Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Missing My Babies

We’ve been here a little over a week now and this is the longest I have ever been away from my children. Skype just doesn’t cut it. Jade kissed the screen yesterday and told us he wants to hug us. Cue the tears.

I can’t write about them. I want to tell you how they are but I can’t because I choke up when I think about them too much.

How to get around the ache? This is a city of distractions. We have walked so much of it, visited many places and eaten a whole lot of everything. I will share a bit of our therapeutic adventures...

On Saturday we headed off for the churches starting with Saint Sophia’s, the oldest standing church in Kyiv built in the year 1037. We climbed the bell tower and oohed and ahhhed at the views of the city as seen from up there.


Mikhailivsky Cathedral from Bell Tower St Sophia

St Sophia's from Bell Tower

There are bells hanging up in there that clearly are no longer used since they have swatches of scarves, and any other handy material, tied to them. I assume people tie these things there for good luck or in prayer. (Did anyone take the guided tour? Did they explain the meaning of the scarves?)


On the grounds of St. Sophia’s there is a carillon. As we approached it there was a family there whose children were testing out the bells. I joined in. They make such a lovely sound. My husband told us he could play a song on them (talented man I have!) and so he warmed up with an attempt at the Star Spangled Banner but quickly switched to Mary Had a Little Lamb. This prompted a screaming fit from a little babushka who was sitting on a nearby bench. Whew, she reamed him out. Moments later a security guard arrived to also give us a talking to (in Ukrainian). Then I noticed the sign... in English... Do Not Touch the Carillon. Ooops. I’ll bet I have the only man in the world who has played a children’s tune on the bells of St. Sophia’s, lol.

From there we headed off to Saint Andrei’s (the church outside the SDA office). It is beautiful inside and we were there for part of a service. My husband and I lit candles and said prayers and it was really moving. Once again though, he found himself in trouble... no video allowed inside the church. I should have prayed that my husband doesn’t end up arrested anytime soon.

St Andrei's

Next was Saint Mikhayil’s Cathedral built in 2001. It is stunning. I’ll say it again, stunning.

Mikhailivsky Cathedral1

It is probably the most beautiful church I have ever been in. We saw part of service there too, and I was moved to tears. The entire back wall is made up of ornate goldish metal surrounding saints pictures. There are decorative hanging votives, alters for hundreds of skinny yellow candles, and a lovely wrought iron cupola with a spiral staircase that descends beneath it. No pics allowed. For the most part we behaved and I have only pics taken through the open doorways...


By then we were all starving and we set off in search of true Ukrainian fare. We found a place and bravely headed in. The menu had no descriptions in English and the waitress spoke no English, so we took our chances and ordered a bunch of different things including borsch, varennikis, salads, mushroom soup, veal in a jug, chicken in nut sauce, strudel, and some prune thingie (ack...and I have a picture to prove it but you won’t see that until I post about the odd side of Kiev). Belinda lucked out with the chicken dish, so delicious. The rest of the meal was so-so. It is hard to know if that is how Ukrainian food should taste or if the chef was not the best. (To solve this mystery, we have to continue our eating adventures...)





Catch up notes: In answer to questions received in comments and also follow-ups to other things I told you in previous posts...

1. $17 per 1/2 gallon ice cream isn’t so tasty... probably because no one can afford it and it has been sitting in its packaging since St. Sophia’s was built.

2. There is a 20% tax on everything here, so that was a huge part of our initial shocking grocery bill.

3. We did pick out our apartment and in my Busy Bee post I link to it if you want to see it. Um, it is missing two of its couches and the bean bag chair... wherever will I stick a baby?

4. We have 3 bio kids living at home... Gecko 7 yrs old, Jade turning 4, and Kimani who is two and has Down syndrome. Hubby has other children who are too old to live at home but are just as beautiful and fun as those back at the farm.

5. TGIF’s is overpriced but still has the best mudslides in town :-)

6. Our facilitator and our translator are both awesome. We are lucky to have them, especially our lovely translator who is funny, attentive, and who tells us which is the best beer and cough syrup in town. (Yes, those dang raspberries gave me a cold.)

Picture credit... all the really great pictures were taken by Belinda.



Lu, Poppies Blooming said...

lol I'd SO love to meet you two! lol Well, it looks like it may end up just you I'd get to meet though, as your hubby may be staying a bit longer in Ukraine if he keeps it up! But hey, the accommodation will be *ahem* free! :)

Praying for your hearts...

Leah and Tony Beasley said...

This is an amazing place!! We adopted 3 babies from the Ukarine and we never saw anything like your pictures. Enjoy these moments because after you get home and look back you will wish you had done more there!! Do it all, see it all, take as many pictures as you can and buy little things for a memory box for the child you are adopting!! Have a safe journey!

Rochelle said...

Beautiful photos. Glad you are able to enjoy the beautiful sites and take your mind off the littles back at home (at least for a little while).

Marianne said...

It looks beautiful there! Maybe if you have time when we're there in a couple of weeks to show us a couple of things? I think I can find your contact info. We'll be arriving on Sunday Sept. 5 and SDA is the 7th at 11am.

Savina said...

I know I am so behind on things Sandra but I have been reading and catching up. When will you get to bring them home? They are beautiful by the way :) You and Marshal haven't changed a bit either! - Savina

RissaRoo said...

Wow! Amazingly beautiful. Thank you for taking us along on your trip through your photos and words! (((hugs))) to you, I know it's got to be the hardest thing to leave your kids at home. But I can't wait to read about the homecoming! What a gift you'll be bringing them!

Hey, have you seen that bronze statue of the little girl that's in the video you once posted? She's featured at :09 thorugh :13 at the very beginning. I know it's a strange question but I'd love to know where the statue is and what it stands for. It has been haunting me for weeks ;o)

Praying for you and your hubby, that your trip is amazing and everything goes smoothly...and for your family at home, too.

thegypsymama said...

Hi there -

I came over from High Callings Blogs when I saw your headline "lost in Kyiv" - I especially was drawn in by the Ukrainian spelling! My husband and I spent nearly two and half years working in Kyiv and boy do those photos bring back memories! I worked just down the road from St Michael's - on Mykhailivska street.

And yes, all the food does taste like that :) LOL - what memories it all brings back!

Blessings to you on your remarkable journey.


Marianne said...

I'll look you up when we get there!

Bethany said...

Beautiful photos ... makes me miss our trip to Russia so much! Very similar to Ukraine. :)

I remember skyping with our kids ... it was so hard, especially for Payton (she was 2 at the time). As soon as she saw us on the computer, she would cry. We ended up having to turn off the video and just leave the audio on so that she didn't get so sad, although we could see the kids, they just couldn't see us.

Praying for a speedy process!

DownTownDan said...

Mmmm, veal in a jug.

Kat said...

Thanks for the pictures! If you want good ice cream, look for the stuff they sell in 1 Litre bags (Litre because everything is metric there and yes, I said BAGS). I think the bags are blue.

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