Saturday, January 31, 2009
One year ago...
Kiril arrived at 9:05 a.m., ready and willing to do whatever it took to get us to Kiev.
He was a great kid. And by kid...I mean kid. He was barely 21.
But he spoke great English and he talked to me.
A big improvement, I must say.
Turns out, Kiril had spent a year in the U.S. as an exchange student, and he had such a great experience and grew to love the country so much he wants to immigrate here soon.
I hope he's able to follow that dream.
We spent the morning showing Kiril around Odessa. We showed him the opera house, the steps, the pier. He loved it all. He was like a little kid walking around and taking everything in.
But he was also a huge help and above all, he was patient with Maddie.
He walked at her pace, helped me help her up and down stairs and translated what he thought she was saying to me.
It was so nice to finally be able to communicate with her without using signs...even if it was only for a few hours.
We stopped by McDonald's for lunch (I didn't want to buy any more groceries...and let's just say Maddie won't be ready for a sit down restaurant any time soon.) And during lunch we got the call.
The passports would be ready at 3:30 p.m.
We went back to the apartment, so Maddie could take a quick nap and I could finish packing. I made a quick call to Meshack on Skype to let him know...but then promptly forgot to post something (sorry about that! Thankfully clear thinking returned later, and he agreed to fill you all in ;)
We finally left the apartment around 3:20 and walked the six blocks to the passport office.
When we arrived my heart sank.
They had spelled our last name wrong.
Thankfully, this is one part of the process which isn't inefficient.
Go figure. They must have had thi happen before. ;)
Actually, I'm sure of it. The Haug's passport was misspelled as well.
They actually WROTE the correction in the passport and then stamped it.
I had it corrected in less than 15 minutes.
WE HAD THE PASSPORT!!!!!
We could finally for Kiev!!!!
Okay...that is easier said than done.
We flew down to the bus station to try to get on the 6:30 to Kiev.
They had two seats left. When I asked if Maddie could ride in my lap, they said 'sure'...but then realized the two seats were in the very front and they don't allow children to sit in the front.
So we looked at another option.
Kiril called it something like a Matruska (I know that's not right)...but he said it would be cold and a bit uncomfortable.
Let's look at hiring a driver then. I just wanted out. I didn't want to have to sit around waiting until 11 p.m., when we could be there just a few minutes later by bus or car! I wanted out now.
Yea...real mature I know. But I was done. We had the passport...I needed to get started on the next leg of the journey.
Kiril found a cab driver to take us back to the apartment to consider our options. As we headed back, he turned and told me he had talked to the driver who said he would be willing to take us to Kiev for $220.
Not too bad.
It cost us almost double that to come down and visit Maddie back in December.
I said, 'Take it.'
The guy dropped us off at the apartment to pick up our stuff.
He never returned.
So we hailed another driver to take us over to drop off our apartment key and on the way, again, Kiril worked his magic. This driver had a friend who would take us for $220. All we had to do was wait another half an hour for him to be ready.
By 7 p.m. we were on our way.
Maddie did great on the trip. She slept for most of it...and sat quietly during the rest of it. I think she was a bit scared of the driver.
So was I.
Not that I was doubting his abilities...but the guy was driving like he was a member of the Penske racing team! We were doing 180 kph at one point. Things were whizzing by...and just about the time I would doze off, he would slam on the brakes to slow down to go around someone.
We arrived four hours later.
Yes...you read that right. Four hours later!
It took us over six back in December.
We were so early that Bogdan's crew wasn't expecting us so I had to call and wake Bogdan up so I could get the key to the apartment.
We finally got our stuff loaded into the aparment and as I walked into the living room to drop off a bag and there, sitting on the computer desk was a bouquet of pink roses, a card and a basket of fruit.
Inside, the note said, Congrulations! You're one step closer to home.
I told you Bogdan was the best.
And he's right.
We were finally in the homestretch.
Tomorrow would be incredibly busy...but it didn't matter.
In less than 36 hours we should be on our way home.