Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 3

This trip has been so fun and interesting. The people here in St Petersburg have all been nothing but a pleasure. Many of them can speak English and will try very hard to understand you. They never seem frustrated they just smile and try to understand. During our stay here several things have been most interesting.
1. The traffic is amazing, these people can somehow drive 3 wide on a stet with only 2 lanes. We take a different route to the baby home every time because our driver is trying to avoid a jam.

2. There are lots of baby buggies. Not stollers but actual buggies and you are just as likely to see a man pushing it as a woman. These buggies have to cost $500 - $1000!

3. About every other woman/girl you see is wearing heels. Not just heels but stilettos. This explains the drinking because I have to have a few drinks to tolerate heels like that too!  Hard to photograph these w/o being too obvious.

4. I have been referring to this city as the "city of love". Joe says it's "the city of sex"! Every where you look you see couples walking with their arms around each other and holding one another. Occasionally you will even see them sitting on laps. But I say the city of love because we have seen tons of people caring fresh flowers that they just bought for someone.

This morning we had another visit with our little girl. Then we met with the Baby Home director and got to ask questions about her care. To this point she has been very calm but shell smile, laugh and play with us but when the doctor came in she just turned it on. She was running around and throwing balls and laughing. The doctor said she had never seen P like that before. It was wonderful to see her so happy and excited. Shortly after, they came to get her for lunch and a nap and Joe and I went over to the local mall to waste some time before our next visit. We ate at Pizza Hut. We ordered some lattes...yes from Pizza Hut! Then later had some pizza. When I got the bill I noticed that the tax was like 28%. At least that's what it appeared to be, hard to tell when you can't read. After that we went and bought a couple of souvenirs for the boys and a little coat for P. We took it back and tried it on and it fit perfect. She was a delight as always...we took tons of video and pictures. I've been looking through them and just smiling. We are both in love and can't wait to get her home! I will post pictures later but I have no way to get them off my camera right now.

This evening was a perfect night to walk around. We walked to a lovely McDonalds for dinner (we can only afford so many $15 salads)! After dinner we went to a souvenir shop to look around. We bought P a doll that reminded us of our visit. Each doll had a different emotion and it made me think of all of the different emotions she has shown us during these visits. The dolls sell anywhere from $15 to $1000 so we are going to price around and hopefully get a couple of more before we leave.

Well that's all for now... We will see P 2 more times tomorrow and then sign the papers hat indicate we want her to be a part of our family.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 2

So today I was clearly thirsty at breakfast because I filled my plate full of fruit and had 4 glasses of water.  I also had an omlette but this time I could understand the lady enough to be able to order cheese and peppers in it vs adding my own cheese later.  There are a lot more people at breakfast this morning.  Mostly business men.  The hotel offers mimosas every morning for breakfast on the Buffett.

We saw Polina this morning and had a great visit. We played with toys and read books. Then we went to the mall and hung out. The mall had a burger king, KFC, Pizza Hut and some other American restrarauts. The thing that I found interesting is that they sell beer at the Burger King kind of like we do at a NFL game. Joe has learned to communicate that he would like a "vanilla latte" to people which has made the trip

We returned to the baby house for second visit and it was wonderful. Our little miss is sick with a cold and congestion so she just wanted to lay her head on my chest and be padded. I turned her around so she was looking at Joe and after about 15 minutes I took her and sat her on joes lap. She didn't cry. She just layed her head against his chest. We took some photos and showed her herself on camera then we got out our photo book and showed her pictures of the boys and mama and dada. She pointed to us with her finger. She really studied the boys photo. Then we got out some bubbles and her eyes just lit up! She walked over and popped some of them. Shorty after that the caretaker came to take her away. We gave her hugs and kisses and told her "paka paka". She waved to us and away she went. We are both in love. She is a very precious little girl.
Below is a picture of the dog house for the resident "watch dog" on the baby home property.  

I miss my boys terribly and can't wait to see them on Friday! As for pictures, you'll have to wait since I don't have a connection for my ad card.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 1

What a day.  It's 10pm now.  So here is how the day went...

