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Wednesday In Astrakhan

by bill - 2007-10-08 09:34:16 ( in family, adoption, holmes, travel) [php version]

We just got back from today's first visit with the child (we're not supposed to mention her name online). We'll be going back this afternoon. In the meantime, Tara's trying to catch up on her sleep. She had woken up around 5 this morning. I was able to sleep until almost 8.

The girl (hopefully soon to be known as "our daughter") is great. We discovered she likes it a lot when we put her on the plastic "motorcycle," Tara pushes from behind, and I "run" ahead of them as they try to run me down. Typical Russian driver. :) She likes to blow bubbles a lot, and spill half of it on the floor, though she finally did go looking for the cap at one point to put it back on and stop spilling. She likes to roll and kick the ball; and climb on things. The toys she wants the most are the ones hardest to reach. I got good at saying "be careful" in Russian, though at the moment I can't recall the phrase. That's how it is with me and languages. I can remember words and phrases for MINUTES at a time, only to completely forget 20 minutes later until I check my cheat sheet again. She likes to color, but thinks all colors are green. She can probably differentiate colors, but doesn't know the different word for each one.

She's still a little bit less comfortable with Tara than she is with me, for some reason. And I hate that, but what can you do? Chicks just naturally dig me, you know? The girl can't help it. :) If she only knew, it's been Tara's hard work and determination that got us this far in the first place! But that figures. The one who works the hardest almost never gets the credit.

I took some video again today. Just some neighborhood "scenery" shots from the back of the van/taxi they drive us around in. I was asked by our hosts to explain that the reason so many police and military are out on the streets today is because the country's new Prime Minister is visiting. Up until today, I hadn't seen many "authorities" on the street. Security guards in every store at every exit, yes, but not out on the street. I don't have the connections to upload it here. It'll have to wait until we get home.

I also tried to get some video "for the guys" for research purposes only, of all the beautiful women we see everywhere. Unfortunately, the air is suddenly 10-15 degrees cooler, so the women are fully dressed. They're funny here. It gets just a little bit cool, and they act like winter has set in, shivering and putting on sweaters. You would think that, given the infamously freezing winters they have here, this Fall weather would not phase them at all. They tell me and Tara to put on sweaters, and we just have to explain that we like the cool weather.

We were able to figure out the international calling card last night. Our interpreter, Vika, translated the Russian instructions on the back for us, but I couldn't seem to get an outside line in the hotel room. That, plus the fact that I had never used (never needed to use) a calling card before, made it difficult. I was forced to call down to the front desk for help, which we both try and avoid. There's a tall blond woman down there who, I'm pretty sure, does not dig me. I think she is the one I spoke to. I don't know. Maybe they just all hate me. Actually, most of them are very nice, but whoever she was, she was fairly snotty. "Do you know how to use it [the calling card]?" she asked, after making that expulsion-of-breathe sound that signifies disgust.

"Yes, I have instructions," I said, "but it's not working. I just need to know how to get an outside line." Silence on the other end. So I try to speak clearly and slowly and not use contractions. "Usually, in hotels you have to dial a certain number to get an outside line." I'm not being sarcastic with her. I'm actually impressed when anyone can speak a language foreign to them. She gave a derisive snort, then more silence. "... when you use the phone," I added, in case I hadn't made that part clear.

"You give us your card," she finally said. "We will make call for you."I said, "Yeah, okay," but never followed up. After hanging up with her, I said "screw it" and just started trying numbers to get an outside line. I'd already tried 8 and 9. The one that works, at least in this hotel this week, is 0.


UPDATE: Recently discovered this map showing the entrance of the orphanage:

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Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, Russian Adoption: From Nashville to Astrakhan and Back (PDF). And here is the fictionalized, future "homeland tour" (action adventure) version in various forms: on Kindle, various electronic formats, and in paperback.

This time next week....PreparationThe day beforeTravel dayIn the airWe're in MoscowMoscowCheck out timeWe're in AstrakhanIt's only Monday?What a day...Tuesday (2007-10-02)It's a girl! It's a girl!WednesdayThursdayGreat visitSights of AstrakhanAnother great visitLast visit for a whileAtlanta!We're home! (10/06)Round twoSkora mweh tam boojumInternet accessElizabeth's roomMweh yeddum v aeroport eta ootraIn the air againBack in Moscow (11/26)Tuesday (2007-11-26)Back in AstrakhanRussian adoption consultantComments welcomeShowtime!And the judge says......Success!The day afterSaturday morningMuch better visit todayBeet saladWent for a walk ...Its going to be a good weekShe's warming up to usLight at the end of the tunnelPicture of us before courtMore picturesShe's ours!The first hours of parenthoodBowel movementSleep, what a conceptUpdateNothing much to update about51-1/2 hoursJust another week to goPictures of our life in AstrakhanBack in Moscow (12/18)Moscow update continuedUpdate to the update's updateTo the embassyCan't leave earlyStill in MoscowRiding the MetroRiding the Metro, part deuxWe're home! (12/23)A few picturesAirport arrivalStay tunedMore picsSummaryDoctors say she's normalAdoption videoHolmes Russian adoption videosAdoption videos updatedOur Russian adoption story

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