It is only 11am here, but today is turning out to be a very good day.
Thanks to some wonderful friends at home, our house will be decorated for Christmas. It sounds so trivial, but coming home to a festive house will mean a lot to us. It is hard to get in the Christmas spirit here. We are not bombarded with the holidays like we are at home. We are doing out best to remember it is in 10 days and we listen to Christmas music often. Especially Sara Groves’ FREE O Holy Night Tour. You can download it here. It is a wonderful mix of classic Christmas carols and her own music.
I am feeling way less sick today. I think I’ve coughed once all morning. I am so glad that I should have my energy up for Friday.
Our driver took us to the outdoor market. It was so much fun! I am glad we declined his offer to help us. Struggling to communicate can be a bit fun at times. We got boots for both kids, which were each $31.25 USD. That was about what we found them for at a store around the corner from us, but that store had few options in their sizes and we like the ones we got. We just wandered around the market for awhile, taking it all in. Lots of clothes for sale. That was most of it, at least in the section we were in. There were also ladies pushing little coffee carts for the vendors to warm up. I can’t imagine being at one of those stands all day.
My mom will be mad… I did not take a single photo of the market. I wanted to wait until we were leaving, in case that was NOT okay with them. I did find this photo, which looks like the same market we went to. But, you have to imagine snow everywhere. A few inches on the ground and people shoveling it out of the way with whatever they had… brooms, dustpans or shovels.
After that, we asked our driver to stop at the grocery store. We wanted to get some gifts, like boxes of chocolate for the orphanage staff. One of the things I wanted to get was a children’s book in Russian for them– just to have as a keepsake. We looked at all of the books at the grocery store, not sure which one to buy or what they were able. But we found a children’s alphabet book with all of the Russian letters. Very cute. We also got all of our major gifts covered. And we got diapers. Basically my whole list from yesterday has been done. A big relief.
We also got a call from Celia’s papa today! They’re here! I really fell in love with Celia while advocating about her on my blog. Meeting her during our visits at the orphanage just confirmed that she is just as special as I thought. Although we have not met them in person yet, Celia’s family seems really wonderful too and I am so excited to get to know them and hear how their first meeting went with Celia. Just for clarification, her name is not really Celia, just like Scarlett Lena was not really Erika, the name we first identified her with. It is just a code name for internet protection.
The reality of Friday, picking Ilya and Lena up forever, is slowly hitting me. Setting out their clothes, packing our bags, it’s all becoming a lot more real.