Lost and Found

OK, so I wanted to tell you all about some of the major (and minor) adjustments and observations of our first days in Kyiv, but they are SOOOOO much better with pictures. And the camera paraphernelia has not arrived and/or is not hooked up yet.

So I'll just tell you about our suitcases. (That sounds thrilling, doesn't it. There is a decent story, though...)

We maxed our allowance for luggage - two suitcases per person, fifty pounds each, of the basics needed for being clothed and clean and somewhat fed for the first couple of days. It was something awesome to see, actually.

Anyway, upon arrival in Kyiv, we waited and waited and waited and waited for the baggage carousel to spit out our ten bags. But alas, it only gave us nine. I sat with the children as David retrieved one or two at a time and brought them to us and stacked them around us. (There were no baggage carts to be found...)

So we filed a little claim with Lufthansa for the bag that didn't come and they promised delivery the next day. At this point, I started racking my brain, trying to remember what was in that particular bag and hoping it wasn't totally vital or heartbreaking that I would now never see it again. Because I trust the system here about that much.

The next day, the airline called our friend who had picked us up at the airport and said they would deliver the bag in twenty minutes. At approximately the same time, David was calling their office to find out where the bag was and they told him that it would be after 6:30 p.m. I wasn't going anywhere and indeed stayed home all day, waiting for the delivery tha tcoul dbe in twenty minutes or sometime after 6:30. No one ever came. With a bag or without.

David made a call at about 8 to find out what was going on and was told by the "friendly" woman in the baggage claim office that the bag had been delivered and that the lady to whom the driver delivered was very happy to have it. David explained that it was apparently delivered to a different happy woman than his wife because she was here all day and no one brought the bag to our address.

The lady actually told him that she couldn't help him , because the bag was delivered and signed for, it was no longer her problem. She really did. And I think she really believed what she was saying.

That was when David explained that it was still her problem because it was her job to deliver it to the person it belonged to, not just any person in Kyiv who felt like signing for a bag, that it was the airline who had lost the bag, not us, so until it was in our hands, it was indeed still her problem. He kindly suggested that she find out from the driver exactly where he left the bag and retrieve it from the happy woman who signed for it.

So she gave the driver our phone number and he began calling us. By this time it was nearly ten o'clock. He figured out that he had actually delivered it to our apartment building but to the wrong floor. He told David to go up and knock on the door and see if anyone was home and would give the bag back. David did but no one answered the door for a big American man after 10 p.m., if you can imagine.

So the driver came to the building and himself went up and yelled at the door of the place where he delivered the bag and rang the bell and finally left a note on it, explaining the situation.

Twenty minutes later, after the driver had stopped at our place one more time (ringing the doorbell - again) and left, he called and said that the people upstairs had called him when they read his note (they had been home all the time, but didn't answer the door) and were waiting for David to go up and get the bag.

In the end, the driver seemed to understand that delivering the bag to the wrong people was indeed his problem and was quite helpful (if slightly unorthodox in his methods) and we ended up with all ten of our ten bags.

I'll have to elaborate on customer service some other time, but we laughed a lot about the Lufthansa lady telling us that it was marked delivered and so it wasn't her problem anymore.


Calvin starts kindergarten tomorrow. He couldn't be more excited, so maybe I've done a decent enough job of not betraying the knot in my stomach and the lump in my throat. Or the huge problem I have with the idea of all day kindergarten.

The bus picks him up right in front of our apartment in the morning and will drop him off right there late in the afternoon. I'm a little worried just sending him tomorrow, but I can't drive him myself for his first day since we don't have a car yet. I hope he finds his way and that someone will look out for him and that school will be everything he thinks it will be.


Just A Note...

I've received a few e-mails requesting my support for this great project sponsored by the International Medical Corps and wanted to call your attention to it. It's an easy way make a difference - your vote can help this worthy project get funding to help malnourished children all over the world. Go ahead and click on the link in this post for more info on the project I'm supporting, or view the twenty-five finalist projects by clicking the "get involved" button in my sidebar. Only the top five will receive funding. Voting ends today, so go there now.


I'll be back a little later with some notes on our first days in Kyiv...


Makes Perfect Sense

The internet guy came tonight. We have seven cable connections in this apartment. Actually, maybe even more, if you count the rooms that have more than one apparent connection. Living room, bedrooms, entry hall...

He tried every single one, trying to get the internet set up. He moved furniture and looked in other corners. He went downstairs and upstairs asking our neighbors if they had internet connections. He checked the cables outside. No juice.

Not one connection would work. From room to room he and David went, while I fed the boys and rocked the baby and hoped that it wasn't as bad as I thought. And braced myself to not completely lose it when they said that yes, we have no internet.

I laid in a dark bedroom with the baby until I couldn't hear David and the guy talking anymore and the baby was more or less asleep.

I came out and there was nothing in any room that looked like the internet had moved in. I thought the guy had left already, and with him went my last hope of technological happiness.

