· We have moved to a new apartment in Warsaw. It only has one bedroom, but the overall apartment is bigger and has an elevator, washer/dryer, bathtub, microwave, and is closer to things that the kids like as well as being cheaper. This is the group of apartments we originally asked to stay at, but that’s water under the bridge.
· The other day, after 4 weeks of struggle, we discovered that Victoria will ride in the stroller without dying as long as we do not strap her down. This is a great discovery. However, it does not come without its bumps and bruises as she flops around and occasionally will fall out while we are walking. I can handle a cry of pain better than a meaningless, temper tantrum cry.
· The Hard Rock Café was the scene of the latest chicken leg massacre. We ate there for reasons such as it tastes American, they speak English, and they have free refills. Ryleigh ordered 2 chicken drumsticks that we were told would come out fried. That was lost somewhere in translation because what showed up was a plate full of 6 baked and BBQ’d chicken legs. She was thrilled. She left with BBQ sauce on her mouth, her shirt, my shirt, her eye, and the booth we were sitting in. I can’t wait to see her with a rack of ribs.
· Etihad airways have THE most overplayed, annoying commercial. It is a strong word, but I think I am beginning to hate that airline.
· Robert, the missionary, and I have been out doing some more preaching and tract distribution. We have been able to put the Gospel into the hands of thousands of people since we have been here. Maybe just one will be reached and seek out God. Robert has been in Poland preaching and teaching for 13 years and says he has seen very little fruit. He is bold for doing what he does.
· Ryleigh has been able to play several times with Robert’s boys, who are 5 and 7. She calls them her “best friends in Poland.” That is sweet and all, but they are her only friends, yet she means it genuinely.
· This past Saturday we were fortunate to have a big Christmas dinner with the preacher from the English speaking Baptist church we have been attending on Sunday morning. It was delicious and just like home. We also spent the night and went to church with them the next day.
· Have you ever sat in a church service and felt like the preacher was preaching the sermon right to you? Well I have while we have been here. This past Sunday, there were only 10 people at church and we were 5 of them. The preacher and his wife and then 2 folks from the community. Leigh, the wife and our kids were upstairs, leaving 4 of us in the service, the preacher, the translator and 2 Poles. He preached in English despite being fluent in Polish. The sermon, in English, was just for me.
· To get more minutes on our Polish phone, we had to go to the Plus store. The lady at the desk shook her head when I asked if she spoke English, I responded with “Oh no, I don’t speak much Polish.” She then responded in Polish something about being in Poland. How did she give me a snide remark about being in Poland and not speaking Polish, if she did not understand English?
· Mama mama mama! Everybody’s mama around here with Victoria. Me, Leigh, and even herself.
· We have been able to battle the loneliness here by being fortunate to Skype with the Lawrence, Bowlin, Mullett, Corbin, Hyatt, Landrum, Hombirg, Jameson, Cawley, Phillips, Slade, and Tackett families. Thanks to you all for making time to chat with us.
· Victoria, who at times is the most loving child here, decided to give Ryleigh a kiss. I mean open mouth, several second rubbing and gnawing of the chin and cheek area. It was funny.
· Getting from our apartment to the mall means we have to go under the highway and through the tunnels, which lead you to a whole new underground world. It is well lit and clean with plenty of nice people, and some helpful scary guys, that are willing to help out a struggling American family for a small donation to the beer fund. It’s worth it to help get the stroller up and down stairs. Nothing like you hear about the underground subways and stuff in NYC. However, the elevator back up to the main level, smells of a delightful Polish urine aroma.
· Why is it that most every escalator in this city is out of order the day we need to use it?
· Smyk is the name of the toy store with indoor playground. It is interesting that most kids, both boys and girls, come to the playground and take off their pants and play in tights. Not long johns, pretty sure they are tights.
· Here in the apartment, we have one machine that is both a washer and a dryer. Fascinating and awesome that we don’t have to wear drying rack jeans that stand on their own.
· KFC has been a delicacy here. I wonder if we are just hungry or if the one in Cynthiana, which we hardly eat, would taste good here?
· Keeping true to our form, the National museum we went to visit was closed. That is 3 museums, and 2 out of 3 closed on the day we go. However, they did have lost of military vehicles and helicopters and more outside to look at.
· Tonight, we had Dr. Pete come over at the recommendation of Robert. Dr. Pete brought his table to the apartment and provided a massage and back crack to Leigh and I. It was my first time so it was probably more enjoyable to someone who can relax. But having foreign men rub all over me tends to make me tense up.
· Today, Friday, we went to an indoor Aqua Park. It was a fun time and not too crowded. Our taxi driver took us there and went in with us to make sure we got where we needed to be despite his limited English proficiency and our even lower level of Polish. They had a pool side for swimming laps, a kiddie pool and some other kid friendly areas. There were 2 hot tubs, but only big enough for 3, maybe 4 if you really liked them. The best part was a twisting tubes slide that started upstairs, went outside and came back in. I had not been on a water slide for years and it was Ryleigh’s first time. She was excited and we went several times together. With a nervous scream we set off down the tube, sitting up with her in my lap. So, not being in the official position on your back, riding down on heals and shoulder blades, speed was not a factor. We actually went about 5 feet and stopped. I had to push my way down through it a couple times before she realized it was not too scary and she could trust me. Time after time we went a little faster and faster. At the end, you splash into some water where I would pick her up to keep her from getting a face full of water. She is still pretty protective of her ears since the tubes and ear issues she has had in the past. Leigh decided she wanted to go down the slide with Ryleigh. Not knowing the routine she and I had going, Leigh gets down to the end, after screaming the whole way, while she was sitting up and holding Ryleigh. Instead of holding her up, she lets her take a face full of water, thus propelling me into the #1 fun parent position. Quote from Ryleigh in a sad, crackly voice, “Momma tried to drown me.”
· Layla and I went down the slide as well, with no tears. She got in the baby pool and ducked her head under the water, shook around, and popped right back up. I think she will love the water.
· Victoria was a little uneasy with the pool but gradually loosened up and had a good time. Pretty sure it was her first experience with a pool that did not inflate. We also forgot to bring floaties, so it was pretty hard to have a whole lot of fun since we both had a child to hold.
· While waiting our turn to go down the water slide, we had to wait for a light to turn from red to green so that we knew the slide is clear. While I was waiting for Ryleigh at the bottom of the slide (she went twice by herself), a pudgy little fellow came crashing through the water and hit her from behind about 3 seconds after she arrived at the bottom. In a country with so many non-practicing Catholics, what she said to me struck a chord. She said, “Daddy, I guess he didn’t know about the light.” The light was there, right in front of him with a sign guiding you towards it, yet he did not pay attention to the light and ultimately make his decision based on the lights guidance.
· The only time I see a man in water in Speedos with a swim cap on, it is because I have decided to watch swimming on TV because the Olympics are on. Today, I had/got to see them up close and personal. I believe that swimmers who wear them in the US tend to be groomed and whatnot, not overly hairy with a done lap. Picture Bobcat Goldthwait from the Police Academy days, in a speedo, standing in front of you, facing you, while you are about waist high to him. Yeah, it was nice.
· As of this past Tuesday afternoon, the paperwork was competed officially changing Victoria’s name to Hombirg and thus disappearing out of the Polish system as her birth name. They just wipe it clean. She is officially ours and we have applied for her social security number as well as passport so that we can come home on the 6th on January, at 9pm to Lexington, Ky. Come on out!
If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.