Thursday, January 15, 2009
One year ago...
I didn't get to visit Maddie today.
Not because I missed my cab or because anyone was sick, but because today is a religious holiday.
Unfortunately, no one told me.
I walked into the orphanage doctor's office at 10 this morning to check in and was greeted with confused looks. I tried asking (in my general pantamime way) for permission to go visit Maddie and they replied with way more than their usual 'da, da.'
So I tried asking questions...and they tried answering.
It wasn't working so I pulled out the cell and called Lev.
It seems in honor of the holiday the kids went to church and they wouldn't be back until the afternoon.
I wouldn't be able to see her unless I came back for the afternoon visit. The problem with that is, I just don't feel safe coming back at night by myself. As I've told you before, the alley I have to walk through is a little intimidating...even in the daylight...let alone in the complete darkness. There is very little light and several tunnels I have to walk through to get here.
I've actually considered asking the OES staff to find me an apartment back at the main building. It's not that I don't love my apartment - I do. It's just that at the other apartment complex, the courtyard is nice, well-lit and there's plenty of traffic at all hours. That way I could visit her twice a day...feel safe...and be around other adoptive parents.
I'm still thinking about it.
There wasn't anything I could do but make the best of it. Since Maddie was on a field trip...maybe I should go on one too.
So I did.
I went for a walk...a long walk down by the Black Sea.
I have no idea what I saw, but I enjoyed exploring...and I finally feel like I'm starting to get a feel for Odessa's geography.
First I walked toward what I think is the opera house, then turned left, went a couple of blocks and turned right. (I'm great with directions aren't I?) This road took me past a woman begging with a tin cup, a couple of street cats sunning themselves in a stairwell and a street vendor selling bread.
I also passed high-end specialty shops selling everything from jewelry to souvenirs.
At one point I passed a bunch of men standing on a street corner, speaking in English. One of them said something about acting like the driver that day.
Aaaaah...it was good to hear English.
Then I came across a gaggle of German tourists. I'm pretty sure they were German. I took a semester of it in college and they sounded just like my college prof. Of course, I can't remember anything from that class except, 'Spreche se deutsch.'
Doesn't help me much - since I don't. ;)
I kept walking, enjoying the fresh air, taking in the sights and trying my best to read the Cyrillic business names. (I am getting better...it's like a game to me now! :)
I finally reached Primorskiy Blvd., and Moon Park. (I only know that because I found an online map to tell me what it was.) It was a great walking area with a ton of steps that take you down to a very busy street.
Silly me... I decided to walk down the stairs.
About half way down I realized I would have to climb back up.
I kicked myself the rest of the way down.
I am not a stair climber.
When I got to the bottom I found a free venicular right next to the stairs.
There is such a thing as a free ride. ;)
Once I got back to the top I walked from one end of the park to the other and then headed back.
I walked past the bread vendor, the sunning cats and dropped some coins in the old woman's cup. I walked past the stores selling jewelry and the ones selling souvenirs. I grabbed a bite to eat at McD's, walked through another park, headed over to the 'Greek Mall' and strolled through the grocery store before finally heading home.
I'd made it.
My first really big excursion on my own and I had explored the city and found my way home.
A successful field trip if I do say so myself.
Although my legs are killing me! :)