Monday, February 11, 2008

The Great Diaper Caper

Prevet everyone,

We hope you had a good weekend.

Today, when we handed Roman back to his caregivers we knew that it would be the last time we would have to leave him at the baby home! Tomorrow, we officially become his parents and bring him into our family forever! One of his caretakers told us that he is the most active child in the baby home. OH BOY!!!! Time toget the running shoes out. But he is a wonderfully affectionate little guy, and we already love him very much.

We have been extremely busy buying diapers for Roman's baby home (we have included a photo of what $1000 worth of diapers looks like.) We bought Huggies, Pampers, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese diapers (we guess the Russians don’t make their own). We are just glad we don’t have to change all of them at once!

Since we can’t visit Roman on the weekends, we decided to do some exploring. On Saturday, we hired an interpreter and driver for some more sight seeing,a long with our friend Heather (who is also adopting through WACAP). First stop was a monument dedicated to the originators of the Cyrillic language, St Cyril and Methodious. It is located at the highest point in Vladivostok and has one of the best views of the city and harbor. Next, we stopped at a beautiful arch, built for the Tsar in 1912. There is a children’s puppet theatre nearby that we hope Roman will enjoy. Just down from the arch is a World War I era submarine converted into a museum. After clambering around inside, we can honestly say, we’re glad we never had to live in one of those things!

As we were exiting the submarine there was a vendor selling some Soviet era memorabilia. We purchased some for Roman. (Lenin is starting to feel like an old friend, or should we say Comrade?…there are statues of him everywhere). Later, we visited a fortress with a huge array of weapons on display… Kalashnikovs, Tank busters, RPG’s, Antiaircraft guns, a cruise missile and a Surface to Air Missile. It is scary to think that at one poin tthose missiles were pointed at us!

Sunday, we were more adventurous and took the local train into Vlad ourselves. The rail track runs right along the bay, and we were able to see hundreds of people out on the ice., fishing, driving and ice surfing (similar to wind surfing). The train was no frills and very dirty - Helen says it reminded her of old British Rail. By the way, don’t ever go to the bathroom in a Russian train, in fact never go to a public restroom anywhere in Russia. Hmmmm … maybe those diapers aren’t such a bad idea….!! If you do have to go, you’ll need 10 rubles per visit (about 40 cents). Oh, and bring toilet paper too. That costs extra. We just carry an extra roll with us. And it wouldn’t hurt to bring a seat.

Once in Vlad, we went to a cafĂ© called Studio Coffee. We couldn’t understand a word of the menu but after pretending to study it carefully for ten minutes (as if we were having trouble deciding) we said“ cappuccino pazulsta (please)” and “mocha pazulsta.”That seemed to work and the coffee was fantastic. Better than some of the Seattle coffee shops. After that we walked around the downtown area and had a nice relaxing day, although it was bloody freezing. We rode the train back to our hotel without any problems, although people often tried to talk to us in Russian, and we just smiled politely (apparently we look quite Russian, except when Rich is wearing his Green Bay Packers hat).

We have now moved from our small hotel room to a suite. The hotel very kindly let us move early so that we could get ready for Roman’s arrival tomorrow.

We miss you all and thank you for your kind wishes, advice, and emails.

Helen, Rich and Roman.

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