We had a good visit today with little one. It's raining so we weren't able to go outside. The "visiting room" is basically a small area where staff keep coats, personal belongings, etc. There is a couch on one side of the room and a chair and writing desk on the opposite wall with about 2 feet of floor space in between. There isn't much room for play. It is located between a hallway and a room that is used by the orphanage staff for meetings/classes so there is a lot of distraction for little one as her familiar "mamas" (caregivers) go in/out. Today, she spent most of the time drawing with her magic markers and putting caps on/off the markers. She likes to see how things go together and come apart so I'm thinking some Duplo blocks may be a good toy for her. We were there for about an hour and it went so quickly! Little one is not ticklish, but she was lying on the couch and I was leaning over her kind of shaking my hair at her - she thought that was SO fun. Loved hearing her giggle and laugh! Today was the first day that when we told her it was time to go back to her groupa, she shook her head "no." Now, before you get excited - she was eating a slice of "yablaka" (apple) that we had brought for her and I think she was worried about having to share with the other kids. ;-) When we got upstairs to her room, she ran to join the other kids and watch tv before lunch. Once that happens, mama and daddy are old news - lol!! But, all in all - it was a nice visit. Afterwards, we got some groceries and came home. The weather just isn't nice enough to be out doing anything. So, had a nap and now a lazy afternoon which got me thinking...
We've been here in Ukraine for 14 days now. As I read the blogs of others who have travelled this road before us, there were things I didn't understand until now.
#1 Being homesick - I was sure that if I was with our girl in her country, that would be enough. And don't get me wrong, I thank God that I am here, that we can visit her every day, get to know her, help her learn to trust us. But, I do miss home - and things I take for granted when I am there. I miss our cozy house, being able to cuddle up next to my sweetie on the couch or in bed at night (these twin beds just aren't the same), cooking in my own kitchen (complete with oven, utensils, ingredients I understand), the television shows I enjoy watching, dinner with friends, going to a movie.
#2 Losing track of days - I had heard people make reference to the movie Groundhog Day and there's some truth to that. It's easy to forget what day it is. Our routine is different, we aren't bound by work schedules, meetings, etc. - nothing to identify what day of the week it is. We get up, have breakfast, go to the orphanage, then either go exploring, or come home for a lazy afternoon. Dinner and off to bed. Wake up and start a new day.
#3 Culture Shock - I have always considered myself an enthusiastic traveler. I haven't traveled extensively, by any means. But, other than a fun trip to Mexico a few years ago, my trips have been limited to places where English is spoken. I'm thinking that I may not be as adventurous as I thought. I didn't realize how much I would be affected by not being able to understand the language, read the written language, or understand societal norms. I may have said this before, but I have a deeper appreciation for what immigrants and refuges who come to the US must experience - and I'm not even trying to look for housing, find a job, etc.
The above comments are NOT meant as complaints - just my personal observations and feelings. Like other times in my life, God is using these moments to make an impression on me. He is reminding me to rely on Him instead of being self-reliant. He is changing me and working in my heart - no, you may not see any outward change when I come home. But, it is there.