Our heads have finally stopped spinning from our trip last week. My parent surprised us at the airport. Since we were 24 HOURS late returning we only got to spend Sunday with them, but it was wonderful nonetheless. Upon our arrival our entire house was spic-n-span clean. This was great because when you are driving around trying to Aspostille everything under the sun, applying for visas, getting plane tickets, and packing for an international trip, housework goes by the wayside.
Then Chad's mom and step-dad got in on Wednesday and we able to stay until after church this Easter, so that was nice too. Just like with my parents, we told stories, watched all the videos, and looked at pictures for hours.
NOW, we are waiting for Chad's dad and step-mom and their two kids to arrive any minute,they are on their way to Pennsylvania for Spring Break, so unfortunately they can only stay until Tuesday. But we anticipate repeating our stories, watching the videos and looking at the pictures again, with great joy.
We are so blessed to be surrounded by family upon our arrival. As long as they didn't mind our zombie behavior due to jet lag, we loved having them here upon our arrival home. It's hard when your family is a full day's drive away from you when you have the most exciting news of your life to share! We wouldn't have had it any other way. Now, when our little guy comes home, it will be a little different. We need some time as our little family of three to get things adjusted. So, anyway.....
So we arrive into St. Pete on Sunday late afternoon. We've been unable to sleep on the plane (since our heads do not like sleeping in the unnatural upright position, Chad is sharing half my seat with me (planes are not made for football player bodies) and the guy next to me is taking up his half of the middle of our armrest) So we make it to the apartment and stay awake just long enough to get our orders for the next day- driving to Pskov to meet our son!
The next morning we set off for Pskov. They say it's about 3 hours. It was more like 4. And on these roads that are making me get shaken baby syndrome. I can't read. I can't sleep, all I can do is jiggle.
We finally make it to Pskov. After dropping our belongings at our host's house, eating "American Spaghetti" We go into town to sign some documents at the courthouse and exchanging some money with a sketchy dude in an alley (I am not making this up) because we didn't have time to go to the bank. I am wondering why we are in such a rush, it is about 1:30 and the orphanage is only about 30-45 minutes away. But I rush, rush, rush along with our driver, translator, case worker, and Chad once again all inside a tiny Subaru type vehicle.
We drive 45 minutes. That turns into another 45 minutes.
I finally ask "where are we going before we go see our son?"
They say "to the orphanage"
"We are going to see him at the orphanage."
Me: "Pechory?" (The baby house we told he lived at)
"No he is in Idritsa"
"It's a town, it's where your baby is"
"Where is that?"
"It's about 2 more hours from here."
Ok. So this is the surprise of the trip, one that dictates our entire week long stay. Think about it. We thought our week would go as following:
We wake up, say 9:30, 10:00. We have a leisurely breakfast. We set out for Pechory. We spend as much time as possible with our lil guy. We drive home, 45 minutes. We have time to explore the town, talk to our host family, eat, shop, whatever. We pay roughly $100 for our driver and translator for their services per day.
We wake up at the crack of dawn. We woof down a delicious, yet very heavy breakfast. We are in the car promptly at 8:00. We start driving down the WORLD'S WORST roads. (I am not making this up. We thought the road to St. Pete to Pskov was bad. This is beyond the worst road you can imagine. You FLY down the road hitting potholes the size of swimming pools. My brain is now scrambled. I can barely speak English, but am expected to speak Russian as well. Right. We do this for THREE HOURS ONE WAY.
We are allowed to meet with our little fellow and spend 5-6 hours with him (wonderful, better than we imagined, more time that we imagined) BUT after we crawl around on the ground and run and play all day, we get back in the VW van and drive 3 hours home. Repeat, swimming pool pot holes and scramble brain. At some point I think I actually forgot my name. We arrive back in Pskov around 8:00-9:00 that night. We eat dinner, check e-mail and fall into bed. To start it all over again the next day. The kicker- we are now paying $440 PER DAY for our driver and translator because it is an incredibly arduous journey. I'm in no way saying this is not money well earned. Their days are just as long as ours. Plus gas, food, wear and tear on your vehicle. BUT as you can imagine, this unexpected expense wreaks havoc on our travel budget.
To be continued......