Monday, March 15, 2010

A Few Moments in the Life of a Temporary Muscovite

Last Tuesday at this time, I was standing in a centuries old church watching old babushkas cross themselves while a priest walked back and forth across the floor. He swung an incense ball to the melodic chanting of robed men in a far corner.

Now, I'm in the new Millhopper library (which is quite nice by the way). I'm trying to get back on my own schedule, for what might be the last time in awhile I have a schedule that’s purely my own.

After our heartache in November, we left for this trip with a cautious hope in our hearts, a hope that's now grown so big I barely have enough room for it in my chest. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the last week...

Sunday--Somewhere over the Atlantic, I discover the woman in the seat next to me was adopted at the age of eight months (the same age as the little boy we're going to see).

Tuesday--We go to the ministry of education to get our referral. We park in front of a cell phone kiosk and make our way down the street. As we walk, Natasha, our translator, turns to me and says, "We have a few minutes before our appointment. Would you like to go across the street and see the church where Peter the Great was Baptized?" The church looks like a big colorful wedding cake with piped white icing and golden domes perched on top. Tsars and tsarinas were married inside. I smile thinking that a centuries old historical landmark is sandwiched between a cell phone kiosk and a Kwik-E-Mart.

Wednesday--Andre is asleep in my arms. He's tightly clutching the little elephant blanket we brought. His little fingers are wrapped into the folds and the elephant's ear is in his mouth. I brought the blanket so we could bring something back for Kiddo to get the baby's scent. But when the caretaker comes to take him back to his room, I can't bear to take the little elephant away. The caretaker smiles at me and keeps repeating, "Zaftra, Zaftra". When she leaves I look it up and learn that it means, tomorrow.

Thursday--Danny and I are watching an episode of Friends in the back of Pasha's car. The traffic is worse than usual today and Pasha has cleverly wedged a portable DVD player in between the two front seats so that we can watch Joey and Chandler banter about their overly large entertainment unit. Though he can't see the screen, Pasha laughs at all the funny parts.

Friday--I'm topless. A strange man is feeling my boobs. It's the third time in an hour I've had to remove my shirt for a doctor. It's starting to feel a bit like Mardi Gras. First there was the pulmonologist, then the dermatologist. I didn't have to take my shirt off for the psychiatrist, just give him travel tips about visiting Florida. Now there is an oncologist looking at my nipples and calling questions over his shoulder so Natasha can translate from behind the screen.

Saturday--Our last day with Andre. His head is tucked in the crook of Danny's arm, he reaches a hand up to Danny's face and babbles a string of syllables. When they come to take him away he smiles at us. I do not cry, because I know we'll be back in the blink of an eye.