We have arrived safely. We had no problems with our flights.
Last time we went over the arctic circle. This time, we flew east. This meant that we saw the sun set behind us, then rise again in front of us 6 hours later. That was a weird feeling.
It also made me think - the speed and reliability of air travel can diminish a lot of history. For instance, there are many small towns in the US that used to be thriving until the interstate came through. Nobody visited, and eventually the towns dwindle into obscurity, with people driving by and never knowing the town was there at all. The jet-set socialite crowd jeeringly refer to the non-coastal states as "fly-over country" - country full of peasants and rednecks and assume that there is nothing of value in these states that they never travel to - only over.
N. picked us up from the airport and brought us to a rental apartment. It is very nice; the decor is good. It is on the 6th floor of an apartment complex (marked 11 in the elevator). We can see an ornate cathedral (St. Volodymyrs) from our bedroom window. We have a very nice apartment; it is very ornately decorated.
We had a bit of a problem yesterday. The wifi in our room did not work, so we were using our laptop. Microsoft decided it was time to run some automatic updates, restarted (without asking) and proceeded to crash while installing the updates..... thus leaving our computer unable to boot. This was a rotten development - this is the only way we can talk to our friends and family at home (especially our daughters). We would much rather be without lights or hot water - we need our internet! We were able to get a technician to fix it today (Ezra had not brought his PC repair tools - packing light and that sort of thing). God is good!
We had our appointment today and got our referral to visit "Bowen" in the orphanage. Remember everyone, we are not allowed to use his real name until we have completed the adoption. "Bowen" is just an alias.
We were able to Skype to our daughters at home. This was the first time the girls have seen a video chat. They have seen still pictures, and they have seen movies - so at first they just pointed and said "mama, dada" (as they do to pictures in our house). When they realized it was more than just a picture - that we could see them and hear them - Juliana waved at us vigorously. She stretched out her arms for us to pick her up; it was very sad for us not to be able to hold her. Skype doesn't work that well yet. :-) Elena was busy making faces into the "reflection" camera and signing "S...k.... y.....p.....e...." (the logo is visible on the screen).
Hopefully we leave tomorrow to go to his region and see him for the first time. We may not be in communication for a day or so.