Friday, April 24, 2009

Tea Party

This morning I had a 4 mile walk, which was very nice! The sun was out, the Russians were out and it seems the clean-up is on around here now. The area is so dirty, people just seem to throw trash wherever they feel like it. We have wondered why in the world this stuff does not get cleaned up. I suppose mostly because it has been winter here until just a few weeks ago. Today there seemed to be lots of people out cleaning up the trash and painting curbs. I walked next to the tracks for a while, tried to get on the property next to us, but that was a no go! We walked there yesterday, but today the guard was present and told me, ”Nyet!” I tried hand signals to let him know I just wanted to walk. He just showed me some Russian sign and I moved on. I wanted to walk in there, as I felt a bit safer, but I was determined to get in a decent walk today.

I passed this on my walk, lots of tights hanging, most kids wear these like long underwear.

I headed further down the tracks to some concrete stairs we found the other day. I went up the stairs and found myself on a dirt road. My thoughts as I walked along this road and through most of my walk (actually a lot of my stay here) is that if I was in the USA I could point out 1000 things that someone might find to sue the city for. The man holes were open, seeing at least 3 on my walk; one actually had a tree growing out of it. Any signs of steps or sidewalk usually also means pot holes, cracks and even a stump on the middle of the walk. There is just not a lot of upkeep, not like what we are used to anyway. I walked along the dirt road and to the highway. I figured if the dirt road did not take me to the highway, I would just back track. I brought a pedometer with me, so I mostly just made up my walk as I went, making sure I got to 4 miles. I stopped at the store, went down by the tracks again, walked down the road the hotel is near and back again and even walked around the hotel. It really was nice! Mom did laundry while I was out. I did buy her some dish soap at the store! Not so bad living with your mom at my age! =)

Not"Fast Food"as we know it, sells mostly packaged stuff and cigarettes.

We saw Victoria today at 3:00 pm. We were not able to play outside again today because we were told Blake had a runny nose. Blake really had one yesterday, but not so much today. Today it seemed to be Victoria’s turn. Today we visited in the gym. I brought some coffee cups we got off the plane, some cookies I bought on my walk, and bottled water. We set up the floor area and had a tea party! It was fun and Heather titled me the “activities director”. The kids love the water; they must have had 3 cups each. After about an hour with Victoria and Blake, along came the roommates, this time with just one caretaker. What a wild time! Heather and Justin had 8 or so small beach balls and blew them all up. Kids were throwing balls everywhere. Mostly though, they would bring a ball to one of us so that we could throw it and they would chase after it and bring it back.

This is the store we walk to daily. It is small, maybe 6 different aisle inside and NO JOKE, 4 of the aisle are Vodka! It has not been unusual for us to see someone walking down by the shore drinking, or on the train drinking, or just doing the best they can not to fall over walking....ugh! Much of the trash you see laying around is empty bottles!

The kids also had crayons and color books that we brought for Victoria and Blake. At one point I told Justin that the kids were coloring on everything. He said that was OK with him, thinking I was talking about them coloring on the books and toys they brought. Haha! I said, “No Justin, they are coloring on the orphanage furniture!” We quickly gathered up the crayons as soon as we could! Victoria helped. =) I showed her that we needed to get the crayons together and she started going around to her friends gathering them too! She was actually having a hard time sharing her things. In this setting, as a child you can be holding something and another child sort of watches and then comes in and swipes it away when they think there is a chance. One little guy would lose everything he got his little hands on. Every time this happened he would go over in the corner of the room, throw himself on his stomach and cry loudly…..poor baby! They really are all so sweet and so much in need of love.

Victoria again was happy on my lap. Any time she moved away from me for a second a cute little red head would rush towards me to occupy Victoria’s space on my lap. Victoria did not like this at all! She was not sharing her Mama and would wiggle her way between me and the other girl so that she could get back on my lap. I kind of felt bad…of course my allegiance is to Victoria and I realize the importance of bonding and the importance of favoring her, but also did not want the other child to feel rejected. That was tough, the children just really want attention and love! They are in heaven if someone is holding them and loving on them! The other kids were with us in the gym for an hour or so.
Nicer area of Vladivostok. This area is right by our hotel, but surrounded by the green fence. We are told that government officials live in this area. Also, there is a private school close by, big difference from other areas we have seen.

We won’t see Victoria this weekend but will go again on Monday. I am a little concerned about Monday because the Overstreet’s will be taking Blake back to the hotel with them after the visit and Victoria will not be able to leave with us until Tuesday. I don’t know that Victoria will understand this! I am concerned about her thoughts as she sees us leave and Blake is with us and she is not. We have just all been playing together for the past week or so. Maybe it is too soon for me to worry about it, maybe we won’t even have play time with Bake that day as he might be getting ready for his departure….but surely she will notice him gone. =( I will be sure to write how this all plays out, say a pray for her please!

The orphanage is an hour drive from the hotel in a city called Artem. We drive through the country most of the way. Along the road at various intervals there are wells, with a bucket and all! The people, in one of the villages we pass through, draw water from them. Irina asked our driver to pull over so that we could get some pictures.