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cab ride from you know where

Friday, December 14, 2007

Three hours.
That’s how long it took us to get from the train station to the apartment last night.
Three hours.
It took us that long to get to get back from Vinnytsya on the train!
Evidentally the problem was that we arrived at rush hour. But their rush hour is like none I’ve ever seen. The closest thing I can compare it to would be the traffic coming out of Arrowhead Stadium after a Chief’s game…but spread that over an entire city and you can see what we were facing.
Sheer gridlock.
For miles.
You know, if they would just obey common traffic laws, they probably would be alright, but when you mix in people driving through alleys and down sidewalks to the nuts who are creating their own third lane, you are bound to get chaos.
And that’s what it was. Sheer chaos.
I have never had another motorist yell at me before. Our cabbie was cussed at probably no less than three times last night.
And he probably deserved it.
At one point he headed down an alley only to come across a dumpster parked in his way. So what does he do? He bumps into it with his car and moves it out of the way!!!
The first time he decided a sidewalk was a extra street lane I about had a conniption. By the end of the night I was used to it – well, almost.
I don’t know how many people almost lost their lives last night due to his driving.
And I don’t know how much damage he did to his car every time he high-centered it on a street curb.
We got stuck twice, but instead of getting out and pushing it free….he just kept revving the engine and rocking back and forth…ON A SIDEWALK! People were walking all around us as he did this. Each of them gawking at us…I’m sure wondering how much we were paying this nut.
All the while our translator is sitting in the front seat as calm as can be.
I asked him later if that kind of traffic was common.
He shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Yeah.’
At one point I was thinking that driving in this country wouldn’t be that hard to learn. They drive on the same side of the road. The street signs are recognizable…it’s just the aggressiveness I would have to get used to.
HA! Yea.

11 salty messages:

Jeri December 15, 2007 at 7:28 AM  

We also traveled to Vinnitsya for our first referral back in 2000. We were meeting a 20 month old boy with "partial paralysis from an infection" (I figured he'd had spinal meningitis). He could walk with assistance and I knew with proper physical therapy, he'd be fine. But he wouldn't interact with us at all. We tried for about two hours, all the while my husband had a little gypsy girl climbing all over him and was asking, "Sure we can't just bring home our fourth daughter?"

Finally, we decided that Olec wasn't meant to be our son. With me sobbing in the hallway our translator said,"Jeri, don't worry, we will get you a good boy." He didn't understand. We had just refused a child in an orphanage. We had just refused a child with special needs (our first born bio daughter had Spina Bifida, was a paraplegic and lived to be 13 years and one week old, 13 years and six days longer than we'd been given hope for). However, when we met our son, who was 3years10 months old (my list had been no more than 18 months) the difference in our reaction,in my feeling of having his soul shoot through mine, was so obvious. I felt that the purpose of meeting Olec was to feel the difference with Anton, to know he was meant to be ours. (Not that God doesn't have a wicked sense of humor...but that's a whole 'nother story!) And Olec? He was adopted two months later by another of Cathy Harris' families. His dad sent me a picture and I almost didn't recognize him by the huge smile on his face! I was prepared to "market" this boy and didn't need to. Maybe your task is to let others know of this little girl...such as a midwife would deliver someone else's baby.

Hang in there. jeri, mom of Alex (Anton) from Sumy

Tina in CT December 15, 2007 at 7:47 AM  

I thought I've had some hair-raising cab rides in years past in Madrid or Moscow but they were nothing compared to what you just experienced. Can you imagine something like that here? NEVER! It all will be part of your Ukraine memories in the years to come. The end result is that you made it back to your apartment all in one piece.

Kathy and Matt December 15, 2007 at 9:57 AM  

Your cab ride sounded insane. Thanks for the warning! We'll try to be prepared for that kind of experience.

Keeping you in our prayers as you wait for further info in Kiev.

Gail,  December 15, 2007 at 10:09 AM  

Thanks for the good laugh!!

Melissa E. December 15, 2007 at 11:04 AM  

I have decided it is better not to look....

So sorry about your return to Kiyv.

This is such an emotional thing, I can't imagine how you feel but then, I can imagine better than some...and I shudder.

We will pray for you.

MoscowMom December 15, 2007 at 1:38 PM  

Ah... You just got a glimpse of my world here in Moscow on a daily basis.Yup, daily. It's better now that I'm driving my own car (I, for example, will just sit in the three hour--or LONGER!!!--traffic jam instead of speeding down sidewalks). I have to actually plan for a 2 hour cushion of traffic every afternoon and make sure that I have back-up childcare should I be stuck in traffic (even though my job is only 10 minutes away). My Ukrainian friends also say that traffic in Moscow is actually much worse than that in Kiev, if you can believe it!!!

That's why most American moms here in Moscow end up hiring domestic help they never would have hired were they living in the US. The stress level of basic daily living is so high that you just can't do it all without snapping.

May you safely, and with minimal traffic, proceed on your journey to find Maddie!!!

adoptedthree December 15, 2007 at 8:52 PM  

My facilitator told me you could "buy" a license. she was pulled over twice with her "license"!!!

I love the pictures.

stay strong!!!

Jane December 17, 2007 at 5:42 AM  

Our driver drove down a railway line to get out of a traffic jam. I was pretty worried but figured he knew what he was doing, until I saw the train coming towards us ON THE SAME LINE!!!!!

DoveFamily December 17, 2007 at 8:01 AM  

Great Photos! Looks like we just missed the snow. I know what you mean about the driving. Soemtimes we would just close our eyes and pray for the best.

We will keep your second appointment in our prayers.

Lindy December 17, 2007 at 9:26 AM  

Absolutely unbelievable!! I've never heard of anything like that taking place anywhere. I'm glad you survived!

Old DAN AND Little ANN December 17, 2007 at 10:27 AM  

That sounds absolutely wild! My stomach would've been in knots! I don't envy you these experiences that is for sure. Praying God keeps you safe!

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