Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 7.3--What I Learned Today

Gordon B. Hinckley once quoted: 

“Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.” 

Today was filled with moments that really pushed me to some of my personal limits and then there were some of those "beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed".  So, I guess today was like life in nutshell.  And, I have to admit that I'm beginning to understand why elderly people say they are "tired". 

Here is what my microcosm of life taught me today:

1.  If you are bringing cash to Ukraine, bring crisp bills with no markings, stamps, handwriting or anything like any of the above!

We actually tried to do this before this trip like we have for our other two trips, but our credit union had just sent out something that made it so we couldn't get perfect bills.  Guess who is having to wire money to Ukraine so his wife and children don't starve over here?

2.  Bring really good shoes...even if you have to wear them on your head to get them here.

I thought I didn't have enough room for my sturdier shoes and had NO IDEA I would be walking as much as I do.  Now, I will gladly exchange my suitcase of clothes for better shoes!  Since I can't change anymore money, I've decided that my shoes will have to do since there aren't any flesh wounds being caused by them.  Marsh says I'm tough.  I told him it was all talk.

I just keep thinking of the pioneers so I'll quit complaining now.

3.  Don't start crying until you get the full story.

Okay, I am trying to remember that we have a MAJOR language barrier and a MAJOR cultural barrier we are dealing with over here.  I did manage to keep the tears back while I was hearing that we weren't leaving for Kyiv until Thursday night...two days later than I had expected...but my face apparently gave it away because the orphanage psychologist got my facilitator on the phone immediately. 

Turns out, we are taking Ruslan and Nastia out of the orphanage on Tuesday the 24th, as planned, and doing the paperwork to start their passport process that day.  This is SO important to me because the passport process requires a 4-5 day wait...and, honestly, I don't want to be here one more second that I have to.  Sorry to be so blunt, but I'm dead serious.

They will then stay with us in our apartment here for the night (because they belong to us at that point!) and we will go back to the orphanage at noon on the 25th for their goodbye party.  Normally, the party would happen the day they are removed from the orphanage, but the kids are all coming back from summer camps on that day.  I think it's so thoughtful of all the grown ups to make sure ALL of their friends are there, not just the ones that stayed behind from camp.

And, really, it makes no difference to me when we leave for Kyiv if the passport process has begun.  I just want that ball rolling ASAP!

4.  Nail polish knows no cultural barriers...especially glitter.

Oh, and lesson number 4.5 really does work to add a little nail polish remover to your goopy stuff that you've been hauling back and forth to Ukraine for the last four months.

5.  Every girl deserves an air conditioner.

We were total celebrities today as we aided in getting the girls' room an air conditioner, thanks to a very generous donor.  (Don't worry...the boys already have one thanks to some other donor.)

 I can't post pictures of the "beautiful vista" and "thrilling burst of speed" it was to participate in the joy of this moment because EVERY SINGLE child (above the age of 6) that was home from summer camp is in the pictures.  Since I can't post their faces here, you'll just have to imagine the joy of a/c in a place that has NEVER had it and with children who have sweated almost every summer night since they entered the orphanage.  Even for the orphanage staff, this was a momentous occasion and better than Christmas morning!

6.  All boys sweat like matter what country they come from.

Yes, I know pigs don't sweat.  It's the thought that counts here.  And here's a picture to prove it:

 This sweating thing happens when boys play two-on-two soccer in the dirt while girls are glittering their nails. 

See that ball Ruslan is sitting on?  It's outer shell is peeling and it is the nicest ball they've got.  But NOT FOR LONG!  Thanks to more generous donors, we get to play Santa Claus and surprise them with three brand-spankin' new ones at the goodbye party on Tuesday!  Can't wait for that!

*Note: the cutie in the middle is being adopted by a wonderful family in Arizona, so he's okay on the blog...just in case you were wondering.*  ;)

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