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planes, trains and automobiles

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Which will it be?
If our facilitator has his way it will be a car.
When we started this process almost a week ago, I was dreading riding the train.
I had heard horror stories about the bathrooms...
I didn't look forward to being cooped up in a compartment for hours on end...
And I wasn't sure that I could make it through the ride without getting horribly car sick.
So when Lev said the other day that it was only a three hour car ride to the orphanage I jumped at the idea.
A car.
We can stop.
We can go at our own speed.
And I don't have to worry about those nasty bathrooms.
That was, until he told us the price.
$350 for a three hour drive.
I am in the wrong business.
I need to be a driver in Ukraine.
I could make a killing.
Lev really wants us to use the driver. He says it would be more convenient...and he's right. It would.
But we have been here going on 10 days now, and haven't done a single thing adoption related. We're 10 days into our 30 days worth of housing allowance, driving fees and food money.
We can't go blowing $350 in 'Emergency Cash' on a cushy cab ride!
So we are heading to the train station tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. sharp!
We'll be hoping that somebody cancels their 4 person compartment so we can all sit together...otherwise it looks like at least a couple of us will be split up.
If it gets too bad there's always the bus! :)
Lev's not too happy about it...and frankly neither am I.
But at least it won't be a 12 hour train ride.
It's only 4 hours.
That's not so bad.
And with any luck we'll get to meet the little girl tomorrow afternoon...
And we'll finally know if we've found Maddie.
BTW - We'll be in a very small city in Western Ukraine. Chances are internet service will be spotty at best. Please bear with us if you don't hear from us for awhile. I'll try my best to keep you all up to date on our progress. If needed, I'll ask my sister-in-law, Valerie to update you all! :)

20 salty messages:

Ashley December 11, 2007 at 1:11 PM  

I know I keep hearing the horror stories of the train ride as well. We will have a 10 hour train ride from Kiev to Odessa so I am glad that yours will not be as long. Maybe it won't be so bad. Since we have heard so many stories and have prepared for the worse, maybe it will be better than we think. $350 is a lot of money for a car ride. Man, they are making a killing. I am eager to hear tomorrow if you have found Maddie. Lots of prayers will be going out tonight from so many of us. Please know we are praying and thinking of you. I will pray for your train ride, too. :) Look at it as an adventure. I am sure that is easier said than done.

Nataliya December 11, 2007 at 1:45 PM  

Tami, don't worry, 4-hour train ride is not bad at all. There are different trains, some are better, some are worse, but you'll survive after 4 hours, I promise! I think you made a right decision - $350 is very expensive, you'll need this money later. We bought all 4 bunks in the cabin when going from Kiev to Odessa, for about $20 each plus a little extra for the ticket lady. So we spent $90 for the whole cabin, and it was much less than $350.

Kathy and Matt December 11, 2007 at 2:04 PM  

Hope all goes well with your train ride and more importantly as you meet the little girl.

adoptedthree December 11, 2007 at 3:19 PM  

Four hours won't be bad at all by the train. Probably even fun!!
The price of a driver sure has increased. That is very steep!!

Little Maddie is waiting :)

Tina in CT December 11, 2007 at 3:19 PM  

The train has to be better (and safer) than the plane my daughter (Moscowmom) was on with her two girls on her flight in June to the western part of the Ukraine.

The train compartment that Nataliya and Oleg had looked fine -not luxurious but clean and adequate. Hope your train is as good.

$350 for a car ride - Somehow they see Americans coming to adopt and think they all have the last name of Rockefeller or Gates.

I'll be thinking of you both and wish you a good journey. Will you be there for more than a few days?

Annie December 11, 2007 at 3:35 PM  

Ha! We didn't adopt from Ukraine but from Russia, and we traveled both by car and train. The train restrooms were'nt lovely, but the very worst restrooms in my life were those we encountered on the car trip! One was just a hole in the ground!

