Have you ever had one of those “Oh my gosh, Uh oh, Oooops” moments. We had a big one today but more on that in a moment.
The kids did great on the train trip, we kept them up and occupied rather than let them go to bed and have to get them up again. Even though our apartment was only two blocks from the station; our facilitators still came to pick us up (try walking 2 duffle bags, 4 backpacks, a stroller and 2 kids two blocks and you’ll see why,) After we got there we had a 20 minute wait for the train, and then when the train got there we had another 30-40 minutes wait for it to leave. It was very hot, so we took turns bringing the kids back onto the platform to cool off.
After the train left the AC kicked in and it cooled down. Our cabin was able to hold us, the kids, and all our stuff no problem. We each had a child in the same bunk with us which made things tight but it was alright. Alina went to sleep right away and Tolly took awhile for the excitement to wear off. Tolly and I stood at the window and waved bye-bye to everyone for ten minutes and then watched the scenery (in the dark) for a bit more.
We got here a little before 8am. The plan was to go the apartment and drop off our stuff and have some breakfast, but traffic was very heavy, so our driver suggested we head straight to the Embassy (our appointment was at 1030,) we drove around for a bit, collected some more paperwork, got there on time but the kids were restless from being in the car for so long, and headed in.
Sidenote: Mary is not happy that we went to the US Embassy and didn’t speak to a single American except for the gentleman who was apparently [according to his badge] the official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, and all we did was get to say hello to him as he walked past.
We get through security, and to the window, and the gentleman asks us for the kids’ passports. Did I mention that we don’t have the kids’ passports yet? They were supposed to be delivered to our translator down south today, faxed here for verification, and on the train tonight for delivery in the morning. You need them for the medical appointment and before they receive their Visas. The gentleman at the window was exasperated but agreed to finish as much of the paperwork as he could without them. [Update, just spoke to our driver here and apparently passports were not received, we are now pushed back a day on medical and Visa appointment.]
We hadn’t brought all the forms we needed either (I’d printed a whole stack of forms before leaving the States but don’t know what I did with them). So Tolly is already tired and frustrated and he did not want to sit still any longer and he starts getting upset. Mary is trying to fill out the forms and I’m trying to toss Tolly around, tickle him, whoosh him, and generally distract him. After a while the man says, ok, go pay the cashier, here’s the bill. Mary and I had followed other people’s suggestions and had pre-enveloped the money for this, so no problem, only I look at the bill and it’s about $800 more than we had expected.
Oops, big oops, when we did the figuring, we’d completely forgotten a couple of things that the State department charges because we’d already paid them for Alina before we left. Mary looks at me and says “we don’t have this,” fortunately God was looking out for us and the money that we’d thought we’d saved from not expediting the passports was almost enough to cover it (though our emergency fund is now near zero.) Also, we’d planned to book our flights home for Friday, but had apparently booked them for Saturday, so once again, God is looking out for us, since the passports didn’t show up today, we’ll have our appointments on Friday and not have to pay for another flight change.
Please pray for no more delays and in case I didn't make this clear; God is Awesome, he has provided everything we've needed, when we needed it, even if we didn't know it at the time.
P.S. Pictures tomorrow, I need to find the card reader, it’s in our baggage somewhere…