I changed the header picture, because I wanted you to get a good look at what's about to change. See that spot in front of me? In just 3 days, it will be filled! Caleb probably isn't coming to the airport, but you know what I mean.
We listen to Bullfrogs and Butterflies quite often at home, and one of the songs is about Noah. The lyrics go "God looked around and cried big drops of rain, so to speak." The weather has been so hot out, no rain anywhere in sight. However, the day Evan left, it started to rain, and is to rain until after H & I go home. I told Alicia Georgia was crying because we're leaving! I felt like crying when they left, too. However, when you have a busy little girl to keep occupied and great people to spend time with, it's hard to really be sad.
Some things I'm going to really enjoy when I'm home: more than 180 thread count sheets, soft blankets that don't feel like old towels, driving my car, having more than 5 choices of clothes when I get ready for the day, carrying a purse, not an orange backpack, getting water out of the tap, having hot water in the shower, and having it on the whole time I'm in there.
Some things I'm going to miss when I go home: the pastries at Goodwill, all the lobiani I could eat, vegetable khachapuri, vegetable pie, green salads, pineapple juice, using a gas stove, the creaks in this old house, not being driven around everywhere I want to go and having every day be all about what I want to do. (You know I'm joking about that one, don't you?) Only having a few dishes to wash each day. Being able to keep nail polish on for more than one day. Playing "dodge the potholes" while we drive. Honking your horn anytime someone's driving annoys you, the constant one-sided dialogue from Eka when she's driving, hearing the police make announcements as they drive down our street.
OK, those were all the silly ones. The real ones? Seeing my family's sweet faces and hearing their voices, feeling their arms around me. Watching as pictures and technology become reality and the kids really see each other for the first time. Being back with my friends and catching up.
Leaving my friends here and not hearing the lively conversations in Georgian. We'll hear Georgian, but only one sided. I'll miss the mountains and the people, the relaxing way I've been able to soak in the culture and scenery. The vendors on evey street with the most colorful fresh fruit and vegetables. The beautiful art work and talented people here.
I know that Georgia, with or without Hannah, is a place I'd really like to come back to. It kind of gets in you without any intention of getting out. How much more fun to bring her back to her roots one day. Imagine the changes that will have happened by the time we do! Marraiges, children, new monuments, roads, and painted buildings, (you'd have to be Georgian to really appreciate that one) and maybe a children's hospital that's really under construction, rather than destruction, as Ani says!
OK, enough of the sentimental stuff, I have 2 days left and must squeeze as much as posssible into that time.
Last post I left off with Hannah sleeping peacefully prior to the Embassy. When I woke her up, she got the sweetest smile on her face when she saw me. Remember the wrestling match in the car? None of that; she stayed right by my side and actually moved my hand closer when I wasn't holding her leg as I usually do.
When we got to the Embassy, there were 2 places to drive: one was the Consular's Office, and the other was the Embassy. We were going to the Consular's, so that's where we stopped, and Zhura drove off. However, that's not where we needed to go. So, we had to walk over 1/4 mile to get to the right place. No big deal when I'm walking by myself. However, Hannah weighs more than Caleb, doesn't hold on, and prefers to lean over so she can see better. I was so relieved to get somewhere where I could set her on a counter. However, it was granite, which didn't feel so good on her little bottom! No phones, no cameras, checking our papers, giving us a badge, through the metal detecter, across a walkway (I couln't really see because of Hannah and ran into a metal pole that hit my leg) to another building where they checked us again, down a long hall, through locked doors, and into the Consular's Office. Everyone was very friendly, and some had even seen Hannah in '07 when she was first placed in foster care. How nice for them to be a part of the completion. We got her passport back with a beautiful visa inside, and a thick manilla envelope, the contents of which I am not allowed to see. The envelope is given to the immigration officer in Memphis, and as soon as her visa is stamped, she will become a US citizen!
I had to raise my right hand and swear I had giving correct information, sign a few papers, then wait. The Consular is actually an adoptive parent, which was nice to hear. While we were waiting and I was signing papers, H was sitting in Lika's lap. We thought there was more for me to do, so we had her stay, which she didn't want. You know how insistent she is. Insert here. Which is a good thing. I'm glad she prefers me, even though she's called Lika mommy before. Now it's mommy Lika!
One thing I noticed was the lack of a US flag! I thought there would be one flying outside, but didn't even notice one inside. I could have been looking the wrong way, but I miss Old Glory!
Thankfully, Zhura was able to drive to the door and I was done carrying her for a bit. I am strong, but need to develop my endurance, obviously. We did take H back for one last night, then we're done. When we pick her up today, we won't go back. That is a hard thing for me, since I want her to have as much time as possible, but know she needs to integrate into her new family. The gratitude I feel for Irma and her mother, for the love, time, attention, sacrifices they've given her and for her. How can you thank adequately for that? Then there's the whole birth mother side of this. I still wish to send her something, and will hopefully figure out how to do that before I leave.
The last stop of the day was Lika's house. I got to meet her mother, who so kindly fixed all of my favorites for dinner. We played 2 games of nardis, which I'm almost possitive is backgammon, while we waited to eat, and I won both! Of course, Lika was helping me make moves. We had eggpant with walnuts, lobiani, something like corn bread and cheese, the rice salad, tomatoes and cucumber salad, green salad, pineapple juice, and she added stuffed peppers. There is a fruit that's a melon, don't know the name of it, but have been wanting to try; last night I did. Lika said it is supposed to be sweet and flavorful, and it doesn't taste as good as she likes. It wasn't bad, not sweet, but not like when you get honey dew that's hard and flavorless. Ani was able to join us for dinner. We had such a good time together! So wish it could've been with the Hauflers, too. Sadly, the goodbyes continued, as I won't see Ani again before we leave. She went to "her village, with her mountains" and won't return until we're gone. What a choice! If we had more time, I'm sure we would have joined her.
This was the latest I'd gone home for anything, and you should have seen Zhura drive! Never have we gone that fast, so I'm sure there were no cameras on those roads. ;) Home to talk to the family, but Catherine was too tired from her wonderful week at VBS to talk to me. That's ok, she can talk to me all she wants in just a little while. And Buddy couldn't wait to talk to me, which was music to my ears.
Now it' time to get ready for an emotional day and some time outside the city with Giorgi, Hannah, and Lika. Best scenario was with The 3 Wrights and The 3 Hauflers, but we're thankful for what we have. We're to bring a jacket, which I'm looking forward to wearing. Sounds silly, but I enjoy the cozy feel of jackets, sweatshirts and sweaters. I'm in trouble when I get home, because I hear it's really toasty right now. July in OK is going to be wonderful to experience.