Our first full day together was magical, truly a gift from the Lord.
This was the view I awoke to in my 24th floor apartment. Wow!
|Truly a massive city! From our earlier posts, you'll recognize the tall building topped |
with spires on the left as being one of the seven Stalin built during 1950s Soviet times.
We started our morning with a "snack" of yogurt (delicious in Russia--slightly sweeter than in America), in each of our five flats. We had to rent this many flats because each one slept only two or three. We still can't believe we're a family of 14!
We then gathered in my flat, which had the largest "family" room, to read the Bible, an important tradition in our family. At home in the mornings we read a Psalm and the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month.
|Gathering to read the Bible together first thing in the morning|
We then read the chaper of Proverbs 17. Again, our tradition is to go around the circle and have each person read a verse - this keeps everyone thinking and involved throughout. When we've had a new reader thoughout the years, I have read one word and had them repeat that word, repeating the process until we've finished the verse. We did the same thing in this new situation. When we reached Alexander he followed along beautifully and even jumped in with the word "is" on his own, a surprise to us becasue we didn't know he knew how to read any English. When we reached Daria, she surprised us by being able to read every word on her own, although we can tell she's learned to read letter by letter because she pronounced "knowledge" with the "k." We know she doesn't understand all that she reads, but what a wonderful head start that she can sound out English words!
The next step on the agenda was some sister attention for Daria. She has wavy hair, but apparently prefers to straighten it. Tessa and Lissie obliged.
After the coifing was finished we headed across the street for a more complete breakfast at Dunkin Donuts (see Mr. Beaver's earlier post). Again we saw the grace of God because not only were there enough chairs for us, but also we had smiling gracious servers who were patient with Mr. Beaver's rough attempts at Russian.
Our next stop was an enormous store somewhat similar to Barnes and Noble. The children's book section was extensive and truly one of the most beautiful chdilren's books stores I've ever seen. My heart filled with joy becasue ever since we adopted Jaynie, Cassandra and Speedy nine years ago I've longed to own more Russian picture books. I have to admit I'm as dangerous in a Russian book store as I am in an American book store. We ended up with MANY books, including some classics like Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol! The illustrations in the books were beautiful. Overall, the books seemed more innocent and pure than are now found in the childrens' section of American bookstores and libraries. As is common in Russian stores photos were now allowed.
As we stepped out of the store, Lissie was surprised to be hugged from behind in this strange city. It turns out it was wonderful Marina, our adoption facilitator. She had realized from a difference that the large group HAD to be our family and she was delighted to see us. We were equally delighted to see her. After introductions and many hugs (after all, 14 hugs is a lot!), Mr. Beaver and Marina exchanged some adoption paperwork relating to the last step in Russia--registering with the Russian consulate. (In our other Russian adoptions this took place in America.)
I caught these photos as the rest of us waited on the wide sidewalk.
Again and again, we've seen a precious look pass over Daria's face that just seems to say, "I have a FAMILY!"
Next, we asked Marina the location of an unusual grocery story that is housed in a mansion that is a couple of hundred years old. The trip coordinator from our January visit to Moscow to meet orphans raves about this beautiful place so we really wanted to see it. Marina's response was, "Pash lee! (Let's go!) I'll show you." We were flabergasted! To have the opportunity to spend time with this woman we have come to deeply repect and love was an unexpected treat. We are especially amazed by her heart for orphans because over the last 15 years she has facilitated about 700 adoptions.
So off we went on the long walk. As we walked, we got to see interesting architecture. Here the old stands alongside the new. Russia also tends to be a contrast in colors. There's a lot of gray, punctuated by strong color.
Here Mr. Beaver, Tatiana and Oksana cross one of the many major intersections on our journey. Behind them is a monument to the poet Pushkin and his wife.
I'm not sure any of our children noticed the length of the walk because if ever there was a Pied Piper, it's Marina. She kept the kids laughing and chatting throughout the trek.
Finally we reached our destination--the former mansion turned grocery store. We were duly awed! There are no grocery stores like this in Sioux City!
We got a kick out of this case that said "Business Lunch."
I was surprised, there were no prohibitions on taking photos as there often are in Russia even in everyday stores. That is until I took this picture of the seafood. Then a security guard appeared out of nowhere and motioned that it .was okay to take pictures of the architecture but not the food.
It wasn't long before we departed. The store isn't large; there was a lunchtime business crowd and we're a HUGE group. I'm so glad we got the chance to see this beautiful store. I think I'd have a different outlook on grocery shopping if I got to shop there all the time! Do you think Wal-Mart might consider a interior design change?!?
After we left the mansion, Marina wanted to take us to a pizza place about half a block away in an old building. Apparently even the pizza parlor had retained the architechtural beauty. She was so disappointed when we arrived and the whole building was shrouded in scafolding and netting for renovation. No more pizza parlor!
We tried two more restaurants before finally ending up at --you guessed it: McDonalds.
This McDonalds is chic and probably 10 times the size of a normal McDonalds in America. As usual here, however, it was very, very busy even though by now it was about 3 p.m. We had the gift of a mercy from God again. He made a way where there seemed to be no way. Seats opened up and they were even together. In addition, the restaurant's hostess (again--different from America) was happy and kind. She had a hand held and took our complex order so Mr. Beaver never had to stand in line.
While we waited, Marina told us that this was Russia's first McDonald's. When the restaurant first opened, the line was out the door, and the wait was FOUR hours long!
|Jaynie traipsed through Moscow in this|
very Russian looking hat she
purchased in America.
We finished the day by watching the cartoon movie "Bolt" in Russian in one of our flats. Mr. Beaver had purchased this at that amazing bookstore we visited earlier in the day. He wanted the nine children we've been parenting to experience what it's like to try to watch a movie in a different language.
All day we had sweet interactions with one another as love and trust is growing between us. Praise be to our great God.