Monday, April 20, 2009

Home again (even if only temporarily)

We made it home late Saturday night. Many thanks to our friend Trent who was able to pick us up at the airport, especially since our flight arrived about an hour late.

Our last apartment in Kyiv is better left unmentioned (small mosquito infestation!) but we did have a great day on Friday wandering around Kyiv...and I do mean wandering. We had no idea where our apartment was located other than that it wasn't close to the city center. But we could see tall buildings and we knew we'd be on a plane all day Saturday so we started walking. We wandered into a small market and exchanged some money, then we walked past the circus arena and up a big hill and found Kreschatik Street and Independence Square. It was a good 1 hour+ walk from our apartment to the square.

We ate at Mister Snack for lunch, then hit the internet cafe and took the time to check in for our flights. We walked back to O'Panas and visited the playground where there were a whole pack of kids speaking English. On the way back to our apartment, we found a pizza place underneath an English school (close to the University metro stop) and stopped in. Nope, no one spoke English, but they did have an English menu. ;) I swear I'm going to perfect the art of ordering pizza in Ukraine by the time this adoption is through, because yet again I didn't get it right (two pizzas, each with one topping turned into two pizzas each with two toppings). There's apparently some phrase or word that I'm getting wrong (huge surprise, I know!), but the pizzas are all still yummy and we eat them regardless.

We finished the walk to the apartment with a stop at the little market again to pick up some snacks for breakfast in the morning. Saturday we were picked up at 7am so that we could get to the airport in plenty of time, which we did. Even without a printed e-ticket itinerary, they sent us straight to the check-in counter since we had already checked in online. That was when we were told that Mark and Zhenya were on standby for our flight from JFK to STL. :) :) We had a 4-hour layover in JFK, so we figured we'd work it out when we got there.

We were in the airport for a little over an hour before our flight started boarding. We had seats all the way in the back and I loved it. We were close to the bathrooms so it was quick and easy to get the boys there. We watched Quantum of Solace, something else that was obviously very memorable since I can't remember what it was, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua (cute). Thankfully the boys don't watch the movies because I don't think I would have wanted them watching the first two. The food was okay, although on the flight over to Ukraine they served chicken or pasta and ran out of chicken meals, and then on this flight they served chicken or pasta and ran out of pasta meals. Weird.

We made it to JFK and got to our gate to sit and wait out the next 4 hours. We got everything straightened out with regards to getting all of us on the flight (which Mark was particularly happy about). We made a few friends along the way, including a newly adoptive dad and his son Mitchell (hope the Dramamine worked!) and a guy who works in the Donetsk region with the kids who are aging out of the orphanage system. We let the boys sleep for about an hour in the airport. They were wiped out (it was a few hours past their bedtime on Ukraine time at this point).

I didn't manage to sleep on the flight home so I ended up being awake for 24 hours straight, but my amazing husband managed to fall asleep before our plane left the gate! We sat on the runway for about an hour as we were 30th(!!) in line to takeoff. Our flight attendant was fantastic and passed out food and drinks and let people get up to use the restroom as needed. As soon as we were in the air I told the boys to "lay back and rest" and they were both asleep within minutes.

Yesterday we all stayed up all day to try to avoid jet lag. We stayed out and about with grocery and miscellaneous shopping (by the way, Steak and Shake is having a kids-eat-free promotion on the weekends in the St Louis area--the 4 of us ate for $6 yesterday! It was like still being in Ukraine!) and the boys went to bed at the regularly scheduled time last night.

We're having a hard time finding flights to get back to Ukraine (around May 4) so please pray for that. We need to get those set up as quickly as possible to go get our girls!!


Julie said...

I just have to say... that is the cutest picture EVER! They look like they're on the show Amazing Race. Love it! Glad you're all home :) Well, almost all of you!

his wife, their mama said...

I just love the pictures of your men! So glad to hear things went relatively well for your return trip and we'll be keeping you in our prayers for your tickets! Love and hugs!

Tami said...

Great pic! :)
So glad you're home safe and sound. Sounds like you met up with the Tucci's. I love meeting up with other adoptive families!! And for some reason, JFK seems to be the place for that! :)
We'll be praying for you to get those tickets.

Leslie said...

I'm glad you arrived home safely!
Praying you are able to find tickets to return. :-)

MamaPoRuski said...

YEAH! Hope you enjoy your littl break! Can't believe it's going so quickly! Love the photo of the guys! Praying for you and the girls!

Diana said...

Try looking at not flying direct. We had a really hard time finding flights home when we adopted our boys. We ended up calling a local travel agent (the one my dad used for work). We ended up flying to Budapest, Hungary and then direct to JFK. It was about 1/3 the price of flying direct from Kyiv.

You may also want to look for a layover in Paris, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Prauge, or Frankfurt, Germany.

So glat things are going well for your adoption. You guys have a knack for having the world's fastest Ukrainian adoptions!

Tina said...

So glad you made it back safely! I think that picture is fantastic and needs to be framed. :)

jena said...

I am putting together some info for and wondered if we could link your blog (and have you write a bit about your experience in Ukraine) for our May project. We are going to be raising money for The Heart of the Bride in the Ukraine. It would be great for our families if they got some first hand been there, done that info!

bapgap @ triad dot rr dot com

Audrey said...

Glad you are home safe! Love all the photos - so great!! I can't believe how fast this is all going for you guys - yea!