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Dan's trip to Russia
Will I Ever Get To Meet Him?
I woke up Monday morning not knowing for sure if this was the day I would get to meet my son. I knew that my facilitator and driver were coming to take me to Shakhty (the town where Vasya was living) today but I didn't know what time we would be leaving. When I came out of my room breakfast was waiting for me. It was eggs, sausage patty, bread, and something that looked like cottage cheese with sugar sprinkled on it that had been toasted in the oven. I am not a cottage cheese type of person, but I gave it a good try and took two bites of it. Sour curdled cheese with sweet sugar, toasted, just isn't my idea of a yummy dish.
I was able to take a nice hot shower...not all travelers to Russia get the luxury of hot water! I then opened up my two HUGE duffle bags so I could reorganize and repack things for my trip to Shakhty. By the time that was all done, lunch was ready. And I was told to Please Sit and EAT!! EAT!!
It is early afternoon and still no signs of my facilitator or driver. So I figured that I probably would have to wait ONE MORE day to meet my son. I was still feeling a bit tired so I took a nap. I got up about 4 o'clock when the phone rang and poked my head out of the bedroom and Sergi held the phone out to me. It was Alla and she told me they would be by around 9 pm to take me to Shakhty. So I sat around and watched TV and waited. Then I heard Please Sit and EAT!! EAT!!
Promptly at 9 pm Alla and Lena arrived. We hauled the two HUGE duffle bags down three flights of stairs. Alla and Lena were happy when they noticed that I left about 40 pounds worth of clothes and things behind since I knew we would not be in Shakhty long. It took us about an hour and a half to drive to Shakhty, which is a small town in a coal mining area.
We arrived in Shakhty and got the bags unloaded. This host family was also on the third floor! So it was up all those stairs with the two HUGE duffle bags. I was introduced to Natasha who just happened to be preparing dinner at 10:30 at night. While she was fixing dinner, Alla and I went through all the gifts and donations that I had brought for the hospital. The donations consisted of baby clothes, lotions, diaper rash cream, powder, underwear, socks, developmental toys, mobile for a crib, shoes, and things like that. The gifts ranged from really nice to small tokens. The really nice things that Alla loved were the pieces of costume jewelry like 1928, Monet etc. that Sandy had gotten on sale for 75 percent off but had been $30 and up pieces, 4 suede leather mens vests (men wear a lot of vests and sport coats there I guess...we didn't know this ahead of time we just lucked out) that Sandy got on sale, some polar fleece shirts (big hit there), and multipurpose tools that folded up (like a cheap imitation leatherman that Sandy found at a liquidation store). I also had some potpourri, panty hose, two sets of cargo straps for a car, Isotoner slippers and a few other small things that Sandy had, you guessed it, found on sale, in her pre-travel shopping frenzy. The mens gifts were really appreciated as they don't tend to get quite enough things for men. Plus the polar fleece shirts were unisex and they love it there but it is hard to find.
It was Alla's job to take all the gifts and package them up in the gift bags and fancy tissue that Sandy sent (another big hit) and make sure they were given to the appropriate people. By the time we had gotten all of that done I heard the familiar phrase, EAT!! EAT!! While I was still kind of full from my first dinner of the day, I did manage to eat a little soup.
As we were beginning to eat dinner our host, Alexander, broke out the vodka and some whisky (of questionable origin). He poured a shot of whisky for everyone and made a toast to me and my future son. Well, the whisky was pretty good and after the first toast when he offered me some "good russian vodka" I said, "no thanks but I'll have more of that" and pointed to his bottle of whisky!! We all spent the next couple of hours sitting around the kitchen table talking and drinking his whisky. I finally decided I really needed to go to bed about 2:30 am. As I got up and left the table, Alla told me that we would be leaving at 9:00 am to go to the hospital to meet Vasya. I still didn't know what time we were going to court the next day.
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