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Friday, January 16, 2009

One year ago...
Okay...don't freak out. I don't want you freaking out.
Do you promise not to freak out?
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.
He felt horrible...about the car.
He didn't even ask if I was alright.
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.'
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.
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.

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