We’ve made it to Bryansk safe and sound, but I guess we needed a few more tests of our patience before we could get to the end of this adventure. To start things off with a bang, Lara stubbed her toe against the kitchen island while rushing around packing last night. It’s nicely colored, and somewhat swollen. There’s a pretty good chance it’s broken. She is soldiering on like a veteran mom. Hopefully we can get some ice on it over the next couple of days and get her back on her feet.
United also provided their fair share of hiccups today, starting with not providing any ticket agents at the Premier Executive check-in desk. For some reason, we couldn’t check ourselves in at the kiosk, so we had to go wait in another line to speak to the one ticket agent working the counters at DIA yesterday morning. Thanks to that little delay, we had to rush through a McDonalds for breakfast before boarding, without getting an opportunity to stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a couple of gifts we were hoping to bring.
Then there was a mechanical problem with the plane. After trying to fix it unsuccessfully for over an hour, they decided to have us switch planes. That operation, of course, was totally bungled. We ended up standing in line to re-board for 30 more minutes. We finally got underway around 10:15, but for some reason we had to taxi for about 40 minutes before take-off. As a result, when it was time to serve the “buy on board” meals, they didn’t have enough food (since everyone was now hungry), nor the right food options (only a few breakfast bars instead of lunch options).
To make matters worse, our connection ended up being so tight, there was no time to buy lunch at Dulles. We were hoping to be upgraded, but believe it or not, a flight to Moscow in the middle of the week in the middle of September was actually oversold. Luckily, one person in business class didn’t make it, so we were able to get Lara a comfy seat and decent meals on the flight.
When we got to Moscow, Olga called to tell us there were no train tickets to Bryansk until midnight. She suggested that we drive. At first, we were hesitant, but after thinking about it, this seemed our best option. So, four of us (Lara, Olga, the driver, and me) piled into a Honda Civic along with 2 large suitcases, a double stroller, a duffel bag full of donation for the orphanage, and 3 carry-on bags, for the 5.5 hour drive. That’s right, it’s actually faster than the train. We were both so exhausted by this point, we pretty much fell right asleep in the back seat with the stroller in between us and a bag at each of our feet. But at least we made it!
We met a woman named Oksana, who is renting us an apartment for the week. It is a pretty nice 1-bedroom flat on the 10th floor, a couple of miles from the Chernigov where we’ve been staying. It has a queen bed, and a pull-out in the living room. We’ll figure out sleeping arrangements tomorrow when the boys are here.
Speaking of which, the plan is to go get the boys first thing (8:30) in the morning. Then we have to get their passport pictures taken, go to the passport office to file the applications, and run to the bank to transfer some welfare money that Alex received from the state to the orphanage. Then I think our time will be our own. We’re going to have to find a grocery store to stock up for the week. We tried to go to a supermarket just now, but it was closed. It looks like Cliff Bars for breakfast!
We’re going to try to turn in for the night. Hopefully things will settle down enough by tomorrow evening that we’ll be able to get out another post and some pictures, but please be patient. Tomorrow is going to be a pretty big day!