Waitingonmyua2 December 11, 2007 at 3:52 PM  

Tami, $350 for a driver for 3 hrs is outrageous. They were attempting to #@*&% you, frankly. The train ride is nothing from Kiev to your region. Take some dramamine before you leave - at least an hour before. Have Lev get you some at a drug store if you didn't bring any with you (don't worry; it's safe and effective). Also, even a full sized bus for that long isn't bad if you can't get the train. But don't be afraid of 3rd class for that short of a ride, either. I got "stuck" in 3rd class from Simferopol to Kiev in the middle of August. Frankly, I found it more comfortable than being stuck in a 2nd class compartment because at least we had air flowing when we stopped. 3rd class for 4-5 hrs. wouldn't be bad at all. Enjoy the "ride!" Can't wait to hear more. love & hugs & prayers going up constantly for you! Beth

Gail,  December 11, 2007 at 7:19 PM  

Have a great train trip and don't drink in the morning. LOL

Shelley December 11, 2007 at 8:50 PM  

You'll be in our thoughts tomorrow. Praying that you will meet this little girl and know in your hearts that you have found Maddie.
We rode the train....it wasn't bad. And we were on it for 12 hours. The drivers in Ukraine made me a nervous wreck...so I think 4 hours on a train is much better than 3 in a car!

Anonymous,  December 11, 2007 at 9:04 PM  

You mentioned that your facilitator's name is Lev. Can I ask you what is his last name? We are about to work with a facilitator named Lev and wanted to know more about him and families he works with.

MoscowMom December 11, 2007 at 10:23 PM  

I agree that the train is no big deal... You're about to get on it... Much safer than risking driving in areas where you are in serious danger if you got in a car accident with no nearby Western medical facilities. Check out my entry from July entitled "Life in a Small Town in Ukraine" and you'll see what I mean!!! I can't wait to hear about your trip and meeting the little girl!!!!

Sam Sylar December 12, 2007 at 7:42 AM  

The train ride is the thing I dislike the most in UKraine, especially since our facilitators never traveled with us and we were entirely on our own with no-one else speaking English. We also had to get out at 5 am at a stop that was not the final one. The trains have very narrow aisles and for some reason, everyone is standing in them at 5 am when you're trying to haul your huge and heavy luggage down to the door....

Susan & Truman December 12, 2007 at 8:08 AM  

I'll be thinking of you today as you finally get to meet the little girl! Best wishes to you today!

Troy and Rachel December 12, 2007 at 9:11 AM  

I'm so glad you are still doing well and I agree with the train - I would take it also if it saved some money. Boy - I'm in the wrong profession also!! Safe travels and can't wait to hear more...again!

Lindy December 12, 2007 at 1:00 PM  

It's almost 9 p.m. Wednesday there, so you've probably met the little girl by now (I hope you really did get to meet her today!). I'm anxiously waiting to hear how it went, and do hope you have found "Maddie"!

Thinking of you all.

Missy December 12, 2007 at 4:45 PM  

I am so curious! I got online as soon as I got home from work...praying you had been able to update. I hope all went well and you met your Maddie!

terri,  December 12, 2007 at 7:35 PM  

My husband and I was back there in Dec of 2006. We took the train to Odessa and back. The first train I was worried about. We also had a man on there that was drinking alot and when he seen us and heard us speaking he asked us if we was from America then he start yelling Americans. Just make sure you have someone to go with you and stand at the door of the bathroom on the trains. The way back to Kive with our daughter it was pretty good. Only thing was that we got stopped by the snow about 2or3 hours out from Odessa. They waited for someone to clean off the snow or somthing, then we was on our way to Kiev. Our daughter did great on the train.
The bathroom was not that great but least you had them if you need them.
Were we adopted our little girl from, the bathroom was outside and it was in ground.
We had great time meeting our daughter and also meeting other families.
Have a great time and a safe trip.

Old DAN AND Little ANN December 13, 2007 at 12:43 AM  

I had to face my bathroom related fears many time sin Russia. I would love to make a coffee table book about 'nasty bathrooms of the world'. I know many people could relate. It was such a treat to use the bathroom in the American consulate. What a country we have! I hope your train ride goes well.

ColleenD December 13, 2007 at 3:53 PM  

Since you are originating in Kyiv, the train's toilets should be pretty clean. They only get grungy at the end of a long trip.

Just be sure to dress in layers when you ride the train. Some train cars are way too cold and some are way too hot.

Other than that, the train is a great way to really see the countryside. Enjoy it!

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