Thursday, July 8, 2010

Today's history lesson

Are you as weary of following our adoption progress as we are of experiencing it?

Today I decided it was time to quit being a baby about being homesick for my kids, and John and I spent a couple of hours after the orphanage visit doing some sightseeing. My feet are doing SO much better by the way. We walked 7 miles today. I have decided that the Europeans really have it right. It really makes so much more sense to do most of your transportation by foot. After a month of being here it seems perfectly natural to do all our shopping on the side of the road, a little bit every opposed to a weekly trip to the Walmart Supercenter, by van. There are vendors everywhere selling bandaids, aspirin, bras, shoes, calling cards, coloring books, roach repellent, bread, flowers, toothpaste. YOU NAME IT and you can find it on the side of the road.

I also have decided I really love the idea of people making a living by sitting by the side of the road and entertaining onlookers. There are plenty of beggars everywhere, anybody can do that, but what I really love is the sight of two little old ladies sitting by the side of the road, one holding a plastic cup, singing a sad duet together. Or the blind man at the metro who plays the accordion. We have seen mini rock bands, guitarists, singers. Some who are really talented and some who are....well.....not. It seems that there is a general sadness here. People are not talkative at all, most everyone looks ahead and minds their own business rather than making small talk with the people around them.

After being here so many weeks I think I will really miss this place.

We opted to not pay $40 for an english tour guide and as a result I really have no idea where we went today or what exactly we saw. Just the same, here are a few of the pictures we took.

A couple of the many very old Orthodox churches in the city.
I snapped this photo inside before I saw the "no photo" sign. Ooops.
This is an old building scattered with bullet holes, from WW II I believe.
I have no idea the significance of these two monuments and part of me was wishing we had paid for that tour guide after all. :(
This was a very beautiful place that is a lookout point over the city and the Dneiper river, a place seemingly popular with lovers.

More churches....

The Monastery of the Caves was very interesting. It's a very narrow cave under one of the churches containing the mummified bodies of several Orthodox saints. Women, to enter you must have your heads covered. Also, you must carry a long candle like so:
The mummified saints can be seen through their glass coffins although they are covered with ornate cloths. The practicing Orthodox catholics come to pay tribute to the saints. We saw many people, even young children bowing and kissing the tops of the coffins. It was a bit uncomfortable for this protestant girl, but also very fascinating. I know my children would have enjoyed it as at least the boys have a fascination with mummies.

I wish I could have given you a stronger history lesson today, but we saved $40 instead.

We enjoyed Skyping our kids this afternoon. They are back from a wonderful time with Opa and Oma in Mexico and are now home waiting for us. It is so nice to know we are at least halfway through this adoption journey. And we will be home SOON. Tomorrow is court, at 4:00. Praying all goes as it should.


ukraine09 said...

Praying for a smooth court process tomorrow!

Thanks for all the sight seeing pictures. It brings back many memories. I spent 7 weeks in an apartment right behind St. Sophia's. I liked just going and sitting on the benches in their courtyard sometimes because it was so quite and peaceful. I agree with you about the mummies and being a little creeped out at everyone kissing the coffins (not to mention that the germs must be gross). We did have a very good meal at the restaurant right outside of the Lavra though. Ahhh, thanks for the memories.

Many prayers for tomorrow!


Hevel said...

Thanks for the photos!

I am sure the head covering had to do with 1 Cor 11:5-6, but I wonder about the candle...

Jodi said...

Love the pictures! I really ,really miss it there. The sights are beautiful and the history is fascinating!

I could live there. It's a more simple life I think......yet, they work hard...but maybe enjoy the little things more.

Anyway, I have loved following your journey to your little beauties :)

The McEacherns said...

Besides St. Sophia's (the blue church in the second picture) and the Lavra (caves), you've got the tall WWII monument, which has the tomb of the unknown soldier monument at its base. Between there and the Lavra, near the popular lookout, is also the Holodomor (famine/genocide) monument. You don't have pics of it on here, but you may have passed it on your walk. Way to get out and see the sights!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear all is on schedule for tomorrow. I know all will go well. Enjoyed seeing the pictures today. I don't blame you for not paying $40 for an English speaking guide. $40 can go a long way in Ukraine.

Jenny Thompson

the Gower Fam said...

Awesome pics! Can't wait to hear about court!

thedickinsonfamily said...

Praying for a great court experience tomorrow. Just think your going to be a mommy again & again. So very happy for you! Can't wait until your back home with your kiddos.

Kristin Ferguson said...

Enjoyed the pictures--made me a little nostalgic for Kiev--just a little, though. :) We got every penny's worth with Niko's daughter, Olena and her tour she gave us! I highly recommend it!!!

Can't wait to hear that court went well and that you're heading home!


Deb D. said...

Like so many have already commented, I am so excited for you that court is finally coming and your long wait is coming significantly closer to an end. I will eagerly be anticipating your good news tomorrow.

LOVED the photos, Charissa. What a beautiful city. You captured great views to share with us. Thank you. I feel as though I had a little tour throughout the time you've been there and how you've described things. It's been a joy.

Can't wait to read your posts once your WHOLE family is all united in OK and the new adventures begin.

May God be your covering and His spirit bring favor to you in court.

Koen Family said...

Love your posts. Thanks for sharing the sight seeing with us. I love travelling, but even if I had heard all the names of these places, I would have forgotten them by now:)

Justine said...

Love the pictures! Glad you got to do a bit of sightseeing!

Have a great trip home!