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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Okay...don't freak out. I don't want you freaking out.
Do you promise not to freak out?
Okay...
I was in a car accident this morning.
Really...it wasn't that big of a deal. And no...I wasn't driving! ;)
It was one of my crazy taxicab drivers...but the funny thing is...he wasn't a crazy taxicab driver. I was actually thinking at the time how nice it was not to have to worry about his driving. He was calm, collected, driving like a totally normal human being.
There was no zigging, no zagging...no driving up on curbs or darting around busses at high rates of speed. He stopped and started normally...
Maybe that was the problem.
Maybe in order to survive driving here you have to be a lunatic.
Anyway...
He felt horrible...about the car.
He didn't even ask if I was alright.
Sigh.
It's the same no matter where we live isn't it? The car is always their baby! ;)
I'm fine, really. Just a little sore. Nothing that some advil and sleep can't handle.
And the car was fine. I don't know what he was worried about.
He had rear-ended a van at a very low speed. Just ripped off the license plate and the holder. But you would have thought it was the end of his world. He got out of the car, made some huge gestures with his hand...although you could tell he knew it was his fault...and generally looked miserable.
When the other driver finally took off, he got back in the car, put the license plate on the passenger side floorboard and we were on our way.
I finally asked him if he was alright. He looked sadly in the rear view mirror, 'da....da.'
Hey!
He could understand English!
He's the first cab driver I've had that has had ANY inkling as to what I'm saying!
I was thrilled.
He pulled up in front of the orphanage and told me how much it was.
I gave him a tip...a pretty decent tip. I felt bad. He was going to have to replace the license plate holder.
He actually turned to me...smiled (yes, I know, shocker) and said, 'Good luck!'
That was nice...now I wonder if I should have given him more! :)
Maddie and I had a nice visit. Again, we were outside, which right now means by the time we are done, we are a muddy mess.
Both of us.
Quite honestly, I'm not sure the outside playtimes are doing much to help our bonding. We pretty much walk around holding hands until she find something she wants to do and then I watch her.
This is what our typical playtime is like. And it proves I was right when I told you she is the smartest girl in all Ukraine...and possibly Europe!
I had just told Maddie she couldn't sit on the bench because it was 'yucky'...and had wiped it with my hands to prove how dirty it was.
I turned my back for one minute and this is what she did...



Her scarf ended up a muddy mess...and so did her pants when she decided to ride a scooter that was too short for her. She ran through a mud puddle and the wheels scraped against the backs of her legs.
I am SURE the ladies were wondering what my kids look like at home.
And of course if your kid gets muddy...you get muddy.
It's too muddy to do much of anything...and since I'm not much of an outdoor playing kind of girl, that's Meshack's arena, I think tomorrow we'll stay inside.
I'll just bribe her with juice, a cookie or two and some raisins.
After our visit I went home and had just changed out of my muddy jeans and into some sweats for the evening when I got a call from the Haugs. They invited me to come with them to church tonight and said I could come early since I have the whole fear of the alleyway thing going on.
Sounds great to me.
I took a shower, put some fresh clothes on and headed over.
The Haug's weren't there...they were participating in more of the paperchase - the unending quest for proper papers here in Ukraine. But their friend...a missionary from Omaha and their new daughters were there to welcome me.
Michelle, the missionary, works with older children in the orphanage. She volunteers to teach them art and dance...and along the way she loves the kids. Something they are sorely needing.
We talked about her work and about our adoption and before we knew it, it was time to head to church.
What a blessing.
While the church is small, it was full of faith. Believers from all kinds of different walks of life were there. The pastor is from Sweden...his wife is Ukranian. He preaches in English and she translates.
Another Ukranian couple, Julia and Sergey, work with street kids in a program called Youth of Ukraine. Michelle and her roommate, Lisa were there - they volunteer at orphanages...and another woman from Ohio was staying with them, considering coming to Odessa as a missionary.
Wow.
When I was a child I was so impressed by missionaries. They are willing to leave everything that was comfortable to them and go into a foreign country to tell others about Christ.
As an adult, I'm humbled. These are ordinary people doing extraordinary work. Relying on God to give them what they 'need' not necessarily their wants. Putting their own personal ambitions aside...and answering the call.
After two hours of worship, prayer and praise it was time to go home.
I was a bit nervous...after all I had the scary alley to conquer...but I didn't need to be worried. Steve, Gail, Lisa and Betsy walked me home.
Five blocks out of their way.
I could have hugged them.
We sat (actually stood) in my apartment for awhile and chatted. It was so nice to hear something besides my own voice and CNN in this apartment. They oohed and aaahed appropriately over the pictures of all four of my beautiful children. We swapped stories about international flights and talked about the plight of these orphans.
And then they went home.
What started out kind of crummy day, ended up pretty nicely.
Let's see what tomorrow brings.

22 salty messages:

Anonymous,  January 17, 2008 at 12:46 PM  

What a thrill to see a video of Maddie!!! What an absolute doll she is! Just the prettiest, sweetest little sweetie! I love her little voice. She's totally adorable. See if you can get a video of her yelling at the other kids now! ;-D --Melinda H.

