*This post was updated with photos and additional info after adoption
Steve: So we noticed these large pipes that are all over the city here and started wondering what they were for. When we asked our interpreter she said they were for water. Hot water. Just like gas, hot water is piped into every home and building as another utility. Instead of having a small hot water heater, most people depend on the water being hot coming into their apartment or house. While at first this sounded strange it made more sense looking around the places we've been. Every one has cast iron radiators near their windows for heat. The water must go through your radiators and then out of your spigots and showers.
It does make for a very interesting shower though. One tiny move in the knob can send the water from freezing to scalding pretty quick. It must come from the central boiler at well over 200 degrees Fahrenheit to carry the heat that distance. And the pipes are very well insulated. You don't see them steaming or weeping any water at all. Radiators work very well as a heating source here. Our room at our hotel has always been a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit according to our travel alarm clock's thermometer. And, yes, our bodies have now adjusted to being comfortable in long sleeves and long pants in 75-degree rooms. Yeah, our heating bill is going to be rough when we get home. At least it will be spring and starting to warm up outside!
Jamie: We were hoping to post today about moving into our apartment, but, alas, it has been delayed. The folks whose apartment we're moving into got sick and so they aren't taking their scheduled flight out today. Sigh. I will confess that I'm done with the hotel - smoky rooms, doing laundry in the sink, karaoke thumping through the floor at midnight from the restaurant below, spending twice what we budgeted for lodging, eating cheese and bread on the bed for dinner because we have nowhere to cook... ok, I've vented and the complaining is now over. The hotel is really fine, and I do enjoy getting breakfast every morning. We'll be in the apartment soon enough.
Steve and Sasha came up with a fun game today that we're calling "chubby cheeks." She loves playing mimicking games with us (she's so funny because she's like six months old and two years old, all at the same time). In this game Steve puffs out his cheeks and then she pushes on one cheek to get a super-fun raspberry noise. Then she'll puff out her cheeks and do the same. She has even started to figure out how to make a raspberry noise herself! It's a fun game, except for the times when she grabs Steve's cheek in her fat little fist. Fortunately, Sash doesn't like Steve's prickly chin, so she lets go quickly and her little dagger-nails (how do baby nails get so sharp?!?) have yet to draw blood. But the trip is still young :)
We've also found that Shura's prone to jealousy if Mommy and Daddy kiss. We've started a fun game where Steve and I share a smack and then she immediately insists on a kiss from each of us. It's a super-cute game, and a fun way to get kisses from our busy little girl.
Prayer requests: It's time to start praying for patience! We have now completed our bonding period, which is awesome, and tomorrow we go notarize our paperwork to petition for a court date. We're in a great routine and we really are enjoying our time here and, of course, our little girl, but we can feel a little restlessness starting inside. Please pray with us that we will simply enjoy the here and now and not worry too much about what the next days or weeks may or may not bring. We eagerly anticipate moving into our apartment, getting a court date, and bringing the boys here to enjoy this adventure - all good things - but we don't want them to distract from the joys of today.