I've been here for only 5 days now and it really feels like a month. At home 5 days seem to go by in a flash and usually there is little different from the first day to the fifth (except maybe what's on TV). So in my short 5 days here I have officially become a new father, I have learned a lot about the Russian language and I have made some new friends both here in the city and also at the orphanage. Last night the idea of living in my (very small) hotel room for another 7 days seemed to be a very daunting task, but today everything appears very differently. Like the day after a large battle, the smoke slowly started to clear and then by the end, I saw everything in a new light. Maybe I'm making too big a deal of it, but today was a very good day. I got around town quite well and things went nicely at the orphanage.
For some reason, I had a nervous feeling before going to the orphanage. It's not really bad; it's like that feeling you have just prior to presenting a paper or pitching a proposal. It's that self reflection asking if I am prepared or have it in me to finish well. That feeling seems really silly now because, God doesn't expect us to face challenges or tasks that we are not truly able to handle. Sure some things may appear difficult on the surface, but that's God's way of forcing us to be better people. My trip to the orphanage started in the school hall (mainly because I arrived earlier than before), so there was a pretty chaotic exchange with a group of older kids mixed with the younger ones. Topic of the rally: "Bubble Gum". Seems like whoever has the bubble gum is the center of attention. But you know what, I felt like the situation was handled well and there was a certain feeling of happiness for all. When we finally ran out of bubble gum, we headed back to the suite.
I took a new movie today, we had the smart phone, the Nintendo DS, and the camera; so there were many different things for everyone to do. With all the activity the three hours just flew by, so when the taxi arrived nobody was ready for me to depart. It was very hard to leave, but part of me is still glad that Vova is staying in the orphanage for one more week. He has been there for more than three years and many of the boys have been there during that same time. These are his circle of friends, and on Tuesday next week he will leave them. Some of them he may see here in the US, but many of them, he will never see again. While you may think "what's the use in dragging it out", I figure, why not make the remaining time last as long as we can? These are the days that build the memories that he will cherish for a long time. Years from now when Vova is sitting around and he happens across a photo album of our time here in the orphanage, I hope he remembers his friends, and that he keeps them forever in his heart.
Sorry to get so deep here in the midst of describing an active and fun day. I really hope that each day, as we get closer and closer to Tuesday, becomes more and more special to Vova and to his friends. While I am not in complete control, I hope that I can contribute to every day being special and that everyone can be involved.
Thanks again for your continued support.