We have learned so much already, but some things will have to wait for a post when I return home, but here are just a few things:
1. Just because there are 1,000 people in McDonalds does not mean that they employees will stop mopping...who cares if someone falls and breaks their back?
2. There is really no such thing as personal space. I don't speak Russian or Ukranian, but apparently it is not customary to say excuse me when you bump into someone.
3. If you ask someone where the bathroom is in english, they will laugh at you. No-really they will, but the truth is that it is very scary being a foreigner in a country where no one can understand a word you say.
4. We are blessed beyond words. The Lord has been amazing! He has perfect timing and provided for us every step of the way.
Only 1week prior to leaving the USA, we were sitll $6500 short. After a fundraiser and 2 very generous donations by family members, we were only short by $3250. Then a young lady in California held a yard sale to benefit both our adoption and another adopting family. We were down to about $3,000. The night before we were ready to leave, another Reece's Rainbow family sent us an email wanting to share thier blessings and made a sizeable donation as well. I should point out that we have never even met these people before. We only know each other through emails and blogs and Reece's Rainbow. So, we were only down to needing $1,000 to be fully funded. We had accepeted a gracious loan from a family member to cover the remaining needs. I kid you not-50 minutes before we were to board the plane, a very special friend called and told me that she and her husband really felt that the Lord had called them to bless us and cover our remaining needs! 50 minutes until we left! God is so good. Oh, and I almost forgot, another sweet, sweet couple at our church sent us off with $100 and said they wanted us to have a little something extra. Thanks you them, we are going to meet some other adopting famililes in the capital tonight for dinner at TGIFridays! They have American menus and English speaking waiters. Yay!
There are so many people who have given sacrificially and our church, friends, and family have held us up in prayer. We cannot thank you all enough. Keep the prayers coming. We have had a nice ease into the culture here. We are in an apartment with internet, hot running water, an oven, and a television. We were met at the airport by Niko who stayed with us the majority of the day yesterday to show us our apartment and take us shopping. It was nice to have someone here to help us out. Pretty soon we will be traveling to Quinton's region and after the first meeting with the orphanage director, we are pretty much on our own and will have to rely heavily on charades to get us what we need.
This is the view from our porch/balcony thingy
I will leave you guys with a couple of "cultural" experiences we have had thus far:
1) How to make instant oatmeal without a microwave: Ok, you really don't think about modern conveniences at home until you don't have them. We woke up this morning and decided to have oatmeal (for Brian) and grits (for me) for breakfast. Well, the stove is a gas stove and you have to light it to get it started. Brian happened to have a zippo lighter with him so he lit the stove. We are not supposed to drink the water here so I was not sure about washing pots with it, but they needed to be washed so I used tap water to wash the pots. Then I boiled bottled water in one of the pots I had just washed and then used that clean and boiled water to wash the pots I would use to cook. I am probably being way over cautious, but I do NOT want any stomach issues while I am here. Back to the story-So, I get the water boiling and I try to move the pot off the burner to add the oatmeal to the hot water and the handles are hot. Guess what? No pot holders :) So I grab some paper towels and bunch them up to protect my hand from the hot handles. Let's just say that I am not used to a gas stove. Yes-I definitely did catch the paper towel on fire! I jumped around and screamed a little before I came to my senses and threw it in the sink and put out the fire. Note to self-turn off the gas burner next time and you can aviod any future fires. A good 30 minutes later, we sat down to our gourmet not-so-instant breakfast. What can I say? We are learning.
2) I did a really, really stupid thing while we were packing for our trip. We were just about packed and just had toiletries left to pack. We were running out of time and space. I knew I was carrying on a book bag as my personal item and I made sure to pack all of my travel stuff in those clear conatiners. I was obviously not thinking when I decided to pack the other tioletries in my carry on duffle bag! I still don't know what I was thinking? So without even thinking about it, I put my bags on the conveyer belt at security and they call for a security check. The guy comes out and takes my bag and as soon as the touches the zipper, I realize what I have done. I packed all the liquids in my carry-on and they have to be checked. We had to board our plane in 30 minutes and it took us at least 45 minutes to get through that line. There was nothing to do except call it a loss. We had to throw out a brand new bottle of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and Brian's shaving cream. Not a big deal in the scheme of things. So here comes the cultural part. We go to the market with Niko to get a few things and Brian picks up some shaving cream that looks like the stuff he uses at home. Haha-not so much. He came out of the bathroom this morning after shaving and I could not stop laughing. He said his face was freezing like ice and burning like fire all at the same time! It was pretty funny. Things here are not as they appear ;)
If you made it all the way through this post, thank you so much for following along and for surrounding us with your thoughts and prayers. We love and miss you guys!