Yes, we’ve arrived in Moscow. The train ride went pretty well. The boys were pretty groggy when we woke them up to go the station, but other than a discomfort to waking up with different people in the apartment, there were no signs of fear from either of them. Evan was thrilled to see a real live “poezd” (train), and actually several at once. We crammed into our little apartment, did the requisite playing around with every knob, button, switch, and loose piece of cloth in the room, and then decided to test out the Benadryl. Whether it was that or exhaustion finally catching up with them, both boys crashed about 1am. Mom and Dad had it a little rougher. Our 4 person compartment has 2 sets of bunks. We obviously couldn’t leave the boys in the upper bunk, and we didn’t feel safe being up high while they were down below. So, we just tried our best to fit into whatever free space there was and catch some shut eye.
We got in about 6am, and Constantine (Olga’s husband) met us at the Kievsky train station and drove us to Mila’s apartment. I’ll say that it’s comfortable, safe, and in a very good neighborhood, but if we thought the apartment in Bryansk wasn’t child proof, we must have reached at least the 7th layer of hell. The apartment is a joint apartment with Mila’s where her 25 year-old son normally lives. Picture a guy’s dorm room, and you pretty much have the decor.
Every shelf is packed floor to ceiling with odds and ends. Some of it junk, some of it obviously wanted (if perhaps not valuable). There are Cuban cigars, and about 30 bottles of liquor, a huka, computer stuff, black lights, strobe lights, books, magazines, etc., all within easy reaching distance of even a 5th percentile 2 year old. Holy crap! Lara’s first reaction was that we couldn’t survive 5 days here. I was tempted to agree, but we decided to give it a chance. I think we’re going to be OK. We just have to continue to work at keeping the boys distracted – NOT an easy task.
The weather isn’t helping our cause. It’s getting cold, with a low of 3 degrees C predicted tomorrow night, and the clouds are coming. It definitely has a nip in the air. Unfortunately, we didn’t plan for weather that bad. We can’t stand the thought of being cooped up in here for 5 straight days, so our first order of business was to explore the local open air market for some stocking hats and mittens for the boys, which was a success. It did, however, extend the list of countries in which I have been pooped on, and probably not what you’re thinking.
For some reason, I have this habit of attracting bird crap on my head. It first happened at an outdoor cafe in California in 1999. Then again outside Edinburgh, Scotland on our honeymoon in 2003. Well, now add Moscow to the list. Yes – I showered tonight before writing this.
We spent the rest of the day with the usual tasks. We tried to get outside as much as possible. We were chased in by rain a couple of times, but all in all it kept us busy. There is a very nice park just up the street. According to Mila, it was founded by Peter the Great, and is “one of the nicest parks in the city.” It may well be. Several of the pictures below were taken there.
On the kid front, I think we can both admit that Evan is working very hard at finding all the buttons to push. I can’t believe how he’s made the transition from an institutionalized kid who thought it was awesome to have his very own hat, to a kid who refuses to eat his peas. All-in-all, it’s pretty typical stuff, which we take as a good sign. It’s just hard to deal with typical stuff in a highly atypical situation.
A doctor is coming by tomorrow morning to examine the boys prior to the Embassy appointment on Monday. Olga called at 9:00 to tell us that he would be here by 7 or 7:15. So… We’re going to cut this off here and get to sleep. Five full days and counting!