Category Archives: Adoption

Pirohiv Of Pies

We slept in this morning. I’m not sure what time my mom got up, but I finally got up sometime after 10. I think Lyuda was out until nearly 1! Impressive.

We moved apartments yesterday, did I mention that in my post? We were staying on the Andreevsky Descent, which was a great location, but the apartment was booked for the weekend. Instead, we moved to a little street off of Kreschatyk. Also a great location.

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The entrance to our previous apartment.

For lunch, we went to the food court instead of the Globus mall, again. This is a great place when we need something quick and we don’t all have to agree on one spot.

I planned a big adventure for the day, to Pirohiv Open Air Museum. Pirohiv literally translates to “of pies”, hence the title. It’s unclear why it has that name, but I sort of like it.

Pirohiv was one of my more ambitious excursions. We first needed to take the metro, which I have mastered.
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However, next, we had to take the trolleybus. A new challenge.

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For anyone who wants to head here, you want to take the blue metro line south towards Teremky. Get off at Ipodrom. Cross the street, and find the trolley bus stop. Get on trolleybus #11. Take it to the last stop, Музей народної архітектури. Cross under the road, and start heading south. You will see where the path goes to the left, and then you’ll see a wooden sign saying “Музей”. You walk on the sidewalk for probably three quarters of a mile, maybe a bit less and then you’ll see the entrance.

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After getting off the trolleybus and crossing under the street, you can also look for this big sign and follow the direction of it.

The only confusing part is paying for the trolleybus. No one asked for money, and no one else paid on the way there. But on the way back, we had to pay 1UAH (about four cents) each.

This park is gigantic. We were ready to start walking, but then we saw that they had bikes for rent. Despite the awareness that this park was quite hilly, we went for the bikes. They cost 60UAH per hour to rent, so just over $2 per hour.

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Those are giant pysanky, Ukrainian painted eggs.

This park is full of houses and other structures that were brought from all over Ukraine. All different types of unique Ukrainian architecture.

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On the bottom right of this photo, a little girl on rollerblades. She was maybe 5 or 6 and had some impressive skills.
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As Lyuda and I road side by side, a man took our photo, and he said “wonderful Ukrainian girls!” in English. As I road past, I yelled “I’m not Ukrainian!” It took him a minute, and then I heard him say, “oh.”

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So much of the park looks like a fairy tale. I would love to bring my kids here and take all sorts of photos.

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There are people dressed in costume.
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I think that bees are living in the roof of this house. See how the bottom is lighter than the top? And there were bees everywhere.
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These round things are bee hives, and one of these buildings is an apiary.
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Beautiful, woven fence… there was woven everything, including exterior walls.

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I love how colorful some of the homes are.
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This is one room inside of the blue home, pictured above.
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A garden with tulips in the front yard.
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It was fun, and exhausting. Between the bikes and the hills, my legs felt pretty disrespected! But, we survived. Today was over seven and half miles of walking, plus an hour and a half of bike riding. Whew. This park could be a whole day adventure, but you definitely need to be in good shape for it!

For dinner we headed to one of Oksana’s suggestions, Milk Bar. They have American food, like milkshakes and melt sandwiches, and french toast for breakfast! Our dinner was good, but not quite as amazing as the Very Well Cafe that all 3 of us unanimously love.

Cher…

Today, we went to visit Lyuda’s older sister. We met her in Cherkassy. Before these past couple of trips, I could never keep Cherkassy, Chernivtsi, and Chernihiv straight. They are each their own city and oblast (like a state). However, I’ve visited them all for different reasons in the past couple of months, so now I know about them all.

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It was a super, wet rainy day.

We went to the mall and went to a sushi restaurant. Only Oksana can convince 3 people who’ve never had sushi before to go to a sushi restaurant. She was the rockstar of this trip, translating for all of us and breaking the ice between us.

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We just sat and talked. Her sister has the sweetest baby boy (making her AUNT Lyuda), and he was our entertainment.
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After we finished lunch, we went to take some photos of Lyuda and her sister. Sweet baby fell asleep in the car on the way. We asked our driver if he could stay in the car with him while we took photos, and our driver didn’t even hesitate to say yes. Our driver constantly goes above and beyond!

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It was a brief visit, but definitely worth it for everyone involved.

Rainy, rainy Ukrainian road. This is a typical village road.
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Millionaire Ghost Town

We had a lazy morning, and then had lunch with our facilitators. We went to Katyusha restaurant, the chain with the Soviet/days-gone-by theme. It was a good conversation and a good meal. This is only the second time we’ve actually met with our lead facilitator (typical for any of the facilitation teams we’ve worked with), so we generally caught up. And while this is only the second time we’ve actually met, she is regularly in touch with us via phone and email.

After lunch, we had to go get Lyuda’s TB test checked. She clearly had a reaction, so much so that I told our facilitation team yesterday, asking how concerned I should be. Oksana told me it was very common. Reed has the BCG vaccine, which can cause a false positive with the skin test, and therefore, he needs to get a blood TB test instead. I was hoping this would be the case with Lyuda– that it was simply a false positive.

Lyuda was very concerned about this test, and the growing spot on her arm. Her reading was positive, so they sent us on for a chest x-ray. After a little while of waiting, we were informed that all was normal, she had passed. Phew.

For dinner, we decided to go back to Gastrorock on Vozdvyzhenka Street, aka the “Millionaire Ghost Town”.

