This whole trip has been a test of how strong we are as a family because we have to spend a lot of time together. Before we left, many people told us not to bring our son along because doing so would add extra stress to an already stressful situation. And, at times, he has, but we don't regret bringing him at all. He and Cava bonded before we did with him. I think Cava attaching to us so fast was due, in part, to his playing with our son. Besides, we wanted Benjamin to experience a country and a culture that very few, if any, of his classmates would. We thought it was extremely important that he meet his sibling when we did and to see where his sibling was coming from. A key part of our decision was to break that American "bubble" that our son, like so many kids in our country, have grown up in. We wanted him to know that the world doesn't revolve around him.
Okay, enough platitudes, so with no sight-seeing to do, we did something far less exciting - laundry. Since there is only a small washing machine, we did our clothes in small bundles and then hung them to dry on hangers around the apartment we're in.
We also vacuumed and swept.
I know how thrilling this must be for all of you and I'm sure this will get the most hits on the blog. A fascinating and insightful "day in the life of" entry.
Since it gets dark early, around 4 pm, we spend most nights in the apartment. Sometimes we watch TV. There are a few channels in English (CNN, BBC and Boomerang). Most are in Ukrainian. We have watched some American shows that were dubbed into Ukrainian (iCarly - it's hilarious to see Random Dancing here, Spongebob) and then those that are narrated in Ukrainian just like they do programs for the blind (E.R., Grey's Anatomy). What has also been fun is to watch Ukrainian versions of American shows like The Voice (Casadee Pope didn't win this one) and Survivor (Sorry, Lisa, lost this one, too). Here's a photo of Benjamin and I watching Spongebob:
Sometimes we watch DVDs on the laptop. We're saving Elf for Christmas.
My Dad was generous enough to let us borrow his iPad and Benjamin has tended to claim that as his while he's here. Danelle and I have been reading. We drew lots and Danelle got to start the Game of Thrones series first.
We play a lot of games (a travel version of Sorry and Clue, Farkle, Sorry Revenge, Uno, etc). To mix it up, we had a Sorry Revenge challenge. Danelle and Benjamin played first then I played the winner and then the losers played each other so that the winners played each other to be the champion. Benjamin won and made sure to let us know - frequently.
Being far from home, Danelle and I have used the internet to keep up. It's hard to believe how much of a lifeline Skype, Facebook, and e-mail have been. We thank all of you for your messages of encouragement, prayers, and love. You have no idea how much it really has meant to us.
We have been told with great emphasis that we can bathe in the water here but that we shouldn't drink it. Needless to say, we buy a lot of bottle water. Large bottles that we use for cooking, brushing our teeth, drinking, and washing food. Out of 4 bottles we bought earlier in the week, we have already used 3 of them. Water is one thing we took for granted back home that we have a greater appreciation for now.
Since we are on a very tight budget, we go out to eat very little. Most meals we fix here in the apartment. We go to our local market to buy items like bread, milk, water, and cereal. It's about a block from our apartment. For more items, we have to walk 10 blocks to the larger Billa. One lesson we learned the hard way was not to buy canned items before checking to see if the apartment we were staying in had a can opener!
One of the things we've enjoyed discovering while we're here is watching episodes of "Masha and the Bear" on Youtube. Since it's Cava's favorite, we wanted to know this cartoon, too. Even though we don't understand the language, we easily understand the humor, the warmth, and the love behind it. Children are children everywhere.
While this may not be the most exciting of our entries, we hope it gave a little insight into our days here in snowy Kiev.
Today we are meeting the Midkiffs, missionaries here who are connected to our church back home (which we miss worshipping with), because they have been kind enough to invite us over for dinner at their home. We also plan to go to church with them and the Bergstrom's on Sunday.
We also are praying every morning when we do our Bible study and every night before bed that we get our court date on the 29th before we leave on the 30th to return home. If we do, it will mean that Cava will be coming home with us that much sooner. It also means we will have less trips to and from Ukraine. Please continue to pray with us that we will get this court date.