Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A very jungle adventure

After several requests, here is the wedding story you have all been waiting for.

So here we are, in the jungle. And let me just remind you that we're in South America in December, 8 degrees off the equator. So it's hot. Very hot. And humid. Very humid. So I'd say it's about...oh...92 degrees or so. Plus humidity. So, like I said, we're in South America. And in South America, nothing runs on time. So when we got there to the wedding at 6 (wedding invitation said 6) I wasn't even remotely surprised that there was hardly anyone there. No problem. But my mission until the wedding starts is to keep my toddler clean in his snazzy outfit and happy. In the jungle. In the rainy season. We were doing good for about 5 minutes until Matthew saw the horse David was going to ride in on for the wedding. Matthew LOVES animals. So I asked David if Matthew could pet the horse. It was then that we found out the horse was in heat. No, I don't think it's ok for my 2 year old to pet a horse in heat. So Matthew starts to scream, "My horsey, my horsey." Oh no. Give him the pacifier (something that is reserved for bed), we're desperate now.
The pastor showed up at about 6:45 and shortly after that, we were ready to start. Oh, wait. Someone forgot to bring the flowers for the flower girls. She has to drive home and get them. Meanwhile I'm chasing Matthew around and I felt like every other word out of my mouth was "no." I hate that. He's so upset and now he wants to hold the ring bearer pillow. So I give it to him. Yes, he's 2. He carries it around, so proud. At one point one of the ring falls off and Nana double knots it back on.

So now it's...maybe...7:20 or so? And we're ready to start! Line up in the back (in the mud. My heels were sinking in...and by this time Matthew has already fallen several times and gotten his white knee high socks dirty.) One of the flower girls says to me, "can I see the rings?" I hand her the pillow. "There's only one?" "No, there's two." "No, there's one." (I examine the pillow). A million curse words go through my head. There is only one ring. Stop the wedding. Biggest parenting blunder EVER. Who gives their two year old the pillow to play with before the wedding? Apparently me. I shed many tears, but luckily not till after the wedding. We lost a wedding ring. Whose ring did we lose? We think it's Daniela's. I'm praying out of my mind as we search in the mud, under the chairs, up on the tile dance floor. No. A million people are searching for the rings. But it's dark, and if someone stepped on the ring in the mud, it's not going to be found. People are using camera lights, cell phone lights.

Nothing. I go and find Daniela, and in my broken Spanish, I tell her. She is a rock star and handled the drama remarkably well. But the show must go on, and David was not deterred from marrying his beautiful bride. So we hook up Nana's wedding ring to the pillow and start the show at 7:45.

David rides in. On the horse. In heat. Needless to say, the horse was not thrilled with it's job or David. David hurried off the horse. (are you laughing yet? This story is unbelievable).

So things start after the horse in heat. Matthew did a great job walking down the aisle.
Daniela was stunning (Latinas probably look the very best of any race in a white dress). The vows were beautiful and Daniela (who doesn't really speak English) had written her own vows in perfect English (with much help, I'm sure) and clearly had practiced them religiously. It was not simple English, either. I cried. No surprise. I don't think I was the only one.

And then, in the most unbelievable moment of the entire night, a mango fell from a tree and landed on Daniela. It didn't hit her head (luckily) but landed on and stained her beautiful white dress. She kept right on going. Have I mentioned she was a rock star? And then it came time to hand the rings. It was at this moment that David noticed we hadn't lost Daniela's ring, but his own. Both of the rings on the pillow were women's rings. So he had to ask the translator to "borrow" his wedding ring. At this point, full laughter ensued.

The wedding finished, and they were married and thrilled and beautiful. I stood up and soon realized I was being attacked by some bug or something. My feet burned and the burning got worse, and worse, and worse. I was nearly screaming, and I assumed I was being attacked by fire ants. I never did figure it out, but I had to change shoes and put loads of bug spray on my feet to stop the insane pain.