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After dinner, we visited the whimsical sculpture alley, which is near the SDA and St. Andrew’s church. It’s definitely worth a visit, especially if you have kids with you.

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Tomorrow, we are taking a special trip to say goodbye to more of Lyuda’s family. We don’t have any adoption business to attend to. We are done until we can pick up Lyuda’s passport, hopefully Monday.

Chernobyl

This morning, we visited the Embassy. The embassy is giant, surrounded by a huge fence, with tons of security. How American. Our actual visit was easy, the intake of documents. We will go back next week for the interview, once we have her passport.

It was a rainy day, so once we were done at the embassy, we had some downtime until we finally ventured out for lunch. We checked out Oliva, an Italian restaurant. It was really top notch in service and food.

I wanted to go to the Chernobyl Museum.
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I don’t know what I expected, but I don’t think I imagined that the sadness would be so palpable.
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The loss of life, homes, and the ripple effect that is still occurring.
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The children in these photos are all my age, born shortly after the disaster. Their parents either lived near Chernobyl, or helped with cleaning it up. They are 7x more likely to have chromosomal abnormalities than their older siblings.
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This gateway from a church which was burned down. It symbolizes the gateway between heaven and hell.
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In black with white text, sign that would indicate that you’re leaving Chernobyl.

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Vehicles from Chernobyl.
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I can’t entirely wrap my brain around the extent of this tragedy. Frankly, I’m still trying to process what I saw. If you’d like to read more about how children are still affected, take a look at Chernobyl Children’s Fund.

The rest of our evening was low-key. We had eaten lunch late, so we decided to go to Lyiv Chocolate Factory for dessert, instead of dinner.

I got chocolate Spartak cake.
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Lyuda got vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. And my mom got blueberries and cream.
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It’s amazing we’ve only gone here once when it’s right next to our apartment.
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Tomorrow, the only thing on the agenda is to go back and have Lyuda’s TB test read.

The Doctor

The main thing on the agenda for today was Lyuda’s medical exam. Olya was meeting us, and together, we would take the metro. The metro was jam packed this morning, but fortunately we only needed to be on it for a few stops.

We visited a different medical center than the one we took Reed and Lena to. This one was fairly new, but smaller than the other. When we walked in, I pointed out a sign to my mom, in English, Ukrainian and Russian. The English stated: adoption cases take priority, thank you for understanding. I joked that it probably said something completely different in the other languages. 🙂 5 hours later, she suggested that I was right!

The place was hot, and jam packed with people of all ages. There was a running loop of video showing life in Canada, the US, Australia and the UK. We laughed a lot about how different the clip, showing beautiful, touristy areas of the Pacific Northwest, is from real life. Yes, we all drive RVs and spend our days fishing and walking the beaches. Best of all, this video was in French… not the Canadian part, just the American part. Any idea why? Me either.

Lyuda had to get her height, weight, an eye exam, and a brief exam for the doctor. We had a couple of hours of free time. I suggested that we grab lunch. We walked down to Kreschatyk and found a different Ukrainian cafeteria. It was not Puzata Hata, and just so-so. I think I need to make Lyuda go to Puzata Hata at least once more in Ukraine, and in exchange, I’ll take her to McDonalds in the US. We’ll tolerate our fast food dislikes for each other?

We then headed back to the clinic, where Lyuda got her poke for the TB test. Much more time spent waiting than actually with doctors and nurses, but it always seems to be.

Finally, freedom. We headed on the metro back, where I told Olya that we could make it back by ourselves. I don’t think she believed me, as she hesitantly agreed to leave us and told Lyuda which stop to get off at. Maybe I shouldn’t tell her about our Sunday adventures? The metro is very simple in comparison to American cities.

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from our apartment building

We returned to our apartment, set our stuff down, and headed out again. We wanted to walk down the Andriyivsky descent and check out the souvenir booths.

Found at the top of the Andriyivsky descent. My curiosity won, and Google told me a bit about this about the mural. No real explanation of why this particular scene, but a bit more info. The buildings on the right, my mom mentioned the contrast between the new and old. Lyuda said that the new building belonged in Chicago. Thoughts, Amanda J?
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For dinner, we went to the 3B cafe– beer, beef and burgers. If you know me, you are aware that those are not really three of my favorite things.  Lyuda got the double beef burger, the most American of us… I got the vegan burger, which turned out to be a small piece of eggplant, a mushroom and a pepper on a bun.

In a funny anecdote, after we went to apply for Lyuda’s passport on Monday, we stopped for lunch. I wanted a Caesar salad and I requested it “bez meyasom”, without meat. The waiter gave me the most confused look, and I looked to Oksana, wondering how horrible my pronunciation had just been. Until the waiter replied… bez meyasom? No meat? No bacon? No chicken? He had understood me just fine, but was shocked that I didn’t want meat. Oksana later pointed out the chalkboard on the wall, which read, “Any vegetarian meal is tastier with meat”.

Cynthia, thanks for the suggestion on Cafe Imbir on my recent post. We haven’t checked it out yet, but I hope to go this weekend!

We walked back to find a piano in the middle of the park, where they were playing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”

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One more little thing to share tonight, I need to brag about Lyuda and her language skills. Despite my Ukrainian lessons, often people don’t understand me, or they speak in Russian, or any number of scenarios… she is now at the point where she will jump in and translate. She will clarify our dinner order, ask where something is in a store, and she even got a “sale” for us today from a street artist. She is getting much bolder with her English and translation skills, out of necessity and desire to help us. ❤
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