My hubby left Moscow several days ago and I am here in Russia staying with a Host family. It is very different being without him and our two girls. When I call home our girls are having so much fun that they aren't interested in speaking to me. Selfishly, I wished that they would be a little sad. But, that is wrong of me. It is just that I am missing them so terribly. The right thing is happening. They are being taken care of by my mother in law, my husband, my mom, my sister, my dad...everyone. They are having so much fun that they will hope that I go out of the country all of the time!! It brings me peace knowing that they are well and happy.
It is hard to explain the two extremes that are going on out here. One is a very quiet world and the other is very fast paced and a gajillion people. (don't you love my new made up word?) I have been to 2 Host families now and their homes are very quiet. I can hear my heartbeat.
The orphanage is EXTREMELY quiet. One would think it would be so loud. When, you look at the building, you can guess that there must be close to a 100 children. But, when you walk through the doors, you would think that no one is there. When we visit Sasha (this is his nickname in the orphanage and we decided to use his middle name now as his first...thus...Nikolai) the caregivers always greet us, and we go in and play with him or take him outside. But, wherever we go...it is so painfully quiet. Maybe it is because I am so used to so much noise.
I take the Metro (subway) every day from my host's families apartment to the orphanage with another adopting couple here. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get there. It is a long walk from the Metro stop to the orphanage. Although there are so many thousands upon thousands of people crammed on that Metro...no one and I repeat no one talks (well..rarely). Did I forget to mention that no one smiles? Everyone is walking fast and hustle and bustle to get wherever they need to go. But, once we get on the Metro...everyone stares at the floor or the ceiling or you just close your eyes. The first day or two, I didn't know what to do with myself. I always smile and I never shut up. :) My head is always racing with a million thoughts. But, late yesterday...I found myself becoming used to it. I just followed the crowd on to the train...stood there and stared at the floor, not smiling and stayed quiet until it was time for the next train stop. I don't even talk to the other American couple. We say that it is best that we don't talk to each other in the open because it attracts attention that we are tourist. Sounds crazy, I know. But, by yesterday...i was already fitting into the crowd. I was getting asked directions. In my very broken Russian, I would say "I don't know" and I just looked down. I am not embarrased to be an American by any stretch of the imagination. But, in this big city...and on a train as single woman (well, by myself...not single..you know what I mean)...it is best not to draw any attention. If you do, you could attract people who would like to mess with you or pick pocket, which someone tried to do today. But, I moved away in time.
Just a word to the wise...it doesn't matter what country you are in. If you are wearing one of those money belts..make sure that they are hidden way in your pants or up in your shirt so that no one can see it if you happen to have your arms raised above you like I did today while holding on to the train rail. A person could easily have a pocket knife and in a crowded space cut the tiny rope that is around your waist and before you know it they are off the elevator or train or wherever. This goes for any place....especially touristy places. Disney World, etc.
Anywhoo....in wrapping up what I was trying to say. Although it seemed so sad and depressing. It is just a difference in lifestyles and not that either one is better, it is just a matter of what your customs are. I found myself actually hearing my own thoughts today and they weren't racing. I could hear my own breath, my own heartbeat. Maybe silence isn't so bad. It isn't what I would want for the rest of my life. But, for now, I am giving it a try. If not....the babushka's give you a dirty look ;) ha!!!!