3/26 8:30 am Russia Time

Breakfast was YUMMY and basically the first meal Deana has had since having pizza in Moscow Saturday. She really enjoyed it! She needed it too because she is very nervous about court today. As I type, she is rehearsing for court with her new translator, Natasha. Natasha speaks beautiful English and is very, very nice. I think her presence is calming to Deana and she is giving very specific feedback which I believe is helpful for Deana.

If you are awake now, please pray for Deana!

Some of the information Deana needs to recite to the judge are dates and details that are difficult to remember, especially things like when she received her fingerprints, etc. (especially since she had this done several times for different agencies). But Natasha is very calm and supportive and has helped give ways to recall the details when Deana is in front of the judge.

Okay, as I am sitting here trying to be a wallflower (really!) I am getting anxious myself, so I am going to talk more about other aspects of our trip.

When flying into Moscow, the first thing I noticed that there was no snow in sight! Secondly, I was amazed that the skyline looked very much like Los Angeles with their tall buildings and long lines of brake lights signifying traffic on the highways. Our landing was quite rough – the first time where I seriously thought we were going to crash – but that was quick and it did a wonderful job of making sure I was wide awake! As I eluded to earlier, we followed the masses once getting off the plane – unfortunately no airline personnel spoke English – we waited in a long, very slow moving line only to find out we were in the wrong place. We were told the correct place to go and we quickly headed to immigration and got through with no problems. No questions on where we were staying, where we obtained our Visas, etc. (of course not, because this time I knew how to answer them!). Because of our delay, our luggage had been set aside but was easy to get. The trouble was there were no carts available and we walked everywhere and finally resolved ourselves to pulling the massive luggage. When we finally got through customs I was so relieved to see Olga #3 with the sign with Deana’s name! She and our driver helped out and we headed to the train station.

Moscow – at least the portions that we saw – seem like many other large cities we have seen throughout the world. The first thing that was different about Moscow versus NN was that most of the cars on the road were recognizable and, if you kept your focus on the traffic, you could imagine yourself in Los Angeles on the 405 near downtown LA. There were Lexus, Mercedes, Hyundai’s, Toyotas, and very few Russian autos. In fact, the billboards showed advertisements that looked decidedly American – it was only when they got closer that you realized the letters were distinctively Russian. It was almost refreshing to be in a place that was not that different from home. The weather was slightly cold – I’d say in the high 50’s or perhaps low 60’s. I was wearing my flannel CML jacket and that was perfect. No hat, no gloves, etc. What a difference from our first trip to Russia!

The train was a fun experience, although admittedly we slept most of the time. Had Olga #3 been a bit more informative (or, at least, provided the correct information) I think I would have slept more soundly. You see, I had asked if we’d be informed when our stop had arrived – she said no. So anytime the train slowed down for a station, I felt compelled to figure out if we had reached NN. As it turned out, a train representative came to our compartment 30 minutes before our stop to advise us that it was approaching! Alas, I will know that for our return trip. The train itself was very comfortable and now we can say we’ve ridden another train in a far away country!

One piece of drama for the morning – in her conversation with Natasha, Deana realized that she was supposed to have brought pictures depicting her first visit with the children in addition to the two framed pictures that are gifts for the judge. Of course, I had also moved all the pics I had on my laptop harddrive to my PC at home! This, evidently, is a big issue that had the potential of causing great anger in the judge. So they are trying to get to a print shop before Deana’s court appearance as she had some on her CF card she uses for her camera. ANGST!

I had better focus on my homework now. I will write more when D gets back from court.

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