Sunday, June 12
We've all remarked on the difficulty of telling one day from another. Our sense of time is distorted by a number of factors including our travel to get here (still not completely recovered), the time differences on the various legs of our journey, our attempts to correlate time here with time back home (for things like anticipating when you all might be reading these entries and when we might expect to hear back from you) and our still-evolving sleep patterns....
After "movie night" last night, we reviewed the collective film library provided by Bob and Beth and Beth 1, the latter of whom has "Groundhog Day." Beth 1 remarked her experience here has been very similar to the premise of the movie: Get up each day and relive the previous day. Breakfast is delivered to the room. Stroll, shop, go to the gym and otherwise pass the time until time for visiting the kids. Go see the kids for ninety minutes. Go to the internet cafe. Go to dinner and hang out before bed. Keep in mind: This has been her routine for nearly nine weeks, several of which she has spent alone, and ours for only a handful of days. NOTE: We are so thoroughly enjoying the experience and one another's company that "routine" should in no way imply boredom. But I think the analogy and/or allusion is effective....
Whew! A rather lengthy rumination whose point is quite simple: I am adding the day of the week to the date in my journal and blog entries as a way of keeping track of time....
We awake to breakfast at 6:50. Alli did change her breakfast order - from "continental" to hot porridge - but I don't believe she requested delivery an hour earlier than previously. At any rate, after breakfast and showers we meet Beth M, Mary Ellen and Andre - our driver - at 9:45 for 10 AM mass.
The church is all brick outside and appears to have been built recently. Inside, the walls are unfinished builder's grade plywood sheathing (no dry wall or trim), the pews are slatted benches of a kind one might see in a park, the kneelers match the pews in wood type and color and are uncovered. Everything is very simple. We arrive as exposition of the blessed sacrament is ending. The chapel is very tiny - perhaps 18 pews with seating capacity of five or six adults, nine on each side of a center aisle - and though it is not full, there is nowhere for the four of us to sit together. The girls find room for three and I go two pews farther toward the front (and, thank- fully, just a little closer to the oscillating fans providing cool air on a warm morning).
Mass is in Russian - Marry Ellen believes they also offer mass in Polish and German, and we learn later the priest is Polish. The rhythym of the mass is easy to follow - reading, response, reading, gospel, homily, consecration - but there is more singing than in our services and, of course, we understand nothing but the odd name here or there. Even the Our Father is sung in a tune with which I am not familiar, and I am done much earlier than the lay women and nuns sitting nearby. We do not take communion: Mary Ellen does not see the woman who vouched for her previously - a friend of Olessya's - so we don't want to risk being denied the sacrament.
Back to the hotel at 11:20. Time for a little journaling before leaving to see the kids at 12:15...
On the medical front, Alli has picked up a cold, and the queasy stomach she had yesterday is mine today. I'm self-medicating with Maalox and hoping it will do the trick. Last night was the first time we've slept through the night. Hopefully, we'll get on schedule here soon, which should help with the few medical conditions we've experienced. Of course, coughs and runny noses abound among the children, so we'll never be completely out of the woods.
The kids are great again today and everybody stays awake for the full ninety! The girls feed the boys and I go get Molly, who has already been fed. We stay inside - "the marble room" - and highlights include a VERY talkative little girl and a very active and mobile pair of little boys. Bob and I organize toy races to get Aidan and Nicholas scooting across the room, and we work everyday to get them all moving as much as possible: crawling, standing, whatever we can think of to encourage movement. Even Molly seemed inspired and more agreeable to standing - with Alli's assistance - against the couch (with her favorite teething toy within reach). Aidan enjoys standing with my fingers for stability. We get great video of both kids!
It's becoming more difficult to leave them every day. An hour and a half goes by so quickly. We are glad to know we will visit them every day regardless of where we are in the process (i.e. waiting for our court date, enduring the post-court waiting period, finalizing our paperwork in Kostanai, etc.).
After our visit, we go to the internet cafe from 3:30 to 5:45. We have had problems w/ slow processing and lost work over the last couple of days, but we persevere and have the blog updated through June 11 before leaving today. Still working out the details on how to send pictures....
Dinner tonight at "The Russian Pub." B&B, us, Beth 1, Mary Ellen and Dana are our party of seven. The big news: Beth 1 will have her son Alex (aka Sasha) with her in the hotel tomorrow in preparation for her hoped-for departure on Tuesday. (She won't have her daughter with her until a few hours before leaving for the airport.) Dinner is good, company and conversation enjoyable. Beth 1 and Mary Ellen take us through court questions and acceptable answers in more detail than our previous review with Olessya, and I anticipate more rehearsals before we do it for real.
Back to the hotel after dinner. Beth 1 formally relinquishes control of "The Box" to those of us staying behind. The box contains odds and ends bought here, brought here and otherwise left here by previous families: from hot plates to hair spray; cleaning products to clothesline; baby rubber pants and baby toys; paperback books and men's magazines. We are entitled to anything we need and entrusted with turning the remainder over to those who follow us. As of now, we've heard there might not be any more families until late September.
Bob and I are heading to the gym in the morning. Both B&B and we have requested room cleaning and fresh linens tomorrow. Alli does laundry in the bathtub for about two hours while your faithful scribe watches soccer: a Russian pro league game and Brazil v Nigeria. The clothes are hanging on clotheline strung across the bathroom, which could make for an interesting mid- night potty run.
Alli's asleep. I'm out. 23:37