My flight was delayed last night, so I arrived after Anastasija, but she was still at her gate waiting for another group to arrive, so I headed over to meet her. She is smaller than I expected. She is very thin, and petite. She was polite, but shy. She quickly ran to a friend of hers for a quick hug when her friend arrived. Her chaperon told me she was very tired and tried to translate a few things for me. We then left the terminal to meet up with the other parents who were eagerly awaiting their host children's arrival. It was after midnight at this point.
Do you remember "Liga" from a few posts back? I got to meet her last night!!!
We finished up a few last details, talked to an interpreter who told her we would be sleeping in a hotel for the night and then flying home tomorrow. I also asked what she preferred to be called, which from now on she will be referred to as Nastia (NAW-stee-uh), and then we caught a bus to our hotel. I showed her the new pj's and her new outfit for the following day, and then showed her to the shower. She had been traveling for a long time and needed refreshed. She took a loooong shower! :-) We both got to bed at 1:30, and I think she fell asleep very quickly.
I woke her up at 5:15 this morning, so she could get dressed and we could catch a bus back to the airport. She woke up with a great attitude and ready to start the day. She was still very quiet, though.
We got to the airport, checked in and went to security. Problem...I was told that I could not hand them her ticket...it had to come from her...and then they asked her what her name was...I said, "She doesn't speak English."...they said, "then ask her in her native language."...I say, "I don't know how"...they say, "So, you are traveling with a child who doesn't belong to you and doesn't even speak your language??? *insert snarled face here** HMPHH!"...I say, "Well, yes. She is here for a hosting program."...*insert snarled face again here* and they say, "hmmm, okay," and let us go. Hmmmm....if there was that much concern, should they have really let us go without investigating more? Anyway, I was just happy to get through and go to our plane.
We stopped at Starbucks for bottled water and a choice of muffins...she chose chocolate, of course, and then we waited for our plane to board. I had asked her a few times if she was hungry or thirsty, but she always said no. I think she was a little of both when she finished her muffin in record time and half of her bottle of water!
We left Atlanta and landed in Fort Lauderdale, where my wonderful friend, Jennifer Burk, and her husband and two adorable little boys (the ones in the second picture) met us and bought us pizza and a drink. Nastia ate and drank very well and then we went to the roof of the parking garage to watch the planes take off and land for a while. Nastia loved this!!! Nastia, and Jennifer's 3 year old had a tickle attack for a while, and it was so much fun to see this side of her! After we said our goodbyes we went through security again (no problem this time), and went to board our last plane. I felt that Nastia was disappointed when we landed in Ft. Lauderdale and I told her it wasn't home. She didn't seem very happy for a while. She was SO excited to get on our last flight, and even more excited that she got a window seat!!! She sat and watched the planes take off and land as we waited for our turn on the runway. She kept tapping my leg and pointing out the window. She was starting to get comfortable with me. We had the BEST time on the way to Orlando. She got out her Russian translation book and began writing sentences to me...in English! I was so proud of her! She let me know she does not know how to swim, she is afraid of the water, and she is afraid of drowning. Good to know! She also told me she would like to go to the zoo. Good to know! We went back and forth looking through her book and asking questions. It was so great to start to get to know her!
Roger, and everyone, but Franklin came to pick up us from the airport. Miles talked and talked to her on the way home, and she just sat and nodded and smiled. She had no idea what he was saying. She and Lauren would glance at each other often and smile. We got home, got settled in, ate Chicken Noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner (she loved both! Yeah!), and then went outside to play. I wanted her to feel comfortable with us and to realize that we are a loving family who wants to love her and have fun with her...so...I grabbed Ari's water bottle and started squirting my kids. Nastia thought it was so funny! And then I squirted her!!! She squealed and jumped up and started running and laughing! HUGE moment for us! I ended up getting water bottles for everyone and we were all soaked! We came inside and got showers and pj's on and settled in for the night. I got out my nail polish and let her choose what color/s she would like. She chose purple and blue and she and Lauren painted every other finger nail purple or blue. We decided to paint toenails, too, so I asked Lauren to let me paint hers, so maybe Nastia would be more comfortable. When I was finished with Lauren, Nastia wanted nothing more than for me to paint hers, as well. Another great bonding moment!
I was cuddling with Lauren and Franklin on the sofa and scratching Lauren's back. When I stopped Nastia reached over and scratched Lauren's back a little. It was very endearing. I could tell she was watching me cuddle with my kids, and I will give her some time to get comfortable, but I look forward to letting her feel what it is like to know the cuddle of a mother's arms. I noticed Nastia staring and watching families interact in the airport all day. She is very curious. I think she knows she is missing out on something special.
Shortly after 8:00 I told her it was time for bed with the help of my Russian Phrases for Children handbook, tucked her in, kissed her on the forehead, put my hands on her cheeks and told her goodnight. She had the most wonderful smile on her face! A wonderful end to our first day of hosting!!!