Anonymous,  January 17, 2008 at 12:48 PM  

Awwwww, she is SO adorable!

DoveFamily January 17, 2008 at 1:09 PM  

So glad that you're okay, and glad that you were able to fellowship with other Christians!

After watching the video clip I thought of a few useful words if Maddie speaks Russian...
posh LEE (Let's Go)
soo DAH (come here)
neel ZAH (a very firm version of no - sort of like saying it's forbidden)

Our missionary friends taught these to us & they came in handy, especially when traveling. Hope they are useful for you!

Julie January 17, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

Thanks for the video - she is a doll, and obviously loves her mama already! :) I love reading your daily adventures.

Gail,  January 17, 2008 at 1:27 PM  

She is a genius. I think she was cleaning the bench so her mommy could sit down. What a Sweetheart!!
I love the part of the video when she holds out her hand to you. There is bonding going on for sure.
Gail

Living Life with Sophia,  January 17, 2008 at 1:35 PM  

Oh my Gosh She is so cute!
Enjoy your princess
Take care
Patricia

Rachael January 17, 2008 at 1:50 PM  

She's so cute in that video I can hardly stand it!!!

Shelley January 17, 2008 at 2:01 PM  

I'm so glad you posted a video. Maddie is adorable! Sounds like you had a busy day too!

Ashley January 17, 2008 at 2:16 PM  

I am so glad you are alright!

I am happy you were able to meet Michelle. She is a dear friend of mine who I love dearly as a little sister. How great to be able to spend an evening with fellow Christians and worship our great Father.

I loved the video! Maddie is just precious and it was so sweet seeing her hold out her hands ready to hold yours.

Mike & Tara January 17, 2008 at 3:24 PM  

She is so cute and I love the look she gives you when she reaches for your hand!! I think you are bonding while outside!

Waitingonmyua2 January 17, 2008 at 4:03 PM  

I am SO glad there are missionaries and new friends there with you! The video of Maddie was GREAT - please give us more! LOL

She seems to be understanding quite a lot already. Smart kiddo!

Kathy and Matt January 17, 2008 at 4:30 PM  

I'm so glad to hear you're alright after the accident. It's surprising that more families aren't involved in them based on how the driving seems to be.

Loved the video clip. My favorite part? When Maddie reached back to take your hand. Precious!

Sounds like your day ended with some needed fellowship. That's great.

We leave in 2 days. So maybe we'll cross paths in Ukraine.

Leslie January 17, 2008 at 6:24 PM  

This is so surreal! Kristina and I stayed with Michelle and Lisa for a few days at the end of our time in Odessa. They were such an encouragement to us. Julia and her husband are incredible. I was amazed at the people who are ministering in the city.

I love the video of Maddie. There's something about seeing a child you've been waiting and praying for, well at least at a distance. Kristina was watching the video with me and was so excited that Maddie was speaking Russian. If only we had been there at the same time. What a time we would have had!!!

Ruslan, Inna and Victor January 17, 2008 at 6:54 PM  

Was awesome to watch a video of her and how Maddie is already understanding what you're saying!

Anonymous,  January 17, 2008 at 6:56 PM  

Thanks for the video! I miss her alot already. She definitely is a blessing from God! I can't wait to hug and kiss her again. Her brothers and sister watched the video and said she was cute.

Proud Papa C.

Christina January 17, 2008 at 8:11 PM  

yikes about the accident - glad it was minor! Maddy is such a cutie and you two seem to have worked out some good communication already!
So neat you saw your friends and made some new ones too - I love how God brings people together.

Tina in CT January 17, 2008 at 9:52 PM  

So sweet to see the video clip of Maddie outside and how she is reaching out for her mother.

Do the dogs belong to the orphanage?

Anonymous,  January 17, 2008 at 10:25 PM  

Wow! You obviously have some time on your hands, because you have been blogging like crazy. I haven't written a good blog forever. We have been in a few fender benders her in India they seem inevitable, but at least the streets are so crowded that no one is moving too fast. I am you have to depend on taxis to get aroud. It makes you thankful for your own car doesn't it? I think being able to drive myself around is one of the things I miss most about the States. Maddie is cute as a bug. You need to encourage that cleaning tendency, it could come in handy. Maybe I'll catch you online again, I think we are about three hours ahead of you, if I am figuring time zones right. Enjoy your visits today. Christie

Amy K-S crew January 18, 2008 at 7:34 AM  

I'm so glad to hear that you're okay and the accident was too serious. It's fantastic that you were able to meet up with other Christians and were able to enjoy some time together. Maddie is so adorable and sounds so sweet. It won't be long and she'll be at home running around with the rest of your crew. Won't it be wonderful!

kate January 18, 2008 at 8:23 AM  

sounds like a GREAT day. and miss maddie is a QTП!

adopting2fromUkraine January 18, 2008 at 5:36 PM  

Did you get the cab driver's number since he speaks English? Glad you weren't hurt. It looks like Maddie is already understanding English!

I am in awe of Ukraine Missionaries also. We were unable to find any close to where our daughter is. One thing that really struck me while we were there is how we were unable to share our faith because of the language barrier.

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