DONSA number three, thankfully the last for now. I must admit that having this much unscheduled time is a little hard to deal with, especially today since so many places are closed on Monday. We started with a light morning snack in anticipation of a late lunch. There’s nothing quite as eye-opening as having tiramisu and iced cappuccino for breakfast. Not sure where on the food pyramid you find that but I’m sure it’s there somewhere. After our morning snack we jumped on the bus to head down to the water. The plan was to go to the market and see if we could find a can opener. We have had this can of pineapple slices since our first day in region; unfortunately we have this manual can opener that for the life of me I cannot figure out how to use. Now I’m no rookie when it comes to manual can openers. I’ve used the ones on Swiss Army knives, the old Boy Scout knives, the Army issued pocket knife, the old cartoon tuna can opener, even the old Army P-38 opener, but this thing just baffles me. I’m almost to the point of throwing it out in the crosswalk when the huffy red dude is showing and letting a speeding vehicle pop it open! Even if that can of pineapple must return with us to the U.S., it will be opened!!! Well, on our way down we got the call from Luda that the court proceeding for the day were successful and that we would be joining another family for a celebratory lunch. She didn’t seem to find it the least bit extraordinary that we were on a bus heading downtown rather than at the apartment. I think she has accepted the fact that after decades of international travel, on both official and unofficial business, Erika and I are quite comfortable out among the population and acting like the “natives”. Lunch was in a restaurant (remember … “Pectopah”) that had won some high acclaim from a national Ukrainian “food network” type of show. We get to the table, get handed some English menus (generally a good sign) and discover that it’s … a breakfast joint!? Good thing Ukrainians eat big for breakfast; not many places in the U.S. do you find Greek Salad on the breakfast menu. The food was excellent and everyone found something to satisfy their appetite. After hearing about the court proceedings and celebrating the transition of another child’s status from orphan to family member, Luda let us know that she had contacted the director of the last orphanage from which we had adopted and that the Director was excited that we were here and would love to see us again (we had asked Luda earlier if she thought it would be possible for us to visit). The amazing Luda had done all the research on the different ways to get there and had a plan for us to go and visit there this Friday. I know several CEOs that would give their eye-teeth to have someone as competent and proactive as Luda! Well, the other family had to run off to catch the train to begin their journey home so we walked down to the river again. While there wasn’t a sequel to “Superman”, I did see a bunch of swallows that seemed to be tearing up a swarm of insects right above a park bench. I dragged Erika over and we had a seat. It was AWESOME!!! The closest thing I can compare it to would be floating in the sky in the middle of an airshow. The swallows where zipping by at incredible speed, making these seemingly impossible changes in direction. Some passed so close to us that you could hear the feathers vibrating in the wind and feel the air from their passage. Watching them it was very easy to understand why man was inspired to master flight. When the show was over we went back to the shop where we had bought clothes for the kids and got another shirt in a different size for Caleb. We still have no idea of what size he may wear so we thought it best to bring a couple for him to try. On the way back I came to a disturbing realization. Since we have been here we have noticed that a lot of the guys seem to be very secure in their manhood since they were holding their wife/girlfriends purse as they walked around in public … or so we thought. There is a thing here straight out of a Jerry Seinfeld routine that can only be described as a “Murse” (i.e. a Man Purse)! Now we aren’t talking some big leather bag worthy of a National Geographic exploration team, oh no, we are talking about a small, delicate, highly decorated shiny leather bag in a variety of colors … complete with a “spaghetti strap” handle to throw over your shoulder. Just being next to one of those things makes you start thinking pink may be an ok color for your next pair of slacks! It really looks odd when one is being carried by some guy who looks like he may have founded the Russian Mafia. I now know why all the statues of Lenin here look so angry!
We get to resume visits tomorrow. Can’t wait!!