Mia's Homecoming Video

At last I see the light

One Less Orphan: Mia's gotcha day

Monday, May 16, 2011

Site seeing in the capital

Day 2:

We got a good nights sleep and didn't get out of bed until 10:30 (which I guess to us in USA time is really 1:30 am, but still we felt pretty rested after our long travel days). Taking a shower is interesting because it is a handheld shower head and there is no curtain so needless to say the bathroom doesn't stay very dry outside the tub. After getting ready, (I still didn't have my bag so no shampoo, not hair products of any kind...but luckily I had makeup and another top/dress that I had put in my carryon) we headed out to find a map and then do some site seeing. We thought this would be an easy thing to do. Boy were we wrong. We checked the local supermarket first and even when we asked used the russian word for map they still didn't know what we were asking. The supermarket is full of security officers at each aisle and a couple at each door....it is crazy. There was one policeman walking around in army attire and carrying a machine gun like it was no big deal. Obviously I learned yesterday that I can not take pictures there, so no pics for these.
So we decided to just head out and see what we could find and along the way we would hopefully find a map. Funny thing is once we FINALLY found a map it was of course in Russian so it didn't do us alot of good! We saw an opera house along our search though.
We went into a shopping mall thinking they would have a map....they didn't but they did have a little cafe with english on the menu so that was where we ate lunch.
All the babies I have seen through the city are pushed in these DARLING buggy strollers! I really want one! Seeing them pushing them through the parks is so picture perfect.

It is always promising to see english on the signs so we went in here to ask for directions to Independance square since at this point we still hadn't found a map. The coffee life was a life saver...we found a younger gal who spoke some english and drew us a little map. We have found that the university age people usually have a better chance of knowing some english.

The sidewalks kill me! This is the sidewalk.....they park anywhere they want on the sidewalk and they even drive down the sidewalk if they want. It is crazy!
We passed some kind of protest going on.
LOVE the old style phone booths all over on the street!
We finally made it to Independance Square. It is the central square of the capital city named for the political events that took place there.

We were walking around looking at some of the vendors and getting a little overwhelmed with the fact that we can't communicate with anyone and that we are going to have to get used to flying by the seat of our pants, and then we heard someone speaking english and I turned around to see an 11 year old boy. We got talking to them and they were also here doing an adoption but not through our organization. They had been here for awhile and the boy knew where everything was! It was amazing how nice it was to speak to someone in english! They were like a little answer to prayer because up until that moment we were getting really frustrated and overwhelmed not knowing what to say, how to say it, or where we were going, or how to get there. Then they perked us up and things were much better from than on.The language barrier is a very strange feeling. Even if we look up the word in russian that we are wanting to say...we don't understand the answer they give! It is also weird to think about how when they hear us speak, it sounds the same way to them as their language does to us....foreign. When we are not walking around with our head in our map, we must look like we fit in because someone stopped us and asked us for directions in russian! It is an eye opening experience to be thrown into a culture not being able to communicate. It is giving me a little appreciation for what little Kareen will fill like when she comes home.

This city is REALLY beautiful! The architecture and character of the buildings is absolutely amazing! We loved walking around and seeing it all! There is so much history in these buildings. Some of them have been around for 1000+ years!

We haven't tried the bus yet but we saw a lot of them
Walking around town we went down an underground walkway and thought we were just going to go up to the other side of the street but really we entered an underground market and shopping. There is like an entire world under the streets! From cute little ladies selling flower bunches, to the regular shops you would find in a mall. Wish I would have dared take pictures down there...maybe I will get brave tomorrow.

Here I am trying to figure out where my lost bag is and when I would get it back....
the face says it all. Still no bag...although they did confirm it had made it here on the flight but I it could be delivered tonight or tomorrow.
The entrance to the courtyard area by St. Sophia's
St. Sophia's is GORGEOUS! It is the oldest building here and is 1000 years old. If we have time another day we may take the inside tour but today we enjoyed walking the beautiful grounds

Kris really wanted to play the Carillon instrument

Gotta love the doorways!

Kris is happy because he can find Coke anywhere we go
Some of the AMAZING detail on the buildings
So GQ~

After the regular method of looking at the map didn't help.....
"Joey" decided to "go into the map"-much better approach!

We were SO excited to meet up with some other Reece's Rainbow families for dinner! I have been following Shelly's blog for quite awhile now. We have some common threads through Lisa and it was so fun to meet her in person....not to mention that her and her husband Andy were VERY helpful answering our questions! We had a great time with them and wish we would have been here longer with them! They have had an unusually long process and have been here 5 weeks.

Andy and Kris were thrilled we made them take a picture together...but hey at least we didn't make them put their arms around eachother. They both realized that they won't really fit in with the men around here until they get themselves a "man bag"/purse.
We were really excited to see that this restaurant had a full english menu, the waitress spoke good english, AND she brought ice to the table for our drinks! We have learned that we have to ask for still water not gas water, and that water costs as much if not more than most drinks. You also have to pay for additional condiments and such. After you order, they bring your silverware and drinks and a placemat. The soda and the water are brought in bottles with a cup to pour them into. Eating here at a restaurant is a little different than home because they are much more laid back. You have to ask for your check when you are ready to go...otherwise they assume you still want to just hang out and visit. Unlike home where they are rushing you out if you are not eating still. They also don't greet you at the door of a restaurant and walk you to a seat, instead you just walk in and find seat yourself. Last night when we walked into this restaurant we stood there at the door waiting for someone to seat us and they were just staring at us.
My chicken was really good. It had bacon on top and in the middle was tomato and mozzarella cheese. Kris was happy because he found a burger and fries
We ate at the Golden Gate Pub. We had some good laughs and shared stories with these other RR families; the Archer's, the Burrows, and Angela Haddick.
Lisa- this one is for you! I found your chocolate today! I have to say I love the little street treat vendors on every corner! Oh and the ice cream treat was DELISH too! Thanks for the tips!
The Golden gate was erected almost 1000 years ago and was one of the 3 main gates into the city.

