Nikolai met us at the airport about 1/2 hour late and we were just about to get worried when a really nice man (a taxi driver I assume) offered us his cell phone. We called and confirmed we were here and a few minutes later Nikolai greeted us, he is 100% fluent in Spanish, he lived in Cuba for 5 years so even though his English is excellent his Spanish is even better and he can communicate with Hector perfectly. He took us to to get some of our money exchanged, did a quick grocery store run for us and helped us get into our apartment.
We will venture out in a few hours to find a restaurant for dinner. We'll meet Nikolai again so we can get our phone and then we'll head to bed so that we are fresh and rested for our early 9am appointment with the SDA.
TGI Friday on a Wednesday night, we have no idea what to expect as far as language so we played it safe tonight.
The language is such a barrier right now, I'm sure it will get better soon.
We think that says something about Mexico, so Hector thought it deserved a picture.
I still cannot believe we are here. I truly believe God had a hand in this one. I called United Airlines around 11:30pm Monday night (after calling every hour on the hour) looking for an opening on any flight going through to Kiev the next day (our last possible chance of making our SDA appt). I kept getting nothing, no seats available, no flights available. On my last effort, after seeing some encouraging words from friends on Facebook to not give up, I called United again and decided to ask the agent if there were any first class seats available. It was then (and only then) that the agent said let me do some looking around here. She said she saw an Austrian Air flight through Vienna and then to Kiev. She wasn't able to get through to them but put in the request and said to check back again early the next morning (Tuesday) to see if we got the seats. Hector and I went to bed figuring it just wasn't going to happen and that we had to prepare for being delayed until June if we missed our appointment on 4/22. I set my alarm for 3 am and checked the computer immediately and wasn't able to see anything. I called United and there it was...two confirmed seats going through Vienna to Kiev and we had to be at the airport in Sacramento in two hours!!! It was a miracle getting the seats but we still had to worry about whether or not the flights were going to operate due to the volcano. Every single leg of the flight we PRAYED that we would get through and every single leg of the flight did. It was Austrian Air's FIRST flight back to Vienna in 4 long days...we were on their first flight since the eruption. We got to Vienna and found that Kiev airport was open to all Austrian Air flights as well...we were GOLDEN!
(By the way, the international airport in D.C. and the airport in Vienna were eerily quiet and calm. Not many people and no chaos like I expected there to be...interesting!)
A picture fromm the plane going through the volcano ash cloud, you can see the black sky under us. Scary!
I still have to pinch myself. We made it! We're here! We are going to meet Sofia at the earliest this Friday and at the latest on Monday. Again, we'll hope and pray for another miracle and that would be to get an early referral to Sofia's orphanage after our SDA appointment so that we can hop on a train in time to see her on Friday 4/23. Otherwise, we will get our referral Friday afternoon and will have to wait until Monday to see her since the orphanage needs to open our case on a weekday. We'll take it either way we can get it but you can bet I'm praying we are on an overnight train Thursday night!!! Sofia's orphanage is in Dnep which is about 8 hours away from Kiev.
I can't tell you how comforting it is to know how many people are supporting us, praying for us and cheering for us right now. We feel incredibly blessed and we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all of you. You are all on this journey with us. We feel it!