I stayed up late last night watching a movie in Russian. I actually understood the plot but it wasn't that in depth. The movie was "Vampyres des Muertos" and it had John Bob Jovi fighting vampires in Mexico. I would definitely recommend it if you have spent over a month in a foreign country with no English language television stations. Despite going to bed a bit later, I woke up at 5:30 am. I came down to the internet cafe to find out Canada had won their third straight junior gold. As we got ready this morning Candace and I realized that we left home 31 days ago. It's hard to believe we have been gone so long.
Our morning visit did not start off that well but it ended much better. I brought a note that I translated on the computer asking if we could take Alexandra outside. We took her first to the big room for her morning banana and then dressed her in her ski suit. She reluctantly followed me to the exit and then I picked her up and carried her through the door. When we stepped outside the orphanage and the sun and cool air hit her face she became instantly teary-eyed. Then I put her on the ground and she started crying and asked to be picked up again. We carried her around for 10 minutes and tried to reassure her but it didn't help. You have to wonder if the kids here ever go outside during the winter. We had hoped she would get a few days to get used to outside before leaving this week. Unfortunately, the poor weather (mild but rainy and sleety) has prevented this from happening. Given today's reaction, we have made new plans. We will now wait until our departure day before taking her outside again. Hopefully, she will handle it better...or else cry herself out during the 90 minute ride to the airport for the flight to Kiev.
As the title of this entry says, this was the first time in four weeks that Alexandra has actually cried. She has fallen, tripped, been banged, bumped and even poked...but she never seemed to be bothered. Outside, however, she doesn't like so much. She continued to cry for about 5 minutes after we came in and only relaxed when we finally put her ski suit back in the bag. For the next hour, she went back to being the usual playful and cheerful self. The only exception was about 30 minutes later when I pulled out the ski suit and said "Outside?". She glared at me, said "No" in a firm voice, and pointed for me to place it back in the bag. I complied quickly and she seemed to forgive me.
It is Christmas Eve today, so it is a time for gift giving. The three couples remaining presented the staff with a token of our appreciation. The doctor had suggested that we could bring things such as champagne, chocolates, coffee and tea. To make it simple, we gave them a little bit of everything. Then Candace and I went up to Alexandra's room. We gave each of the 16 kids there some candy, a banana, a toy, and some cigarettes. Of course I am joking about the cigarettes. While it does seem like everyone in the Ukraine smokes, I don't think that they actually start until they are 8 or 9 and our orphanage only goes up to four years old. I had imagined playing Santa Claus as I sat on the small stool at the front of the room. I was going to ask each child to come up individually before reaching into the bag for a special toy that suited them. There were eight boys and eight girls and we had gender-specific toys ready. So...I called the first boy up, pulled out a car...and then the other 15 kids, including Alexandra, rushed us. It took the caregivers about 2 - 3 minutes to get them sitting again. Candace and I then took a bag each and started dishing the doys out quickly as the children were seated. In her haste, Candace misjudged the gender of one of the boys, so I had to give the last little girl a toy car. I hope she likes it.