A Little Like Sledding On Ice

Guess what?  The cherry on top of the sundae is that Dan’s sick again–this time with a sore throat.  He says it’s the worst sore throat he’s ever had.  He woke up last night to break out the antibiotics we always take on trips, and he said he actually got scared; he couldn’t get the pill down.  His uvula (you know, that hanging thingamajig in the back of your throat) was so swollen, he was worried about it closing up the passageway all together.

Dan groans into his bed covers this morning, “I can’t catch a break.”

As some of you know, we kept telling everyone before we left, “Worse case scenario: we get home end of September.  September 27th!”

Well, here it is, and we’re no nearer home than we were a week ago.

Seriously, we’ve met a roadblock every day, and we just have to shake our heads and wonder why.  Life just isn’t fair, and the sooner we realize it, the better off we’ll be.  Hope keeps us going, I guess.

We were given a phone upon our arrival in the Ukraine, and in order to use it, we have to buy phone cards and upload them onto the phone–except that we can’t read the instructions on the back of the card, so we have to call our translator and request that she ask the seller if he or she would kindly upload our minutes onto the phone.  So far, so good.

Well, yesterday we had to call Northwest Airlines to reschedule today’s tentative departure date to October 15 (when we hope we get to leave).  We knew the call would take forever, and we didn’t want to get cut off, so we had 600 hrivnas put on the phone (about $120).  We call.  They tell us that although we spent a boatload of money on special adoption rates (so that we could change flights as many times as we need to), they can’t get us home in one day, because starting October 15 they no longer have a morning flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis.  I ask her, in as even a voice as I can, why on earth we spent so much money on adoption rates, if when we want to change flights, they no longer have the flights.  “I’m sorry, ma’am,” she says.  “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Well, yes, I know that.  That’s just the way it is.  Why did I expect it would be any different?  We make reservations for October 15, with an overnight in Amsterdam (she gives me the hotel’s number).  The Northwest call alone ends up costing about $80.

Imagine: you take your sled out one wintry day, to sail down the hillside, to feel the cold against your face.  Unbeknownst to you, though, it’s rained during the night, and the runway is ice all the way down.  You can count on a slick, bottom-bruising ride, but you can also count on careening out of control along the way.  You just have to make your body limp and go along for the spin–oh, unless you see a huge tree coming up–then stick out your legs to try to brake.  Just don’t get the tree in your groin.  That would not be good.

This is what this trip’s been like.

To make matters worse, today I bring Liliana home to the apartment during the morning visiting hours.  [She already has a cold; we think Dan got it from her.]  She will only come to me.  She cries and cries and cries when Dan holds her.  This is the worst possible thing right now for Dan, and I can see the disappointment and hurt on his face.  I try to tell him that she doesn’t understand.  We keep repeating this to each other–I’m not sure why–except to hear the encouragement out loud, maybe.

We can’t think it’ll get much better with this back-and-forth to and from the orphanage.  If anything, it might be easier on her if it were a clean break.  We have to work within the constraints, though, and this means visiting her twice a day for several hours each time.  Very confusing and up-and-down for both parties.

Dan is too sick for the afternoon visit, so I go alone.

Maybe it’s better that we don’t know what’s ahead.  It might be too overwhelming.

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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