On our way home from vacation at the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, we stopped at a small Russian market. Mr. Beaver had researched the Twin Cities via the web hoping just such a store might exist. It was even just off our route home and not far from the home of our friends, Gary and Amanda.
One food we were especially interested in is a dairy staple, called tvorog, in Russia that has no equivalent in the U.S. Our friend, Natalie, who is a missionary in Russia with her husband, has told us that when she's in America she combines cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and cream cheese in her best effort to imitate it.
Here at this store we found tvorog!
We had a pleased cook! She and her brother, Alexander, then went in search of potato dumplings, which they also found.
Between the two products, I wonder what treats we have in store! What an education we're getting in another culture with the addition of an older orphan to our family.
Meanwhile, Oksana spent all her time in Lissie's arms giving kisses to anyone who got close.
The rest of us were exploring the store. Mr. Beaver and I were on a hunt for the yummy wafer cookies that our adoption facilitator, Marina, introduced us to on the train ride to our court session. We didn't find exactly the same thing, but perhaps something close--the jury's out.
For the two trios of Russian adoptees that have lived with us for a number of years, the visit to the market brought a number of memories back as they experienced familiar smells and sights, especially in the fish area.
While this stop on our road trip was a happy one for most of us, it was a mixed experience for Daria and to some extent younger Alexander. For 20 minutes they were in a place that looked like Russia, smelled like Russia, and carried foods labeled in Russian. There was a TV playing MTV-style music videos. The clerk, who was bilingual, even spoke to Daria in Russian as we checked out.
We try hard with this new adoption not to stir up the pain of Daria and Alexander's fresh losses in just having moved to America. This time we didn't anticipate the possibility well. As happy as they are to have a family and a home, they also have many losses to grieve. As we climbed back into the car, we talked quietly and put ourselves in their shoes. It was an eye-opener to think about how hard it would be to walk into a store that was a little microcosm of your former culture and then have to walk right back out again into your new culture.
Alexander recovered almost immediately from any sadness, and Daria wasn't far behind. Perhaps she was thinking of the lovely creations she can now cook for us that can help her keep her former culture alive in her new family.
P.S. As we were arriving home, we told the kids we'd order pizza. We walked in the house, and Daria asked if she could also whip up the dumplings we'd purchased earlier in the day. So we're watching the movie about adoption on FOX, eating pizza and feasting on Russian dumplings. Life is good! God is so very good!