Driving home in the taxi we saw a statue where the local dogs must hang out. The taxi was interesting because they are not necessarily marked as taxis, some are and some are not so who knows for su
This was the way the pothole was covered in the sidewalk.

One other thing we learned today:
-supposedly, if you wear your wedding ring on your left hand it means you are divorced. If you are married you wear it on your right hand.

I did finally get my bag tonight so yay for that!

Tomorrow our driver (who we only have for adoption related things) will come pick us up at 10:00 and our SDA appointment is at 11:00.

Thanks again to everyone who left comments...it is really fun to wake up and read kind words and see encouragement! We love it!


  1. I'm so glad you are documenting your adventure so we can "come along with you" on it! :) The sights are beautiful and you and your hubby are so cute! :) Can't wait to read more!

  2. I loved seeing all the pictures! Oh, how I long to go back :)

    Blessings to you on your journey!

  3. Keecia, I am LOVING all the pics!!! SO cool!! Makes me want to go back too! Make sure you take your passport tomorrow to your appointment! :)

  4. What a gorgeous city! I wish we were there with you and Kris. Think of the laughs we would have! (I enjoyed the local dog hang out pic! And the baby strollers, why can't ours be that cute??) Julie and I were talking today about how anxious we are for you in the coming days and can't wait to hear every detail. Love you!! Oh yeah, and great news about your bag! What a relief. . .

  5. My favorite part? The Joey reference of course!!!

  6. Make sure you get a 3-D map it will help when you "get in it" (top 10 lines from Friends)
    Love seeing/reading your expreiences through this journey, can't believe that you are half way around the world. Hope you get to meet Kareen soon, I can't wait to read and cry about that happy moment! Love you and your family!

  7. You know how to blog, girl! Good job on the pictures and descriptions! It made me feel like I was in EE all over again--no difference in countries from what I can see. Hope your bags made it! Take care, and enjoy yourselves as much as you can in that big, strange place!

  8. OK, I'm bookmarking this one to use for tips! LOL - you're the 2nd person in the past two days to recommend a man-purse, I'm going to have to break it to Brian tonight. I already got him a couple of dark gray t-shirts. ;) Glad you're enjoying yourselves!

  9. What a fun filled site seeing day. I loved seeing all the pictures you took. Its beautiful there. Could you please bring me home one of those darling strollers for Stella. You will have room, right! Glad you finally got your bag, what a relief. How fun to get together with other couples that are going through the same process. Good luck tomorrow!

    P.S. I only picked the phone up twice today to call you...miss you!

  10. The pictures are great! It's amazing. But then I haven't really traveled much. Glad things are going well and that you have your bag! Good luck tomorrow! Anna H.

  11. I am loving following your journey but of course I can't wait for the pictures with Kareen in them. Enjoy every minute of this journey....I am sure it is a once in a lifetime thing!! And by the way, you look great for someone who doesn't have their suitcase yet!!

  12. Oops...that previous comment is me but I didn't realize that my daughter was still signed in to google. Sorry!!

  13. Cracking up that your hubby got in the map. Way to go Joey. I see the girls behind him in the pic got a kick out of it too. LOL!

  14. Great pictures - beautiful city! Yay for getting your luggage!

  15. Hey I went on a mission there! If you need help from a native that speaks English, let me know.


    I'm really jealous you are over there...it is an awesome city! Go to "Big Mamma" and the Pecherske Lavra...awesome sights.

    Sam Bechthold

  16. what a wonderful day!
    You guys must be so anxious to see Kareen!

    many prayers to you

  17. Loved the friends reference. It is
    Weird to see what time you posted and think that you were at the end of your Monday, as we were starting ours. Brandon loved the cars on the sidewalks, he said,"See, I am not lying, that is why and drive and park like I do, I got it from Romania."

  18. Wow, what an amazing beginning! Thank you for sharing your experience -- I love living vicariously through you guys! ;) I can't wait to hear and see more!

  19. Beautiful and amazing country. It is so green and full of Spring. I hope you are enjoying the amazing sights. It is full of so much history. Good luck with the language barrier. It is something we do take for granted just being able to say what we want and usually get it. Enjoy the journey! PS I hope that you are putting the DVD you packed to good use.

  20. SO happy you got your bag, yay!! We're on pins and needles waiting for you to meet Kareen- this is like a dream come true ! :)

  21. I'm going to have to google St. Sophia's to learn more about it ~ absolutely beautiful! And my goodness, you are so photogenic! Can't wait to see pictures of little Kareen meeting her Mama for the first time.

  22. SO glad to finally see all these pictures! Lida showed them to me on her phone at the funeral, but - you know my eyes - couldn't really see them! Now we're at home - I can see them! Love them! Bret and I tried to find you guys on facebook and skype when we got home last night - which was 9 a.m. your time, but couldn't find you - probably busy getting ready for your day! Praying everything goes really well with your meeting today! xoxoxo

  23. So amazing! What a beautiful city. I am glad that you got to see some of it.I hope everything went well today.

  24. Lovin it! Of course I love the Joey reference, since I'm a Friends freak! Ray went to that pub almost every day when he went back. He still talks to one of the girls that works there on facebook!
    A lot of kids know English, because they teach it in their schools now. And their usually super friendly and helpful.