Well...I woke up this morning and resolved that I would not be down and out because it was Christmas and we were in eastern Europe. As soon as I got out of bed, I told Candace that no matter what happened I would remain positive and upbeat. Ironically enough, about ten minutes later I seemed to become instantly affected by the same gastrointenstinal condition that afflicted our American friend yesterday. Despite being "delayed" in starting off our day, and despite being forced to end our morning visit prematurely, I didn't lose sight of my oath that started the day. Things started to get better as soon as I lay back down on my bed. While waiting for the Immodium to kick in I received a phone call from my mother in Nova Scotia. As I chatted on the phone, Candace went to the store to stock up on bananas and other necessities.
Then in the early afternoon, I made a communication breakthrough that was somewhat of a Christmas miracle. After three days of trying to pay for Alexandra's return ticket by telephone with a German airline agent and by fax with the Russian desk people here at the hotel, we finally received her electronic ticket. With only two tickets up until today, I was worried that Alexandra and I would have to leave mommy in the Ukraine for a while. Once the ticket was secured and the Immodium working I actually had a nap. This time it was Candace who stayed awake all through the afternoon.
Our evening visit was great. Alexandra was full of life and her an another girl played some kind of keep-away game with a skipping rope for about 20 minutes. They were yelling and running and laughing and the adults were videotaping their romp through the play room. My only concern is the bananas, which I have mentioned a couple of times already. Today Candace gave her three of them. I wonder if there are any serious health risks related to over-consumption of bananas.
My brother Raymond commented yesterday that he discovered that the Russian
nickname for people with the name Alexandra or Alexander is "Sasha". Actually, most of the people at the orphanage call Alexandra by this nickname. We are trying to use her given name exclusively. On those occasions in which I have let "Sasha" slip I am met with a stern look from Mommy. Nothing against the name Sasha of course...especially given that our niece, and Raymond's daughter, has this name. We are actually imagining shortening the name to Alex once she gets used to Alexandra.
Tonight Candace and I will try to replicate Christmas at home. We are going upstairs and having chicken (no turkey available) and the trimmings (rice, potatoes, chocolate bars, and beer) before we start her family tradition of Christmas card playing until everyone falls asleep at the table. With only two of us, we can't play the game most popular at her parent's house, but we decided a few rounds of "hola" would be appropriate.
Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy the giving and the receiving, the eating and drinking...but most of all, enjoy each other's company.