River of Thoughts

Christine Royse Niles — Changing the world one word at a time

The Rain In Ukraine Falls Mainly…Somewhere Else?

Wednesday, 30 May

Air conditioning is a blessing from God. Each day here has been hotter than the last, and we are very fortunate to be staying in an apartment that is air conditioned.

We got up early this morning so I could catch up on some writing. We headed into town at about 11, did some shopping and exploring around town, and even found a bank where they spoke English to exchange money! We met up with our driver at 1:00 and drove to the orphanage; Fred and Lisa arrived a couple of minutes behind us.

While we waited, one of the kids from last summer’s Fort Wayne group popped into the room where we waited, holding a letter and some photos that she had just received from her family. She was looking for Sveta to translate the letter, but when I looked at it, I realized it was brief enough that Mark and I decided to take a stab at it. We got through almost the whole letter when Sveta arrived. She translated it for real, and we discovered that our translation was pretty darn good!

We learned that the girls had a dance rehearsal at 3:00, so we would only be able to take them to lunch, and then return them to the orphanage. Today, this was a good thing, because it rained for the first time since we’ve been in Ukraine…and it rained HARD! It had been getting a bit dusty and the pollen and flowers from the trillions of chestnut tress were all over the place, so a good hard rain was just what we needed. It cooled things off just a little bit, too! We were actually pretty happy to see the clouds forming!

After lunch, we lingered at our table in the cafeteria and asked the girls to each give us three words or phrases they wanted to learn in English (they were to tell Sveta in Russian, and the Sveta would tell us in English). Amina immediately told Sveta she wanted to know the English word “lawyer.” This kicked off a discussion of what the kids wanted to be when they grew up. Amina she confessed that she didn’t want to be a lawyer, just know the word. She actually wants to be a doctor.

Masha’s first three answers to the question were “I don’t know.” Finally, she told Sveta that she wanted to be a teacher of Russian Literature. Kewl. Now we just have to pack a whole suitcase full of books to take home with us…Lena and Chess, we’ll take any recommendations you have!

It was just about time to go when a strange old man at the table behind us fell off his chair and lay unconscious on the floor under our table. We were all concerned that something might be wrong (oh, like I dunno, be dead or something), but even the girls looked at him and said “Oh, he’s just drunk.” With the reports of rampant alcoholism around here, and the dirt cheap liquor prices, I almost expected to see more of this, but honestly, this was our first real drunk of the trip. We all vacated the restaurant, and the manager and a security guy dealt with him quickly.

We dropped the girls back at the orphanage in time for dance practice, and then picked up our laptop and went to Papa Karlo’s for some quality time with their WiFi. Nothing eventful, just a quiet evening spent resting up and reading. I have to admit that I’m amazed how much energy it takes to accomplish what seems to be so little in a day. Write, Shop, Eat, Read. Not hard stuff. But at the end of each day, we’re completely beat.

Tomorrow looks to be another light day; the girls have their last day of school tomorrow morning, we will have them for lunch and a short shopping expedition to purchase a card and small birthday gift for one of their caregivers, and then they have the last dance rehearsal before their big performance…The orphanage is hosting an all-day extravaganza on Friday to thank the community for their support. Apparently, the kids have a major show planned (hence all the dance rehearsals), and they will have a sale of some items that the children have made, with the proceeds going back to them for toys, books, etc. We are really looking forward to this!

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About Christine

I am a writer, a project manager, and a corporate refugee with a heart for orphans around the world. My two daughters were adopted from Ukraine at ages 12 and 14. I post about writing, chasing dreams, and making a difference in the world, and sometimes I share fun snippets of fiction in-progress.

2 Replies

  1. Kathy P

    Have you looked into shipping costs for sending back books? Might be a lot cheaper than the airlines. We ran into problems with 2lbs over from North Carolina to Fort Wayne; with an expected cost of $100 for the heavy bag. We dumped magazines and newspapers and made the free limit. One vacation we shipped back our dirty clothes around items we had bought and saved that way also. If you can ship to a relative and pick up later it might work well also. Have you found any book stores there?

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