River of Thoughts

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

Hosting Masha

To lay the groundwork for 2012, I’m resurrecting and revising some of the key posts from the past that tell our story. This is a summary of the three weeks in August 2006 when we hosted Masha. The group of host families gathered anxiously at about 11:45 PM in the hotel lobby to wait for the travelers. A unique combination of excitement, exhaustion, and nerves filled the room, as families practiced their greetings in Russian and clutched floppy stuffed animals. Right at 12:00, the call came out…”They’re HERE!” as the minivan pulled into the parking lot. The next three weeks […]

Day 19 – Thursday, 24 August, 2006

Well, it’s taken me close to a week to bring myself to write the entry for Thursday, the day we said Farewell to Masha. The day began early. Running on about 6 hours of sleep, we awoke to darkness for the first time since Masha arrived. She made some final preparations, checked her room for any final things she wanted to cram into her suitcase. The mood in the house was solemn, knowing that good-bye was near, and not wanting that to come. Masha ate her last American breakfast while Mark and I made last minute preparations. At about 7:15, […]

Day 18 – Wednesday, 23 August, 2006

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two and a half weeks. In some ways, it seems like Masha has been here forever, and in other ways, time has flown. For Masha’s final day, Mark and I both scheduled time off from work to hang out and enjoy our time together. Our first trouble came when Masha came wandering into my office with a post-it note stuck her her finger. Fun Spot. Originally scheduled as a field trip for the day camp, the afternoon at Fun Spot in Angola was cancelled when the Vice Consul announced a surprise visit during […]

Day 17 – Tuesday, 22 August, 2006

Tuesday was Masha and Dad day. The plan was for me to take Monday off while Mark worked, and then for Mark to take Tuesday off while I worked. While I got to take Masha to the dentist and eye doctor, Mark took her for a Fun Day. Mark and I both got up and got to work about 6:30, and let Masha sleep in a bit. They watched some TV and played some games, and then joined the rest of the kids for a pool party. The pool offered a great opportunity for kids from two different orphanages to […]

Day 16 – Monday, 21 August, 2006

Some battles are worth fighting; for others, capitulation is the right option. This morning, I vetoed potato chips and coke for breakfast. As an alternative, corn on the cob seemed to be the Breakfast of Champions. Added to Fruity Cheerios, buttered bread, string cheese, and grapes, it soared right over the top. Every day, I say to myself that I have never seen a girl so small eat so much! The crazy part of it is that she followed this up with an apple! Once the wild hunger was appeased, we watched the end of Snow White (well, Masha watched […]