink and, sure enough, the pipe had come completely apart and water was gushing everywhere...our own little tsunami in the kitchen cabinet.

I got BACK on my email and let my facilitator know that there was, indeed, a problem no Morford actually caused.  He contacted the "host" and he came to fix it...handing me the phone to speak with my facilitator as he came through the door.  My facilitator's first words were, "You've had quite a day, haven't you?"  I apologized for him being in the middle of it!

During our conversation, he made it very clear that I was not to take the kids to church, even if the orphanage staff gave me permission to do so.  I will just have to wait until we are in Kiev and they are officially my kids before I can do that.  He also said that he wasn't sure we were allowed to visit both in the morning and afternoon even though school was out.  *sigh...again*

So, we'll just see how things play out and I think I'll wait to buy church shoes until they are with me next week.  No point in making a mistake in that area, too.  They'll be ours by Tuesday, so there will be ample opportunity to take care of that.

And that, my friends, was our day.  Perhaps tomorrow will be a little less eventful...


  1. just read this to Catrice and Caden and her comments were, "Oh My Goodness. When everything seems to be going against you, you know that you are doing the right thing!"
    So is nest Tuesday, this coming Tuesday, or next week?

  2. Alisa I feel for you. You are very brave to go through all of this with out Marsh. Good luck and know that you are in our prayers!

  3. Wow! How crazy! You are a strong woman, that is for sure. I love reading your blog and learning about your adventures. What an adventure. We're praying for you.

  4. The phones usually are pre programmed with 1111 as the password.... seems weird that you could get locked out to the point of needing a whole new phone! I agree with Jane's comment, you guys are definitely doing something right :D

  5. Wow! You are awesome Alisa! It will all work out. . . one day (or hour) at a time! :)