Wednesday, August 19, 2009
"Good day today"
"Good day today," Maksim repeated over and over. We were so happy to be able to spend time with him. He lives with his grandparents in a little village not too far from Lugansk. When we arrived, we sat under the apple tree and waited for "Ba" as Maksim calls her, to properly greet us. Apparently Maksim had not warned her we were coming! She came out and asked if we would like some tea and we said yes. While she preapred it, Maksim gave us a tour of his home.
He was very proud of it. The home sits on a large piece of land. His grandmother works at the local hospital but also keeps a mean garden! Maksim speaks very good English and told us all about the garden. We had a lot of fun learning the names of the various vegetables in the garden. There were grapes, cabbage, carrots, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, sunflowers, and more.
By the time the tour was over, tea was ready to be served. Ba had spruced up the little outdoor sitting area and we felt like royalty. Maksim brought out some soap and a pan full of water and helped us wash our hands. Then he served us tea.
Before we were finished with tea, Maksim climbed up in the apple tree to offer us both an apple. Alexandra was excited to find a worm in hers. She had never found a worm in an apple before, she said. She'd only read about it in books!
After tea, Maksim took us indoors. He showed us where he slept and played some music for us that he likes to listen to. We talked some with his grandmother. She is only 56 years old and obviously takes very good care of Maksim. Maksim's mother does not live far from their home and he told us that he now has a baby brother.
About 3:00 we headed back toward Lugansk to take him bowling. He had a blast and so did we. After bowling two games (for a whopping $5.00) we rode to the Center to shop for some movies and try out the arcade. We stopped in at the pet store in the mall, and Max could have stayed in there forever.
On the way back to Maksim's village, we stopped at his school. He was very proud to show it off as well. We got back to his house and Ba had borsch waiting for us. It was the best Ukrainian meal we have ever had. Borsch, bread, some sort of sweet cakes dipped in honey, compote. It was great. We talked more with Ba and Maksim got out his English book we had brought him. In the car, he had kept clutching it saying "This is my love". He is really serious about learning English and being a translator some day.
Maksim was given a chance to be adopted into an American family and he chose to stay in Ukraine with his grandmother. As we spent time together today I thought how special it was that American familes can keep in touch with him and reach out to him even while he continues to live in Ukraine. I pray that that will be the case for Gabrielle if she, too, chooses to stay.