And I was not going to cry. Too much.

Then I walked into the kitchen.

There was the internet guy filling out paperwork. And my husband, sitting at the kitchen table across from him - reading my blog!

It would appear that the only functioning internet cable connection of all possible cable conections in our place is in the kitchen.

Behind the refrigerator.

Of course!



That is when the internet is coming to my house. And hopefully by then I will have a computer to utilize the internet at my house. And then I will feel a lot better.

I have photos. I have funny and sarcastic things to say. I have an entire post that maybe only my mission comps Linda and Helen will appreciate but I'll give it to all of you anyway.

Friday. Or soon thereafter.

In the meantime, we've been watching three guys tear off the top story of a burned building right outside our apartment. Veeeeerrrry interesting. Raining or drizzling weather the entire time, steel beams attached to burnt and wobbling walls, one guy sitting on the exact steel beam that he is trying to saw off with a veeerrry little blow torch, smoking a cigarette as he does it, with no mask on, sparks flying everywhere, and the other two guys standing under the same steel beam, smoking cigarettes and, as far as we can tell, just watching.

Cal spends a lot of time watching out the windows, actually. It's almost as good as TV.

Aside from the rain and the work hazard next door, there is a stunning gold and green cathedral right out the kitchen window. (I'll post a picture and it has a Calvin story that goes with it, too...)

But my favorite comment of Calvin was the second daywe were here when he was telling Henry that he's pretty sure there's been a hurricane here lately because here outside it looks just like the news in America that was telling about the hurricane. (Ike was getting a lot of coverage right before we left.) Then Calvin enumerated the damages. It made me laugh. Probably more than it should have.

And then I didn't have the heart to tell him that there has never been a hurricane. Unless you count communism.

I also don't have the heart to tell Henry that there isn't a Target in this hemisphere (he asks every day if we can go there and get some toys).

Friday. Pictures. More stories. I'll be connected to the world again from the comfort of my own living room. Won't that be lovely.


Living on Chocolate Milk

The seven hour time difference has wrought havoc. We're eating breakfast at 2 in the afternoon local time and playing in the living room from 11 p.m. until dawn. The boys are slowly coming around to the difference - I think after last night's 16 hour sleep they are on the right track. But I'm sleeping like I have a newborn - you know, in two hour blocks.

I could do the "expose yourself to sunshine" thing to acclimate. But there would have to be sunshine for that. And it's been raining since we arrived. Buckets. It's cold and gray.

We ventured out to a "super market" yesterday and I wanted to cry. It's not that they don't have stuff, it's just that it is chaos. Chaos. The way they drive their cars in the parking lot, the way they drive their carts in the store, the way they elbow and have absolutely no concept of personal space. Made me a little nuts.

Plus, reading all the labels (most in Ukrainian, which most people don't speak, but they put it on everything to be nationalistic) and trying to decipher what kind of ketchup is the real kind of ketchup made my sleep-deprived head spin. Seriously - they have about eighty kinds of ketchup because apparently any kind of tomato-based sauce is ketchup. I want Harris Teeter.

They do have Nesquik, though. It's thicker grained than the American stuff and it doesn't dissolve, but it makes the boys happy. And I'm using it as a substitute for sunshine and sleep. It's not that effective, but I do what I can.

(I'm on a borrowed computer because we don't have our connection set up at home yet...I have about a million observations and complaints and funny stories to tell, but my computer time is not my own...bear with me...)



Who knew that hotel living, even four star hotel living - could get old? We're at Auntie S's for our last few days and I'm happy to be somewhere a little less transient feeling. Even though we're still living out of suitcases.

I'm busy laundering, packing, chasing, shopping, organizing, saying good-bye to favorite places and people, trying to let my kids play a little, and prepping for the big airplane ride to Kiev on Wednesday. 

(Look what I found, on sale, in all three of my boys' sizes. Yes, they are wearing them to fly overnight. Because I'm their mom and it makes me happy. Every little happiness counts, you know. Plus, it might be fun to conduct an experiment on number of comments: Will more fellow-flyers mention the fact that we have three boys, that the boys have matching pajamas, or that they love our stroller? Perhaps I need a sidebar survey, huh?)

Henry has been ill again so we had to squeeze some doctor visits and bloodwork in last minute. I think it's mostly what you get when you take a kid with a susceptibility to viruses and the inability to not touch every surface in reach to new York City. It's not pretty, but we're just trying to rule out the more serious possibilities before we go live in a country where the hospitals make you sick, if you weren't when you came in.

As you can imagine, blog posting hasn't made the top of my to-do list in the last few days, but I'm not giving it up totally, I promise - just taking a real-life maintenance break. Thanks for checking in with me and I hope to be online more regularly again in a couple weeks.  How does October work for you? 


In the meantime - I'd love a little material for when I'm Code Yellowing again. What do you want to know? Funny, serious, curious, nosey, random, whatever. Give me a question to build a post on. 

I'm also in the market for poetic two-syllable words. Got any?