And an emergency run to get more last minute paperwork.
I like to look on the bright side of this.
It used to be only the mother could guilt her children with phrases like, "Do you realize I had to suffer through 18 hours of painfilled labor to have you, so that you could treat me like this?"
But I, the husband, will be able to guilt my children with, "Do you realize that I had to suffer through 5 months of beaurocratic h@#$ to get you, so that you could treat me like this?"
Still waiting to hear about our last medical pages to be apostilled, and two more forms I have to pick up.
Then we have to run home, grab my dog, and take him to the kennel.
And finish packing.
Meanwhile I am trying hard on concentrating on work and wasting what's left of the day.
Nervous? No. My body just decided that the best way to avoid jet lag tomorrow and Saturday, is to avoid sleeping last night, and eating today.
Not nerves at all.
While I'll post a bit now and then today, I don't know if I'll have a connection once I get to Russia. So, if I don't post until I get back, have fun all.
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We woke up at 5:30am, finished packing, dressing, arranging all the details. The previous night I left work early, after getting their late and taking a long lunch to take care of paperwork. The boss is OK with it, since I couldn't get much work done anyway. He just wants to make sure I write in if I get locked away in a Russian gulag or anything that will keep me away past next monday.
We drove into my work, which is near the airport, and made sure we had everything about 18 times.
There a friend of ours met us and drove us to the airport. This 5 mile trip was the most dangerous part of the journey. Greg is not what we would call a safe driver.
We got there in plenty of time, waited for the plane. We finished making photo albums of all of our family for the new kids. Using my trusty translater we wrote out things like "home" and "doggy" in Russian. No translator for Great Grandma. ratz.
First flight, to Detroit, ok. We were in the second to last row. Thanks to the system they used to serve drinks, I was the very last person to be served.
Got off plane, crossed entire airport to our next flight, only to be told that due to a mechanical problem on the plane at the gate, we had to go all the way back to a gate near where we got off the plane.
Had lunch at an airport A&W. My wife had never been to an A&W. And she claims to be a mid-westerner.
Second flight went ok. We were near the back again.
Got lost trying to find the Aeroflot check in in NYC. It is in Terminal 3. We arrived in Terminal 4. There is no easy walkway between the two, and thanks to security additions, the enterance is in the back, down a ramp where vehicles zoom by.
I wouldn't say it was difficult, but 2 people asked us for directions, and one was a police officer.
We met up with a nother woman going to Astrakhan for an adoption. Being a single mother to be, she brought a friend of the family with her, an older woman who has a back problem. (The problem just popped up). THey have all the details about her new son. #$@#$@#$@#$@.
Boarded the Aeroflot. Back of the plane, very last row. The last few luggage compartments on most planes is where the cabin crew stores their stuff. Sure enough, no room for our two bags, which were a bit too big to fit under the seat. The steward reached up and threw all their stuff into the back of the plane and made room. The folks near us had little luggage, but tossed whole armloads of coats and clothes into the bins as well.
I decided I was going to sleep for the entire 9 hour flight.
Then they brought me fairly good food, free slippers and stuff, and started playing a movie--The Last Samuria.
That is a real good movie. Unfortunately we were in the last row of the plane. I couldn't read the subtitles. Plus my headset was only half working.
The plane left at 8. I probably finished all the food and movie and tried to sleep aroun 11.
Three hours before we land they woke us up with breakfast and turbulence.
I looked down and saw icebergs and frozen water.
They were playing a russian movie. I ignored it.
We came in for a landing and I noticed all the bright houses below. Not brightly lit, but lots of houses with bright blue, or green, or red roofs. There were long bright fences of the same colors. IT was all very up-looking. Then I looked and saw snow in the trees and around spots on the ground.
We landed with a bump, as if we blew a tire, or missed the middle of the runway, or landed on one tire and skidded till the next one landed. I don't know what it was except guaranteed to wake us all up.
The passengers applauded when we safely stopped.
Then through immigration. I have read horror stories about russian immigration and customs. I was prepared for the worst.
Instead, while waiting in line Sansung had a large display up where they showed a fashion reveiw on vidoe. This soft-core porn helped the time pass quickly for me.
They changed Customs. Before you had to declare everypenny you brought into the country as they searched each peice of luggage for contraband and valuables.
Now, if you don't bring in $6000 worth of money, you just get your stuff exrayed. And as I was waiting with our bags, a lady in a uniform motioned me to go around, she opened up a gate, and we went through without even that much of a search.
OUr representative from CHI was waiting for us and we were rushed off to the Marriott.
Then came the bad news. One of our forms that was a last minute addition, needed to be translated. She asked it from us. We went to our luggage to find it.
It wasn't in two of our bags, and we had locked the third one.
Cindy said, "Our dossier is in the third bag, right?" Our dossier is all the papers we need to adopt.
I said, "I don't know, you packed it."
She said, "I don't remember. Quick. Open it."
My keys were missing.
I had taken them out of my pocket for the first metal detector, and I don't know where they ended up. They might be at the lost & found in stl. They might have fallen out of my coat pocket at any time after that.
We asked the hotel to cut the tab on the bag that would let us open it.
Cindy was in a panic. Without the dossier, this whole trip is a waste. If it is sitting on our table at home she would never forgive herself.
I rushed the bag up to our room.
I unzipped it.
There was our dossier, right on top.
I got a great hug out of that.
We then discovered our free internet access. I collapsed for a few while Cindy ran down here to use it. Some guy was on it, and taking his time. Cindy started talking to him, in order to hurry him up.
He is with CHI, adopting from another region.
He lives in PEoria Il, but grew up in the same town that she did.
They went to High School together, him one year behind her.
They both remember the same people, including my wife's best friend other than me.
Later we all had dinner, where we discovered that Stholi Vodka, the good stuff, is made in Peoria IL, then shipped to Russia where it gets a Russian lable, before being shipped back to the US for sale.