Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Remembering Moscow - Day 3

On Monday, we discovered that not only does the sun set late, it rises at 5:15! We knew the days would be longer than we were used to, but we were still a little surprised by it all. This was a free day for us because we flew out a day early to get a much cheaper airfare. I slept in a little bit, but Steve slept until about 11:00! Once we got up and going and ate lunch, we took the Metro to Old Arbat Street to do some shopping and browsing. While we got off at the correct Metro station, we went out the worst possible exit. We know which word is exit, but we can't read the road names to make sure we are going out the best exit for where we want to go once we get outside. Therefore, it's like "Where's Waldo?" each time we come out of the station to figure out where we are and where we want to go. I felt like a pioneer a few times when we were like, "OK. The sun's over here, so that means north is here, so we need to walk there." This didn't always work, though. On Monday, we would have had a 5 minute walk to Old Arbat Street if we had gone out the best exit. It took us over an hour to get there because 1) we had to walk farther; and 2) we got turned around and walked in the wrong direction for about 20 minutes (which meant walking 20 minutes back). We got there eventually. Chalk it up to a cultural experience! It was a gorgeous day -- the warmest we had the whole time -- and I was really wishing I'd brought a pair of shorts. Old Arbat Street is lined with restaurants and souvenir shops and there are vendors set up in the middle selling all sorts of Russian souvenirs. The owners were all so nice, helpful, and curious about where we are from. However, none of them know about Missouri. They all know New York, Washington, and L.A. We just tell them to look at a U.S. map and point to the middle.

We started walking on the east end of the street and ended on the west end where Hard Rock Cafe is located. Our dinner there consisted of 2 sandwiches and 2 sodas, and came to $45!! Right now Moscow is the most expensive city in the world due to high inflation and a weak dollar.
After returning to our apartment, we got ready for our first visit with Irina. We were very nervous because her referral picture was a little blurry, so we had a hard time looking for signs of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which is very prevalent in Russia. One doctor we asked said she looked good, and another one said that she saw some classic signs of FAS and would already place her as a high risk adoption. We had already committed to the trip when we received this news, so we just put our trust in God that all would work out according to His plan. The problem was, for instance, you couldn't see a philtrum (the vertical crease between the nose and upper lip) at all in the picture. This is a classic sign of FAS, but was it really not there or could we just not see it because the picture was blurry? We made our list of questions for the doctor and the orphanage director, said some prayers, and went to bed (complete with eye masks and ear plugs).

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