Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nikolaev Ukraine Day One: Met Awesome Kids!

Mary is writing our post today. I just want to give a shout out to my sister, Kate! Happy Birthday! Last night we boarded a train from Kiev to Nikolaev with Natasha, the facilitator that will help us in Nikolaev. Natasha usually works adoptions with Italian couples, and so she speaks little English. She is great with Russian though! James has had the opportunity to practice his translation skills. The three of us had a compartment to ourselves, but between hot weather, frequent train stops, and air conditioning that didn't work consistently no one received a good night's sleep, but it was a fun adventure none the less.

Train to Nikolaev

Mary and Natasha right before the train arrived in Nikolaev (looking oh, so alert!)

We arrived in Nikolaev around 5AM. We were met by our new driver, Victor, at the train station and he drove us to our hotel. We tried to sleep for about and hour and then cleaned up a bit and ate breakfast in the hotel lobby, crepes! Can you tell I love the food here? My idea that I would be on a "Ukraine Diet" has totally back fired, the food is awesome! We then went to the see the Regional Social Worker to show her our Referral and then we were on our way to see the kids. It was an interesting hour and a half ride south of the city, ending near the Black Sea to a summer camp the kids were staying at, rather than the orphanage, until school starts. We finally got to see some of the famous pot holes and roaming dogs that we had heard about from other blogs. I had to shut my eyes a few times while our driver passed cars at what seemed to me high speeds on a two lane highway, but road conditions made it seem faster than what he was actually driving. He was a great driver and got us there and back safely. Before we got to the summer camp we had to stop at a District Administration Building to pick up an official representative to monitor our visit with the children. With five of us in a small hatch back, it was a fun ride! I held on to James while sitting in the middle in the back so I didn't fall into the representative while going around turns and avoiding pot holes. We arrived at the summer camp and we had an amazing opportunity to meet with two awesome kids! We talked with them for two and a half hours, before we were told it was time for them to go to lunch. It was a really nice visit! We returned back to our hotel and talked with our kiddos back home on Sykpe. James and I have a lot to think, discuss and pray about.

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