>>Wednesday, March 15, 2006<<
And the race is on....
SHEW!!! We have a lot to report today. Today was our tour day. And let me tell you, I thought that I was not really here in Moscow, but, on the show The Amazing Race. I have never walked as fast as I did today since I was running track in Middle School!!.

First, we started off with our buffet here at the Hotel Arbat and it was awesome. My belly was happy, that was for sure. I didn't know what to expect of Russian food. They had everything that I liked...yogurt, eggs, bread, pancakes....the basics of life. Then, Stacy and Roy (the other couple that we are here with) went to see the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Talk about gorgeous!!.

The inside was incredible. The paintings on the walls, the richness was beyond my imagination. When you enter, if you want to get a candle, you can pay to get as many as you want and go to the various alters. There is a section that you go to pray for those that have passed away. And a section for "Your house". Meaning, pray for your family, your home...basically anything that you care about. It was very moving for me to be able to go and pray underneath the paintings of Jesus and the angels for our new baby and our children at home. And to be pray for our parents and siblings and extended family. It was also moving to pray for those that have gone before us. I wished I could put into words what it was like. I could only hope that those of you who come through Moscow can get a chance to go there.

We went to see the statue of Peter the Great. There is a lot of talk about that statue. It would take a whole other blog to go on about what the Russians think about that. So, I will save that for another day. It is really hard to tell you how MAMMOTH this statue is in this picture. Imagine the Statue of Liberty....it is bigger that that.

Then, we did some shopping. It was a little cooler today...lets say around 27 degrees and cloudy. My thin leather coat didn't work out too well. Hey...North Carolina does not see a lot of snow, ok? :) When we left, it was 80 degrees. We forgot to have winter. I bought great snow boots...or so I thought. The snow was melting here, but, a lot of ice was on the ground. We bought some nice gifts and of course I had to be the one that was holding them. I am known as "Miss Grace" you know. I proceeded to fall flat on my face on Arbat Street. We were walking so fast and SHAZAM...there I went and so did everything else I bought. I didn't care that my knee was busted up...i just cared about what I bought our kids. I am sure my parents and friends are laughing.....because they know me as "Miss Grace" , I could fall down if you tied me to a pole. :)

Oh, so you were wondering why I was walking so fast...because everyone here has on Michael Jordan AIR shoes or something!. I dunno!!!! Seriously though....Women in heels can go up to 50 mph on foot. I cannot figure out how they can move so fast. We finally took a break 30 minutes before our actual tour of the Kremlin started. Thinking that we were getting a tour that we were going to be driven around. Boy, was I kidding myself!!

30 minutes later, we met a great woman by the name of Larissa. WOW.... If you think New Yorkers can walk fast...you have not met Lorissa yet. She was our tour guide. We had to be at the Kremlin by 3:30 so that we can see it before it closed at 4:30. It was such a blur to me, I truly think we must have hydroplaned to the Metro Station which everyone looked at us (besides Larissa) like aliens and got off at the Kremlin. No one looks at you here, and if they do, you get the "stare down". Oh don't get me wrong, everyone we have met has been super nice. But, no one smiles, and if you are American...well, lets just say we aren't winning the popularity contest :) It's all good....because I am just honored to be here to bring our son home. I want to learn as much history as I can to tell our son about it.

SO, when we get to the Kremlin we were not allowed to cross the street to where you usually see these buildings during touring hours (the men in black are the KGB)
If you look at the picture where it is primarily white columns, that is President Putin's office. In fact, we saw a motorcade coming in and our tour guide thought it was President Putin, but, said probably not that it must have been another Dignitary and then many more cars followed with black flags. She said it must have something to do with the death of the Serbian Leader Milosevic.

Don't ask me...I am just a tourist.

We were still on Kremlin grounds and saw some AMAZING sites... The Cathedral Square, some amazing churches that I could write a novel on....I think that I learned more about history today than I did my whole time in highschool and college put together. We went through I don't know how many centuries in one day!

Then, we were off to the Armory where the famous Faberge eggs are kept and all of the original clothing, jewelry, crowns, Imperial arms, did I mention jewelry??? :) Diamonds and pearls, oh my!!!!
Centuries upon certuries old. We saw the carriages that various Queens were pulled in. Most were made out of Gold. That was a spectacular site!

Then, it was back out to the races... THE METRO... and if this picture looks blurry to you...imagine what we felt like going 50 mph walking/running in it. No one does leisurely walking here. Seriously.

Then, it was off to My My's (Moo Moo's) which was a great restaurant. I found the english version and I pointed out what I wanted. Thank goodness!! By this time, it was 8:00 at night. I have not had this much exercise in a while.

What was the biggest thing I learned today? Well, besides learning about hundreds of years in one day, and learning that no one really cares if you fall down because they are moving too fast to notice, and learning that everything is SOOO expensive in Moscow, and learning that President Putin doesn't really live on the premises at the Kremlin and that he loves to snow ski, and that several people who do speak English asked if I was German, and how much one person can spend a whole day in absolute awe of Gods wonders.....I could keep going...but, today I learned that...we all have misconceptions of each other. I asked Lorissa why no one smiles here. She said that most people are shy and that the Russian culture has spent so many years in repression that they don't know any other way. She said that when they see others smiling and carrying on, she says they think they "are crazy and have lost their mind" (then, now I know why I was getting the "stare down"), she said that is not their way. She said that "we are not as bad as people think". I said "and neither are we". We smiled at each other because I think both countries have a total false impression of the other. A lot of it has to do what they see of us on TV or a small/few amount of people and their actions and vice-verca. But, so far....we have had a great experience. So, now we know that they may be giving us Americans the "look", but, maybe it is because they don't really know us and we are getting to know them. Whether people want to believe this or not...when you adopt from a certain country...in our case...Russia.. that culture is now a part of you. Our son has Russian blood in him. So, we are going to embrace that blood and nurture it. Not everyone agrees with that. That is the beauty of having our own opinions. We hope that we are giving our country a good name while we are here.

Anywhoo...I know you all have fallen asleep during this blog because of its length. Tomorrow is the BIG day that we will meet our son. It is 10:30 here in Russia and it is time for us to try and go to bed. But, it is like Christmas Eve for us...I don't think we will get any sleep. We can't wait to tell you about tomorrow. Good night to all!!!
Anonymous Rebeca said...
Oh Lord, I can feel the excitment!!

May God continue blessing you, specially tomorrow as you meet your son.


Rebeca K.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Caroline and Black - I am so overwhelmed with happiness for you!
Not sure but I imagine that you will only be able to capture a mental picture of your new son tomorrow and I am anxious to hear all about him - his smell, skin, eyes, hair, hands, feet, I want to be able to see him as well!!!
I am looking forward to reading about your wonderful journey!

Love you!
Lisa Menscer

Blogger Tricia said...
I loved reading this post. What an adventure you are on and it's nice to hear about how you are trying to embrace the Russian culture. I am looking forward to your report tomorrow, finally getting to meet your son. Good luck!

Blogger megz_mum said...
I can't begin to imagine what the wait must feel like - how exciting!!!

Blogger Margaret said...
Thank you for this post. I've developed a lot of bad feelings for Russia and it's red tape. I don't want there to be any disdain for Russia in my voice when I talk to Peanut. I want him to love his country. Reading your post reminds me that Russia can be beautiful and culturally rich. You've made me look forward to it again.

Blogger jeneflower said...
Thanks for the tour guide I copied and printed your post to make sure we hit some of these sites.

Let us know how it went with meeting with your son!