The reception was crazy. We're not sure how much was a cultural difference and how much was just the insanity of the night. David told us that he wasn't too happy with the caterer of the wedding, so it clearly wasn't all cultural differences. There was so much running and dancing and laughing and happiness on the part of my 2 year old. And it's 90 degrees. And there is no water. All they served at the reception was soda. So Tim and I gave Matthew all the water we brought. Tim drank the soda, but it made me sick. First, they passed out the chicken (which was, I will say, excellent). In Peru you're getting chicken on a bone. We received no knives. Only a fork. After we were all finished, we received napkins. Unreal. And when it was time for the cake, they cut the cake and slapped a piece on your hand. No napkins. No plates. No fork. Hysterical. I wasn't mad. It was just so funny. The whole night was so funny. And then all the Peruvian mothers and grandmothers were chasing my 2 year old around trying to give him cake. What on earth? It was so strange. They paid him no mind except to try to feed him cake. I tried to be so careful about what Matthew ate to avoid sickness (we were successful) and the missionaries I was with told me not to give Matthew the icing. So I thought avoiding the cake altogether was best. So I'm chasing the Peruvian women around who are trying to hand Matthew cake and repeatedly telling them, "no gracias." They must have thought I was the meanest mother.

And really, the entire night just started off funny. Tim and I were both in the wedding party as you can tell by the pictures. Tim and I were quite vibrant in our outfits. Needless to say, the gringos (us white folks) can't pull off the bright turquoise as well as the darker skinned latinos. Plus, I was standing by all these tiny little bridsemaids while pregnant. I felt like such a whale.

Matthew had a ball. He danced the whole night (and ate a few bugs off the floor) and even found a girl to chase. She played (very) hard to get.

I cannot state how great of an attitude the bride and groom had about the whole thing. I am a big fan of both of them and I am so glad we went to this very jungle adventure.

Matthew was still in good spirits when we got back to our jungle home at about midnight. First, a very gracious missionary let us use her hot water to take a shower. And even after all that fun, Matthew was still content. He was such a trooper through so many late nights and long flights. He's always been so flexible. I love my little buddy.
And the moral of the story is: if you think you've ever made a giant parenting blunder, I have to ask you, have you lost a wedding ring?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

To Russia for waiting

Well, we got word today that our documents are being sent to Russia. They have assigned us a region of Russia to where they are sending our documents. We have been assigned the region of Vladivostok. This is one of the most common regions for families to be receive their referrals from, as they are currently processing very quickly. We have to rush to get a document filled out and signed for the Vladivostok region. It is my understanding that there are many orphanages in this region. I spoke with a family in the beginning of they process and they adopted three beautiful children from this region. They all had blonde hair, which is surprising to me considering the region is most definitely in Asia.

I am excited to get this news because now I know where our little girl will come from and also where we will be traveling to. I looked it up, and Vladivostok is in eastern Russia, near China, Korea, and Japan. This is a little sad to me because when we fly we have to 1st fly to Moscow to get some paperwork done in the capital....a little out of the way. It's like saying, "well, I have to fly to Rome first, just to fill out paperwork, and then I'll fly to Chicago to get the child." We met a flight attendant on our trip to Peru who was Russian and she said that if we fly through Alaska, it won't be too bad but that if we do indeed have to fly to Moscow, which I think we do, we're looking at about a 10 hour flight to get from the states to Moscow and then another 10 hour flight to get to the region where we need to go. Oh, and we're planning on bringing both boys with us. Awesome. And, the average temperature in January is about 8 degrees. I think in August it's 69 degrees. So if we go any time from October through April (how can you not when you take two trips) we will freeze our tails off.

Never a dull adventure in our family, and this will be no different. I am still so excited to know where our little girl will be coming from. So now we fill out a few more forms, including our immigration forms for us and our daughter. And then we wait. They have told us the wait for a young girl (and we have stressed we will not accept a referral for a girl over 14 months due to the complexities of adopting older children) is 6-9 months, but sometimes is shorter. I think they are always so conservative when they give people times because it is so hard to predict. I am not going to start "counting" our months until mid January because of the Christmas holidays things move very slowly.

And so...for the next couple of weeks we hurry up. Then we wait.

In other news, I have been told that the details of the most craziest wedding ever need to be made public. When I have a moment (or ten) I will blog about Matthew's Peruvian adventure, Tim's really (really) bright turquoise shirt, getting attacked by fire ants, mangos falling on the bride, the worlds biggest parenting blunder that resulted in the loss of a wedding ring, and so much more.