After 3 flights and 2 of them being exit row (horray!) I have made it to Russia once again. Who knew that Minnesota was on the way to Russia...but it was and after a brief stop in the Big Apple I made it to Moscow (even after the flight left an hour late we made it 1/2 hour early).
Upon arrival at the "Gypsy Flat" (Marina's, the director of the Russian sides flat) I took a nap and a shower before getting on the overnight 15 hour (longer this time) train ride to the Chuvashia region. Then I had a short stay (a few hours) at Luda's (the homestay in the region where we had court the first trip) before her son Sergie took me on the 1.5 hour trip to the orphanage to pick up Zack.
Uppon arrival there, I met up with the orphanage director to take care of some paper work, ate a mostly delicous meal (had to force myself to choke down a mysterious red substance (beets perhaps?)) and then after about 5-10 minutes of goodbuys between Zack and his friends it was departure time once again! Then the reverse trip back to Chubucksary (however you spell it) and a few more death defying, pothole the size of a bus' sidesteping at 80-150 kph we were back at Luda's flat.
Also at Luda's flat was Amy and Julia (pronounced Ulia) a mother daughter combo from Indiana (soon for Julia anyway). Amy and her husband Matt went through court with us and are adopting Julia (13) and her 11 year old brother (whom before court they knew existed but were told he was not availible for adoption).
We hung out there for about a 1/2 hour before it was time to head out on the train once again (back to Moscow if you have not kept up to this point :) ). We had a number of stops (ranging from 3 minutes to 1 hour), one of which I played a 1/2 hour long game of tag with a pair of 13 year olds...thus learning that I can outrun both of them...but they have not complained about any sore muscles from the game (me thinks I am getting old). After staying up untill 2 am talking to the other people traveling with us about adoption and other things, I slept for a few hours before our 6:20 am arrival in Moscow.
Then it was off to the "Gypsy Flat" for a quick shower (2 days without...felt GREAT) and some breakfast. We (Zack, Amy, Julia and myself) were off to the kids medicals. That went well and the doctor (Boris) spoke excellent english and was great with the kids. The rest of the day was spent napping for a few hours, going for a walk to some pollution filled pond in a "park" filled with trash to "feed" the ducks (they apparently were full as they did not eat our bread). We saw lots of Moscow "nature"...a few men passed out laying in the dirt...a mentally challenged and apparently homeless man eying our bread (upon offering our bread to him he said nyet (no) and asked for a cigarette)...drug paraphenalia...oh, and pleanty of empty bottles of booze (quite empty as there was a man going aroung and checking them all)! All this while families were out and about with pets and children enjoying the beautiful 60 degree weather. The two 13 year olds also went rollerblading with "Little Fox" (4 years old and speak decent english), Marina's niece who lives with her (along with her parents, as mentioned above) as Amy and I watched as they nearly fell MANY times...apparently there was not a whole lot of rollerblading at their orphanages...who woulda thunk?!
Well, time for bed now...Good night!