After that, we met up with our friends who were also going to the wedding and rushed to get on the train. No one really slept much, and we arrived at our destination around 3 am, to be met by people from the church and travel on by car. We finally got to where we would be staying and crashed.
Friday we kind of wandered around in the village, getting to know people, helping with preparations, and just enjoying ourselves. Vladik built a beautiful house for Sasha, and it was really fun to see where she'll be living.
It was funny how Jaan and Raia jumped right in to everything. They felt perfectly at home. At one point, I left them playing in one home, and went for a walk with Asya. We came to another house and were invited in, to find that Jaan and Raia were already there! Asya loved the animals: ducks, geese, cows, goats, a horse and even a павлиний глаз butterfly that sat on our fingers. I've been missing those; we don't have them here in southern Ukraine. It was very muddy and rainy there, nothing like here. I should have taken dacha clothes for the children, instead of all their nice outfits! In the evening we ended up at a birthday party with all the local youth and the rest of the group from Dneprorudnoe.
Saturday morning, we didn't go to ZAGS ("the wedding factory"), because there wasn't room in the cars. We waited at the church. Jaan closely inspected the well, while the girls just ran around and tried not to get muddy. Then the service started. Will preached one sermon, someone else preached another, and then there was the long wedding sermon. After that the wedding party went out into the beautiful birch forest for photos, and we went back to our hosts' home for naps.
The next part was the wedding feast at a cafe. It was fun and beautiful and delicious. . . and long, of course!
That night we got to spend more time with our host family. We really enjoyed them and would probably be great friends, if we lived closer together. They also have three children, and their two youngest match Jaan and Raia in age. They work with a mission that helps Christian families adopt.
Sunday morning we went to church, then had lunch of wedding leftovers, then napped and played or just quietly looked at wedding pictures. In the evening we went back to the home where we had attended the birthday party and had another time of tea and fellowship. When we left, Asya told the hostess thank you in Ukrainian. They took us to the nearest train station, and from there we retraced all our many steps.
Oh, one more sweet memory: while waiting out on the dark, cold, train platform with the group seeing us off, someone wanted to sing. We started off with колядки (Christmas songs), because those were the first Ukrainian songs that came to mind, and everyone knows them. Then they moved on to choruses.
It was a wonderful vacation for us!