Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 20- Candy Blocker

Maria's View-

So this morning, I woke up to discover that we had no Internet service!  NYET BUENO. ;-) (and yes, I try to speak Spanish to all of these people, too!)  So after a couple of hours, Chris was finally able to bring it up.  I'm sorry, but if we don't have Internet, I will go mad here.  Without Internet, I can't speak to or see my girls and I won't be able to get encouragement from all of you!  I hope this won't become a problem.

It's a sprinkly day here but we got to go outside for most of the morning.  Little dude was very happy today.  Chris was concerned that he was running a fever because he felt sweaty and clammy but I believe they had just washed his face off.  He felt much better to us pretty quickly.  Got to love figuring out a new baby! :-) 
 First off, we went to the play shed and I put him on the ride-able toy truck.  I started singing a song that I hear the nannies sing all the time in the same kind of tune, "Machina, Machina, la la la la la" that's all I could remember. He sat on that truck for a good 10 minutes, which was a record!  He played with me, clapped my hands together, waived his own little hands in the air to the song I was singing, etc.  It was adorable.  I'm going to have to google some of his nursery songs so that I can connect with him on this level.

We noticed that his groupa was coming out so we moved to the swing to free up the play shed.  He enjoyed swinging in the cool breeze and I would catch his feet, pull him toward me, and let him go.  He seemed to like that.  I've noticed that when the nannies sit them in the swings, they never push them.  They just sit, suspended in stillness.  Kind of sad... so I'm sure he likes the feeling of the wind in his face!

We can tell when he gets tired of the swing now.  Usually after about 20 mins or so, he starts turning his body sideways so we take that as our cue to take him out.  We walked around the orphanage a few times until we started feeling a few drops of rain.  We decided to take him inside to the play rug upstairs by his old groupa.  We would normally avoid this but we have noticed that he does not like to take independent steps outside so maybe at least 10 mins of carpet time a day needs to happen.

I decided to stick him in the plastic playhouse  today.  The first day I tried it, he didn't want it at all.  But today, he loved it!  He was infatuated with the window shutters that open and close and stood there for about 20 mins, just opening and closing them.  Dr. Candy, remember her?, got our attention and said hello.  <sigh>  I really didn't want her lurking around today.  She noticed that Griffin was in the playhouse playing and then she started messing with the blinds and windows so I'm assuming that she was trying to get some extra ventilation in the room.  It's either too hot or too cold for this doctor! ha ha.  So as she was walking by, she ducked her head into the playhouse to get his attention and he didn't even blink an eye at her.  I didn't make a move to make him pay attention to her either, therefore, I'm pretty sure I "candy blocked" him!   Yeah, that seems pretty harsh, huh?  But I gave him lots of hugs and kisses to make up for it!! :-)
Well, no evening visit for us today. :-(  Our driver could not find another driver for us this evening but he insisted that he would be just a a little late in picking us up, though!  On his wedding day?  No thanks!  We will see our little dude tomorrow!

Tonight, maybe we will just watch a movie or something.  We are going to bread and fry some chicken strips and make homemade mac and cheese for dinner.  I haven't fried chicken in ages!!  Sounds good, though, so I hope it works out! 

I'm trying to hide away the pain of missing my girls.  It's getting pretty hard.  I really hope to have court this week so that I can gather them up!  Thank you so much to those of you who are taking such good care of them!  I know they are happy and healthy!  I see the smiles on their faces and that makes me happy. :-)

Until tomorrow!

Chris's View:

No pictures of my own today, just some that are borrowed.

Today is a special day.  Our driver is getting married!  That got us thinking, not only do we have to tell Griffin about his current culture, but also about the cultural things in his future.  Like marriage for instance.

Here, a wedding is a big affair.  Like any wedding, there is some courtship that leads up to the ceremony.  During what is called Ivan Kupala Day, single people search the forests for a magical flower that is supposed to bring wealth beyond their wildest dreams.  Women go in wearing a ceremonial wreath first, followed shortly thereafter by the men.  If a couple comes out with the man wearing a woman's wreath, then they are betrothed.  I'm not sure this would go over too well in the US.  Actually, if Griffin goes running in to the woods on Ivan Kupala Day, and comes out wearing a wreath, I would think he had stumbled onto a hippy convention!  Interesting tradition to say the least!

Following this, the groom must go to the woman's house and pay a ransom.  After the ransom is paid, the family bringing out another family member in a veil as to fool the groom.  Once the groom realizes he is being duped, he asks for his real bride and the family ups the ransom as the real bride is worth so much more than the groom could ever afford to pay.  It is also the custom that if a man comes calling for a woman's hand and she, or the family, refuses him, they must give him a pumpkin so he does not leave their house empty handed... how generous!  A pumpkin for a rejection!  I wonder how many of those have been used to vandalize the woman's home after that embarrassment!
Okay, so a couple days before the ceremony, the bride & groom assemble with close family and take part in a ritual. They sit on benches and everyone gets wedding bread. Then a rushnyk, a log towel type tapestry, is placed on their laps. The elder family member recites a customary blessing, "As these two children stand before their own mother, before their own father, before their uncles, before their godparents; maybe they did not listen to one of you, I ask you to forgive them and bless them." Everyone recites a toast to the couple three times that says, "May Holy God forgive and bless you". Then, the couple kiss their parents faces, hands, & feet... yeah... I think this is where I'd have to draw the line. I wouldn't even kiss our girls' feet after they were born... yeah, I'm anti-feet!  (Note, the picture is several rushnyk's, maybe at a store or something)

Anyway, the day of the ceremony comes. The same rushnyk is stood on while they say their vows, and tradition says that whoever steps on it first will have the final say in the family. Okay Griffin... I refuse to raise a doormat... got me buddy! :) The woman's wreath is removed and she is adorned with a scarf type head wrap called an ochipok, while the man is given a crown, which is symbolic of him becoming a man. Hmmm... talk about ruling your household! LOL! Maria, you're taking notes, right?  I expect my crown presented to me when I get in from work each day too!  LOL!  (Yeah y'all... I'm gonna get it for this one!)  Actually, they both get crowned... don't get too mad at me babe!

The wedding celebration can last days and sometimes weeks, with dancing, singing, long toasts, and a feast that includes the entire community.  Talk about your headache when it comes to catering!  The age old question of chicken or fish takes on a whole new meaning in this type of environment.  We also found out that the major wedding day is usually Friday's and they launch fireworks.  We found this out the hard way actually.  The bombings in the town we are in took place on a Friday morning.  That evening, as we laid down for bed, they began firing off fireworks on the other side of the apartment building.  We could hear the pops, but couldn't see anything.  Unfortunately, the concussion of the fireworks exploding in rapid succession (I guess they were like the blocks of Black Cat Firecrackers or something) sounded like an AK-47 as the sound bounced off the apartment walls in the courtyard.  I thought someone was getting shot until the sky launch fireworks started.  Whew!  Relieved!

On a final note, women who go their whole lives without being married here are buried in wedding gowns.  That's pretty cool that they do that for them.

See y'all tomorrow... if Maria doesn't kill me for the crown remarks!  :)

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