‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Friday, September 17, 2010

So Much to Share, Don't Know Where To Start

I won't be very articulate, given the level of jet-lag I'm experiencing, but there is so much to remember about the past two days and I don't want to forget! At this moment, the sun is shining and it is a balmy 50 degrees...not bad. We just got back to the "Gustinitza" (small private hotel) from our first food shopping expedition. Although this is my sixth trip to the region, I am still surprised by the differences in so many things. Case in point: the supermarket.

We are staying just a block away from the largest supermarket in Kemerovo. It is the size of your average 7/11 plus half. There are no less than three canned food aisles, but the fresh fruit/veggie area is not even a quarter of one aisle. Basically, you choose from whatever is in season. Today there were green apples, a few red apples, 3 pears in bad shape, grapes, 6 sad looking oranges with rot,brown bananas,  pomegranates, onions, cabbage and potatoes. That is all.  no greens at all. I was ready to buy a bag of broccoli or spinach and eat it raw, but there was none. But if you are a meat-eater, you might find Russia a paradise! The meat counter had no less than 12 different types of salami, loads of fish, and a few pieces of chicken.

A full third of the store is beer and vodka, but I didn't even venture in that part. Nastia forced Anya to buy a toothbrush, like a good sister, and we all got some chocolate because, well, I need it for sanity's sake!

We had a very rough morning. We spent the afternoon trying to apply for both my extended visa and Nastia's new passport. Svetlana had her work cut out for her. We were sent to no less than three different buildings before we were allowed to see someone. That person had a permanent scowl and did not seem happy to have us as an interruption. She was adamant that I would not be able to extend my month-long visa, even though the Russian consulate assured me I could. So, we went to renew Nastia's passport, and that is when things got scary. Nastia ended up hysterical, sobbing in the lobby of the passport office. I don't blame her. The way the woman worded things was pretty scary for Nast. When Svetlana explained our situation and handed over Nastia's passport, the woman grew angry and said " This passport is expired." Svetlana AGAIN explained our whole situation and pointed out the special visa, etc. Then the woman said, "well, this girl simply does not exist to us. She has no identity and I cannot help you." This is when Nastia lost it. I left to  comfort her while Svetlana continued to play the game with the passport office.

Right now things are up in the air, but I have a great peace about this and am not worried. My only job is to convince my terrified daughter that she will not be 'stranded' here. I am writing the US embassy tonight for their help, and I know all will be well. I have the card of the Consulate agent who assisted us, so I know whom to contact in NY if needed. He assured us I could get the extended visa or that Nastia's passport could be expedited. I'm being told now that I must fly out of the  country on October 14th and renew my visa in a neighboring country with a Russian embassy. Nothing is easy over her, but I have great faith that God walks beside us in all things here. I am not scared, only sad for my daughter.

Anya, on the other hand, is doing great! Still so happy to be with us, and no signs of her coming down from Cloud Nine anytime soon. I'll try to post photos soon!


  1. So glad you arrived safely. What a mess with the whole passport thing. After adopting from Russia, I found Ukraine to be so much easier-- hint, hint, try and go there if you have to in a neighboring country.

  2. I believe she's planning on doing that anyway, but hopefully this won't be part of the reason.

  3. Thanks for all your posts Keri! This is great getting the day by day - even moment by moment updates. Great to hear that you got there and had such a fabulous re-union too!


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