Saturday: In the early morning Will's sisters and Adam (from Will's home church) arrived in Moscow from the camps they had been working at in our region. Will met them and brought them to us at the apartment. Later Nathan came to pick Adam up, so we all just sat around and talked. After Nathan and Adam were gone, Anna and Abby made a delicious Mexican meal for us, while we took Jaan out to play on the playground. Slides were another of his new discoveries in Moscow, and he enjoyed scaring us with lots of near-falls from the top.
Sunday: We all went to Nathan's English-speaking church and met up with a group of friends from camp there. After church we went out to lunch all together, and then walked around the center of the city, on Arbat Street, by the Kremlin and in Red Square. I think Raia must have broken some kind of record for nursing while we walked all the way from one end of Arbat to the other. When it starting raining our group broke up, and we dragged our tired selves back to the apartment.
Monday (Will's 29th birthday!): Will and Jaan took Anna and Abby to the airport. That night we celebrated Will's birthday by having a supper of Mexican leftovers with Nathan and his friend Masha.
Tuesday: In the morning Will and Jaan went to the office of our visa consultant to talk things over with him, but he was home sick, so they went on to the Christian bookstore. Raia and I went for a long walk in the same area where we had picked berries earlier, but instead of berries, we enjoyed the river and bird watching. Our certified copy of our marriage license arrived by mail, so we went to bed thinking that we'd be able to get the birth certificate the next day.
Wednesday: We went to ZAGS early, hoping to be able to get done there and at the embassy all in one day. It turned out that a certified copy wasn't enough. We needed something called an apostile. (Are we the only ones who had never heard of such a thing before?) The result of the meeting of the authorities had been that either we bring in an apostile or sue the ZAGS and go through that whole legal process.
We realized that we were really stuck, so we decided just to finally go home. That afternoon we were able to officially show Raia at the embassy, fill out all the forms, and pay the fees, so that Will can just take the birth certificate in when we get it, without having to bring Raia back. We also went and talked to our visa consultant. We didn't get anything finally settled, but we do have several options. We'll probably end up paying to renew my visa without me leaving the country. (I'm still praying that we can figure out some way to get Raia's papers in time, because I was making plans for a nice visit with my friend Danielle in Romania when we had to renew!)
Thursday: We just went got on a bus to Vladimir. It started out as one of those not-good travel experiences. Will paid for three seats, so that Jaan could have his own, but that got tangled. We ended up with Will in the front alone, and Jaan, Raia, and me further back. At least Jaan did have his own seat; that was nice. Jaan started screaming right away because he wanted to be with Papa. It was also almost unbearably hot, and time for lunch and naps. For the first little while we just crawled through Moscow traffic, Jaan laid on the dirty floor and screamed, Raia cried, and all the other passengers practiced their murderous looks on us. Finally we got moving, and things cooled off. Then Jaan was able to sleep, and Raia could settle in to eat. The rest of the trip went great. Will was able to move back with us as the bus cleared out. In Vladimir we had to wait for a while for our train to Kovrov. Jaan loved the waiting room, which overlooks all the train tracks. We couldn't peel him away from the big window; he just stood there and exclaimed over all the trains.
It was wonderful to finally arrive at home! Jaan dove straight in to his own toys and played happily for the few minutes before bed. We were amazed at the instant change in his attitude and behavior, just from being back in his own place.
Thank you all for your prayers! We could tell many of you were praying. For now we're waiting for the apostile that my parents are getting for us and also for a new doctor's letter. We're going to try getting a birth certificate here in Kovrov next, even though we had been told that would be impossible. Please pray that we'll be successful.
I'm going to have to have Will read this and check to make sure I got everything right. Like I said, it's kind of a blur in my mind, but I do think I got most of it.
Since I started with one photo of one sleepy kiddo, I'll end with another of the other one:
A very tired Jaan, happy to be sleeping at HOME after our trip
Originally uploaded by fylliska.