|Yes, it's finally time!!!|
We just got word this afternoon that our court has ruled that we may pick up our decrees on Monday or Tuesday!!! We knew the judges were going to meet today in our courthouse. They told us the meeting was to set a new hearing for our case for sometime next week. But I guess they decided that there was no point to set a new hearing because they already knew they were going to have to overrule their original decision to not give us our decrees two weeks ago. Hallelujah!!!!
As I'm sure you can imagine, we are breathing huge sighs of relief, excitement, and disbelief! It was starting to feel like we would be here forever, even though we've kept busy and knew we would eventually get home.
And to cap it all off, tomorrow I finally get to go visit my boy for the last time!!! No more visits. Next time I will come with his new clothes in hand; a little snowsuit, mittens, hat and boots. Next time I will tell him, "let's go, little man!" and we'll climb into the car together forever. It's a day I have imagined a thousand times over in the past year. Imagining that day has gotten me through the hard days. And now it is nearly here! Oh the joy!
I can't wait to see all my family and friends back home. I can't wait to squeeze my kids so tightly. But honestly, a part of me will always be in Russia. I have come to love this place and its people. We have only encountered kindness by the people we have met. We have had a few strange glances thrown our way, but I'm sure there was a good reason for it! I will always teach Gabe to be proud of being my little Russian son! One day I hope to bring my whole family back here, and show them all of the things I have been so fortunate to see, and introduce them to the wonderful Russian people. There is good everywhere in the world, no matter what is going on in politics, no matter what one country says the other is doing wrong, there is always good. I hope my children have seen this lesson through this experience. I look forward to sharing with them all that I have learned during my time here.
I know that I have said it before, but I want to say thank you to all of you who have checked in here and sent us messages of hope and love. I am sure that without you, this journey would have been much, much more difficult. You have lifted us up when things seemed so dark, encouraged us to hang in there when it seemed this desire would never be granted. Thank you.
I will update as soon as I know when we'll be heading out of Moscow!
In the mean time, how about an update on what we've been up to lately?
On Tuesday Jeana got to go visit her little girl, so we rode the Metro into town and I walked around a mall while she had her visit.
When she got back, we headed back over to the GUM mall for lunch. This time we decided to try the more authentic food.
|My cabbage salad (very yummy!) and a mushroom-stuffed roll (not my favorite, but I'm not a mushroom fan. No, I didn't know it would be stuffed with mushrooms when I bought it :-)|
Jeana got a beet salad (yummy!) and some pasta with a sour cream sauce and a chicken cutlet.
Then we headed out to look around and looked in a few stores. We went in to the Bosco store, which is the Olympic sponsor for the official apparel of the athletes for the Sochi games in 2014. Want to guess how much the parkas were? $1,200.00 to start with!!!! We saw some knock-off's at the Ismylovo market, so we'll have to compare prices when we go there next.
|I never get tired of taking photos of the GUM, it is beautiful|
We walked around a bit more, and I found a Russian hat for Gabe! They're clearancing out all their winter apparel, so I was able to pick it up for $10.00! I think it's pretty cute, and I can't wait to try it on him tomorrow.
While we were waiting in the Metro for the next train home, I noticed that a woman stopped to give a quick rub of the nose and leg of this dog statue. At first I thought it was a fluke, but then sure enough, more and more people were stopping for a quick second to do it! I wondered what was up, so I asked Sally about it and she said that many Russians are superstitious, so they do things like this for good luck!
|The man in the center of the photo is rubbing the dog's nose.|
|Jeana couldn't miss out on some good luck! And check out how cute she looks in the hat Julia gave her!|
|Jeana, looking mighty suspicious.|
We have also ventured out to a huge supermarket with Sally a couple of times. Last night I picked up this gem. This is delicious Russian chocolate, and they make several varieties: milk, dark, with almond, cinnamon, and other flavors. My stepdad and I call it our heart medicine, and we must have a little each day :-)
|Don't you love the design stamped in it? So pretty.|
|Walking to the community center. There is about four feet of snow here (at least). I keep thinking about how much fun my kids would be having if they were with me, making tunnels in the snow and snow forts and such.|
|Sally getting ready to throw a snowball. Too bad the snow was too powdery to do it! Ah ha ha ha! Maybe next time, Sally!|
|Check out that hair action on Jeana! She really knows how to throw the ball!|
We were pretty tired by the end of our game, and the other couple had already left. I had put my regular shoes back on, so Jeana was bowling for me. We only had one minute left until our time was up and our lane would automatically shut down. So Jeana gets up, grabs the ball in her left hand, does this hop-skip-and-jump and lobs the ball down the lane, and with only seconds to spare.....bowls a strike! What a funny way to end the day!
Today we started out by joining Sally and her neighbor Peggy at a big food market. For my kids, imagine the market on Aladin, where Jasmine walks the streets and all the vendors vy for her attention and want her to buy something from them. It was the same here. Each vendor had their produce or meat set up, and as soon as you approached they'd shout out "pozhaluysta" (please!), asking what we'd like. There was every kind of produce you could imagine, and many meats that I couldn't stomach very well. My tummy has been a bit more sensitive here.
|Cheeses and dairy|
|More cheeses, with the fruit beginning in the back.|
|A neat mushroom and some potatoes.|
|A whole selection of dried fruits. There were probably ten varieties of dried apricots on the top there, with all kinds of nuts too.|
|This was only about half the varieties of honey available. Everything from almost white, to the darkest of dark. So pretty!|
After the produce market we went to another mall to a regular grocery store ( many of the malls here have grocery stores in them! Another awesome idea!) Jeana and I told Sally we would make dinner tonight, so we went super fancy and made a spaghetti dinner (ha ha). We went to the bakery to find some crusty bread to have with dinner, and they had all of these beautiful breads on display.
|Pretty amazing! I have noticed presentation is a large part of Russian food.|
|A fancy new apartment building we passed on our way home.|
On our way home we passed fisherman on the frozen river, and people paragliding on their snowboards.
|Pulled this photo from the internet so you could get the idea-it looked just like this.|
Finally after all of this shopping we headed back to Sally's to make dinner. We had all stayed up late last night watching movies, so Jeana and I laid down for a wonderful nap when we returned. We have been spoiled by Sally so much! Soon enough we will be back to reality of being moms to small children and naps will be a thing of the past!
|Jeana is a woman of many talents. Here, she is displaying her grape throwing-and-catching-in-her-mouth abilities. This woman is amazing, I tell you :-)|
|And look at that graceful execution of said grape-catching.|
Seriously, though, we have had quite the adventures here. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that I have only shared a part of on this blog. My son's story is miraculous, and I look forward to telling him how I was led to him and the many mountains that were moved in the process. As Sally would say, "life is good."