Vlad-Moscow Updates (12/27-12/30) – LONG POST
So, here are some of the events you missed because we were both sick and then I was too busy chasing Vanie around the houseand just being a mom. I have to admit I don’t really get the chance to get much done while I am with him…
Flight to Moscow:
Vanie was great and didn’t cry for most of the flight except at the end. The problem was that he only slept for 30 min’s while waiting for take off on the plane and then for about 20 min’s on decent and landing. He pretty much stayed awake the entire 9 ½ hrs flight. I didn’t really get to eat anything and only got to use the restroom once about an hour before landing. Vanie had a seat but didn’t really use it and was in my lap for most of the flight. The seat was a lifesaver when it came to putting all his gear somewhere.
Some of the other flight highlights:
• Getting on the plane: We had to take a bus to the plane, not a big deal, except we had to wait in the freezing cold outside to get from the bus on the plane. From what I saw, Russians are not exactly used to letting people with children go first. After 2 minutes in the cold and Vanie screaming with freezing hands (although he was pretty bundled up), I had to use my Bulgarian manners to get in front of the line. No one really helped me with the luggage. They just looked at me trying to carry a baby and two bags up the stairs. I was pretty pissed off.
• The drunk Ukrainian: We had a crazy Ukrainian across the aisle from us who was already drunk when he got on the plane. Although he was nice to us and even entertained Vanie a bit (and told me a hundred times how proud he is of me – most probably the alcohol speaking), he ended up drinking even more and throwing up all over his seat… I am just glad he was on the other side of the aisle. Needless to say he slept for the most part of the flight after that.
• The other helpers: There were two Russian families flying from Vald. to Moscow and then to Sofia (going to Borovez for a ski vacation). We became friends quickly after they found out that I am from Sofia and that Vanie was just adopted. Vanie even played with their kids. Both moms helped me during the flight.
• Vanie’s entertainment: He spent most of the time in my lap playing with the remote control of the individual TV screens we had. The playing was more like banging the remote into the seat, or just drumming with anything he could find. I was really surprised no one complained.
Overall, everything was ok during the flight except that Vanie continued to cough and sneeze and was getting worse than the day before.
We were expected by Lena from the agency and had no problem getting to the hotel. Vanie fell asleep in the car. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott, just a few steps from the Kremlin (which we didn’t even see while there).
The hotel and our room was really nice and we got a crib for Vanie. Only minutes after checking in my parents and sis arrived. I was so happy and excited to see them but also so exhausted, I couldn’t even cry although I really wanted to. I have to say that I wasn’t really who they were looking for. They saw Vanie and just grabbed him out of my hands. They didn’t let him sleep for quite a while. I think it was love at first sight for all of them. :-)
In the same spirit, here are the highlights of the stay in Moscow:
• Vanie: He behaved most of the time and loved spending time with his grandma, grandpa and antie. His cold and cough got worse. Lena even helped us get him to the US embassy doctor who told us Vanie just had a cold and is teething and just has to get through it. We all know that it turn out to be much more serious after that. Vanie had fever twice but we had OTC US and Bulgarian meds to bring it down. I had to promise my mom that we will go to the doctor as soon as we land (which we did). Vanie also became pretty comfortable walking in the room and also behaved in the stroller when he was with my parents.
• Getting the US visa: We had to go to the US embassy to pick up the immigration visa on a really cold and snowy day. Lena and my sis came with us but were not allowed in so I had to carry Vanie alone. Three were a few other families and kids there and Vanie was one of the youngest and most “active” ones there and didn’t stop moving around. He kept throwing pretty smiles and long lashes at the lady who was processing his file and before we knew it we got his passport with his immigration visa.
• The crazy loving grandparents: What can I say, I just love them and I am soooo glad they were there to meet their 1st grandson and to help me with him. They brought Vanie so much stuff that we had to return some of it with it due to lack of luggage space. I arrived in Moscow with one big and one small suitcase and ended up leaving with 4 big suitcases and my carry-on and most of the stuff was toys and cloths for Vanie. My family absolutely fell in love with Vanie and just wanted to take him with them to Sofia. There was one additional bed in my room and they were fighting every every who would sleep in our room (vs their hotel) or who would hold him. The constant thing I heard (from my dad the most): “ok, I think he had enough of nap now, let’s wake him up and play!” :-) I saw my parents turn into kids and they just seemed genuinely happy.
We didn’t really get to see anything outside of the hotel room or the embassy and a few stores (our of necessity) b/c Vanie was not feeling well at all but it was still the best trip ever as I got to see my parents and they got to meet their 1st grandson.
See the following post for pix with the grandparents.
The flight to LAX:
We ended up spending good 2 hours at the airport with my parents as we just couldn’t part. My dad was let inside with us to help us check in the luggage. Remember how we couldn’t figure out how heavy Vanie is b/c the Vlad doctor’s scale was broken? Well, problem solved. There was a luggage scale at the airport and we used it to weigh Vanie. He was about 8.6 kg (19.1 lbs) at that time. All went well except that the coughing continued and Vanie didn’t want anything but formula. It was a long flight, 14 ½ hours with boarding and taking off, and I am very proud that Vanie behaved very well pretty much the entire time. He slept for about 6 hours and fell only once from the chair when he kept turning around.
• Aeroflot: Did you know that this airline serves free alcohol only with the food and all other alcoholic drinks have to be bought? Even with that the flight was full of drunks.
• The plane: We had two out of three seats on the very last raw of the plane, right next to the restrooms and kitchen. Sadly enough, we were on a older Boeing and there was only one restroom with a changing table and it was at the very front of economy class so we had to walk through the entire plane every time we needed to do a diaper change.
• The helpers: There was one family, American husband and Russian wife with their 7 yr old daughter who were nice enough to help me during the flight.
• The accident: I was running out of toys for Vanie and ended up giving him a mustard pack (like the McD ketchup packs) to play with. Of course, he lost interest after 2 mins and just dropped it on the aisle floor and I didn’t pick it up just because. Guess what happened next! Yes, the flight attendant walked over it with the drinks cart, punctured it and sprayed the old lady on the other side of the aisle (who was already unhappy every time Vanie would cough or cry out). It was hilarious: she was so mad, mumbled something in Russian and started cleaning up her pants. It was pretty bad. Her entire leg, purse and table were covered in mustered spots. I felt bad and yet couldn’t stop snickering. C’mon, it was really funny!!!
• Landing in the US: We were sent to the immigration desk (as expected) and had to wait there for at least 30 minutes. For some reason, there was some kind of Pilipino immigration invasion and they were all lined up at the immigration desk, waiting to be processed. We were let in front of them b/c of Vanie but the officer was not familiar with the paperwork so it took some time to get everything processed. After we were done, we asked for someone to help us with the luggage and off were to go out and meet Jason who was waiting for his 2 most favorite creatures to finally come home. You know how the rest of the story goes….