Joe and I went down to breakfast at the hotel.  They had both American and Russian items.  I had salmon with tomatoes and cream cheese on a wheat cracker with some coffee and an omelette. Joe had yogurt w/cereal and an omelette.   After that we packed up our cameras and toys and headed to the Ministry of Education.  It was here that we met our coordinator Natasha and our translator.  We went inside and met with a lady that went over Polinas basic information and ask if we wanted to meet her.  We said yes and sighed a book showing we had been there.  Then we left for the orphanage.  It was about a 40 min drive but still in a very populated area.  Along the way our translator pointed out some historic buildings and explained how things used to be under the Soviet rule and how they are different now.  When we got to the baby home we went in the back door and down a long hallway that kind of felt like the lower level of a hospital.  The kitchen and maintenance area.  We went up some stairs to the music room and waited.  The orphanage reminded me of a very old school or hospital.  It was not updated but seemed well maintained.  The music room had laminate floors with a large rug in the center, toys tucked away in a cabinet, tiny little chairs for the children and some adult chairs lined up out of the way.  I would assume the room is used for performances or parties.  When they brought her in she took one look at us and started crying.  I picked her up and she buried her head into my shoulder.  When she started to calm down, she would look at Joe and start crying again.  She was terrified of him.  Apparently this is very normal since most of the children have never seen men.  It took about 20 minutes before she could look at Joe and not cry, but she remained very cautious of him the remainder of the visit.  The rest of the visit we spent with her on my lap playing with toys and Joe sat on a chair off to the side of us.  Toward the end of the visit she was rolling a ball to him and she took a book that he handed her and smiled.  When I watched the video she was smiling and laughing a good portion of our visit which made me feel good.  When her care giver came in to get her she hopped up and walked

After our visit we came back to the hotel and had their "business" lunch.  It was very Russian and Joe was not impressed.  I thought it was good and very healthy. After that we went and took a nap and then got up and walked down to the river to a coffee. The coffee shop had something for the whole for Joe, wine for me, ice cream for kids, they even sold cigarettes Marge!

The people here are most interesting.  Most of the women under 35 are wearing stilettos with tight jeans or short skirts.  We have seen quite a few rather intimate couples and it appears that any night of the week is a party night.  Tonight, Monday we passed a huge limo with quite the party inside.

 The people here are very proper and quiet spoken.  It appears there is quite a separation of wealth.  Things are very expensive and you can tell many people are poor.

Tomorrow we go back to the baby home at 9 am.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reality Check?

See this cute little rubber frog for your bath?

You can take him home for the low low cost of just 450 rubles ($15.63).

Or how about this bottle of water...looks pretty good after a couple of drinks at the terrace bar...just 320 r ($11.12)

Looks like the souvenirs might be limited. Lol

We made it!

After a few traveling misshaps, we are here at the Renaissance and getting settled.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We are halfway there...

Our flight out was canceled due to the hurricane so after many hours on the phone we were rerouted through London. We are spending the night here and will be in route to St Pete early in the mourning. We had a GREAT flight on American. We arrived on time and they fed us 2 hot meals.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"I can't fight this feeling any more"

So please tell me how I'm supposed to work knowing that I will be 1/2 around the world meeting my new child in just one week!  It's all I can think about and I find myself getting irritated when people send me an email asking me a work question.  LOL  Can you imagine how the next 2 months will go?  At least I'll be able to spend a lot of that time shopping!  :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We have travel dates!!!

Our agency called and told us we will be going to meet our little girl the end of August!  Now I need to start making my to do list!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I have never traveled internationally and therefore have never had to worry about electricity before.  But when you plan to charge over a $1000 worth of electronics its good to make sure you have it right.  For those of you getting ready to travel here is what I have learned.

The US has a standard of 120 Volts and 60 Hz.
Russia's standard is 220 Volts and 50 Hz.

Most of our electronics were made for dual voltage.
Cannon Camera - 100V-240V
iPad - 100V-240V
Sony HD Camcorder - 100V-240V
PSP - 100V-240V
The only thing that wasn't was my hair dryer so I found this one at Wal-Mart...Revlon Tourmaline Travel Hair Dryer.

The voltages listed here are the "nominal" figures reported to be in use at most residential/commercial sites in the country. Most electrical power systems are prone to slight variations in voltage due to demand or other factors.  Generally, this difference is inconsequential, as most appliances are built to tolerate current a certain percentage above or below the rated voltage. However, severe variations in current can damage electrical equipment.  So you should probably buy one of these....Surge protector.  They quoted me $42 including shipping.  This will also take care of the adapter issue as well as allow you to charge everything at the same time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We have officially received our I-171H!

From the Department of Homeland Security:
"Notice of favorable determination concerning application for advanced processing of an orphan petition."