Wednesday morning wasn’t unlike some of the others. He refused basically everything I asked of him. He even tried slamming his bedroom door and locking me out. Unfortunately this didn’t work out for him because the other day when he disassembled and reassembled the door knob he broke it (I had asked him not to but he didn’t listen ;-)). I needed to check email so I decided not to dig in. We were at the internet café by 9.
Vitaly called at around 10 am. The passport was ready. Yay! We were in a cab headed for the train station to buy train tickets for that night by 10:30. I made an error in judgment in hindsight. I agreed with Vitaly that we could take a bus to Zaparozhe to get the passport to save some $$. Unfortunately I was stressing the entire day. We were on the bus by 11 am but needed to get the passport, fax it into Kiev, and be back to Melitopol for our 7 pm train. Not to mention finish packing and pay the apartment owner. Considering the trip to Zaparozhe was 2 hours alone it wasn’t worth the stress (worry about cab to passport agency from bus stop, and finding a bus back to Melitopol in time) to save what amounted to $20 when taking a cab would have been reassuring. …but for once everything went off without a hitch (except the part where Ruslan got mad at me for not buying him a pepsi. You see, I started to explain to him that if he was good all day that he could have a pepsi later. Since I was explaining this to him in the cab he told me to stop talking because he was embarrassed about my Russian. He missed the part about all day and expected the pepsi when we got to Zap).
I decided on taking 2 beds in a 4-bed sleeper room on the train gambling that we would have tolerable roommates. It was not a good sign when drunken sailors poured out of the train and started yelling when we went to board. It turns out that one of our roommates was a passed out sailor and 3 others were using our room as the drinking room. They continued after we arrived, drinking and yelling and offering us homemade wine, even though Ruslan, me and our other roommate (a nice lady who just wanted them to leave) were resting on our beds. They just sat on the edges of our beds and kept on like it was normal. One of the sailors gave Ruslan a bullet from his gun as a souvenir. (Ruslan wasn’t about to let me have it so I had to ask Dima the next day to have Ruslan give it up. Dima just threw it onto the lawn at the medical office!) The sailors left at about midnight and we got some sleep before our 7 am arrival in Kiev.
The apartment owner, Constantine, was waiting outside of the train and drove us to the apartment which was just a stone’s throw from Independence square for $50 per night. It figures that the best apartment with the best price and location was found on the last night and without time to take advantage of it! Dima met us 30 minutes later and we spent the next 8 hours completing the medical exam and acquiring the passport at the US embassy. Ruslan was tired. I am sure the finality of the situation was sinking in. 5 minutes before our interview at the embassy Ruslan says “I’m leaving”. What? He says I don’t want to wait anymore, just take me back to the orphanage and won’t stop walking towards the exit. Wow. What do I do? So I stand in front of him and explain that he is our son now, there is no going back, and if we miss our interview then we may be in Kiev for another few more days waiting instead of a few more hours. He doesn’t care and continues to walk outside. I see Dima out there and quickly explain what is going on. I ask Dima to bribe Ruslan that we will go skating afterwards, we just need to finish. We it seemed to work because Ruslan came back in and we finished our interview. Crisis averted. I felt for him. The past 48 hours were nothing but traveling, waiting, paperwork, and examinations with little sleep. We walked out of the embassy with the last piece of the puzzle at about 4 pm.
Dima sent us to a mall with indoor skating, arcades, trampolines, etc, and Ruslan blew off some steam for a few hours. We made it back to the apartment for a few hours of sleep and headed off to the airport for our 5:30 am flight. It all over and we are going home! Not so fast. The Lufthansa agent told us to step aside as he was printing our tickets. No explanation, he just said that he needed to talk with his supervisor. 20 minutes later we are still standing there watching everyone else walk away with their boarding passes. Finally he explains that we need to leave the secure area and go back outside to talk with the Lufthansa agents. Of course I am waiting for the next letdown. Fortunately the agent over there explained that the system was not processing the ticket properly but she had a fix. We were on our way. This was just Ukraine’s way of saying goodbye to us. It was a fitting end to our long adventure.
I am pretty sure that it was more of a relief to leave Ukraine than it was to arrive in the US. Our entire trip was long, probably 24 hours, but Ruslan was great the entire trip. In fact, on our last 1.5 hr leg from San Fran to San Diego he was practically jumping out of his seat. Every 5 minutes he would ask “Is that San Diego” from the moment we got in the air.
Cindy and Voss met us in San Diego at 7pm. It was great to see them. It’s now Friday and I am back at work. I left this morning and everyone was in good spirits. Baba is here, she just got in on Tuesday, and it’s great to see her as well.
Just for the record Cindy made chicken Osso Buco for dinner last night. We traded in the bread for Tortillas and made burritos. It's good to be back!