Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 3 in Moscow - 2nd Day with the Kids

Mr. Beaver -

Today was an incredibly blessed day with Daria, Alexander and Oksana! The day started with an awesome quiet time in Psalms, Proverbs and Luke. All was quiet on the home front for most of the time, although after a while someone came quietly padding out to join me (Oksana). While it was quickly less 'quiet', it was still blessed. Oksana has quickly become a 'lap kid'. She walks into the room, turns around and backs right into my lap time and time again. I will savor this brief precious time while it lasts!

I fixed her prison food for breakfast (my name for the porridge she requested) while the other kids slept in. Both of the older kids worked very hard yesterday so I wanted to give them a chance to recover. Besides, it was quiet, rainy and still dark.

Anyway, after we all got up and going, we connected by text with the Foat family and agreed to meet at the Moscow Zoo for a day together with our kids (6 of them, 2 brand new parents, and me... yikes! talk about the need for zone defense!).

On the map it looked like a bit of a toss-up between walking and taking the metro. However, with the threatening skies I decided "Why not? The metro should be easy! It's probably a lot like London's metro." So off we went. At first we struggled to find the station despite having looked it up on google in advance. Then, we found that maps of the metro lines are few and far between; you actually have to know the name of the street, not just the name of the station, and no one will help you. (I believe the obfuscation is a left-over from the Soviet days when they really didn't want outsiders to know about the layout of the city. For that matter, they didn't want insiders to know either... all insiders needed to know was the 1 or 2 stops they would need on a regular basis. Anything else was none of their business.)

Daria tried to interpret the signs to find our metro stops, but even she could not decipher the puzzle. In the end, we called Marina 2 or 3 times enroute and finally got to the zoo... I felt really bad because we had made the Foat family wait. But they were amazingly patient with us and we did eventually make it. I think we walked 3 miles and rode 20 miles to go about 3 miles overall.

Moscow Zoo with the Foat family

How's That for a Picture of 3 Blessings from God?

We had a wonderful time at the zoo. The Moscow Zoo is large and well designed. You can get really close to the animals, and they were all very lively today. Each of the kids had a favorite animal - Alexander, the lions; Daria, the horses; and Oksana, something I'll never know (imagine yourself trying to understand a 6 year old you don't know well... one who has a speech delay... and now add a different language...). My favorites were the polar bears, who were as playful as I've ever seen them in a zoo. I have a bunch of video of them but can't find the files on our camera. I know they're there somewhere... maybe tomorrow? In any event, the white tiger and the jaguar were close seconds.

After our time at the zoo we stopped in to a local cafe which served amazing blini (see blog from our last trip to Moscow) and fruit smoothies with a slightly different twist than you get in the US... very different fruit combinations laced with pure cream.

We decided to try the metro to get back to the apartment. Brave, you say? What were you thinking, you ask? Well, nothing like the thought of a 3 mile walk on a cold, windy, rainy day to make the metro look worth another shot. After praying further about it, the Lord lifted the veil on the design of the Moscow Metro! All of a sudden the signs made sense to me and it took us about half as many trains and half the time to get back to the apartment. Praise Him for His kindness!

On the way back to the apartment we needed to stop for our daily stock-up of food and water. We're getting pretty practiced at this, so it went without a hitch. (I do find it interesting, though, that the Russians find exact change very important. I'm not sure why, but even if they have plenty of change in their drawer, if they suspect you can get closer to the correct change than you're letting on, they won't complete the transaction. For someone who doesn't speak the language well this actually comes across as if you've given them too little money or are trying to cheat them. They get very agitated. A couple of times I've even had to show them my money to convince them! But I digress.)

We got back to the apartment and Daria immediately started cooking dinner. Yes, we had just come from lunch, with a metro trip and brief shopping trip between. I think she'll fit into the family very well, as she spends much of her time thinking about the next meal... even right after the previous meal. She was convinced it was necessary to get started with the cooking, so I gave in and called off rest time. I also had a strategy of trying to tire the little one out even more than usual. We'll see how that works later, won't we...

In the middle of cooking dinner, Daria announced that we had to go back out because we needed baking soda. Yes, we're making do in a make-shift apartment in Russia and dinner requires baking soda. She's making things from scratch! So... we bundled everyone back up and headed back out to a grocery store we saw while shopping for clothes. The store is in the basement of a store called Vesta, and it's an amazing find. It's a lot like a useful version of Harrod's food store... I've not seen anything quite like it in the US! We enjoyed shopping and walked back to the apartment a very happy family.

Daria led the team to completion of a great dinner (see photos below) and we enjoyed dinner while reading both English and Russian from the New Testament.

After dinner we enjoyed SKYPE calls with both Mrs. Beaver and the Bible Bee'ers as well as Tessa and the Be-Bops at home (sounds like a couple of up and coming bands). Now it's time to read aloud (You are My I Love You) and then off to the showers for the day!

And in case you hadn't noticed... no meltdown today! Praise God!

Basking in His grace,
Mr. Beaver

OK - I spoke too soon. Just had a meltdown before I could post, but praise God anyway. Thanks for your continuing prayers!


The Nordstroms said...

So exciting to hear of your experiences. A special hello to Nadia, Alexander, and Oksana. We can't wait to meet you!!! We love you like family already. Your smiles are beautiful!

Hannah said...

I wish I could see you and your lovely new additions!
*Alas* I live in Pennsylvania :(

Natalie said...

We continue to pray for all of you!

The change thing with the cashiers has to do with their lack of desire to's unfortunate!

The zoo sounds amazing!