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 day....as 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.
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.