Friday, February 10, 2012

First meeting

Aaron and I along with Adam (translator), Cornell (driver) and Judy (social worker) went to meet the boys for the first time.  We thought we would have to go to the local ministry office first, but only George (facilitator) went to do that.  George said it was a lot of paperwork.

Aaron, Adam, Cornell and I went to pick up Judy at her office.  She made us wait for about 15 minutes.  Adam said it was because she was showing us that she was the boss.  The drive to the boys’ village was about 30 minutes from Miskolc.  Along the way, Adam and Judy were talking.  He said she was letting us know what would happen, but she seemed to be saying more than we were being told.  She would talk forever and Adam would say like 2 sentences.  The plan was to see the boys for 2 hours and then leave for a couple hours so they could eat lunch and take their nap.  We would come back to see them for 30-minutes to an hour.  They did not want to overwhelm the boys.  We were told that the foster parents had done a good job of preparing the boys for our visit, but neither one of us had much hope that they would show any interest in us, and might even possibly be scared.
We arrived at their home and it was very well-kept and a nice home.  The foster father met us outside and took us into the house.  It looked just like the videos and was very clean and well-kept.  The boys are living there with the foster parents, their 2 year old daughter and 2 other foster children.  They came up to meet us but then quickly stepped back.  The foster parents told us to go into the boys’ room where they would be more comfortable.  The 4 of us went in the room with Adam and Judy, and MAN, did the boys come alive!  They wanted to show us all their toys, which were mainly cars, blocks, toddler-size Legos, and stuffed animals.  They even had an Alf toy – when was the last time you saw an Alf stuffed animal or even thought of that TV show?

While we were trying to play with them, Judy and Adam were telling us about their schedules and anything else we might need to know.  Adam said that the foster mom told him that the boys had been going to school and telling everyone that they were going to have new parents and they would get to go on a big plane to America.  They have been very excited!  I’m sure we’ve had some of the same feelings -very excited but when the day comes to leave, there will be plenty of anxiety.
When we were leaving, the foster parents and Judy kept asking us what we thought and if everything was ok; basically, they wanted to know if we were happy with the boys.

We had a good visit with them and even Drew talked to us a lot, though we had no idea what he was saying.  We had been told that Drew was very shy.  We came back to Miskolc to have lunch and rest for a little bit.  As usual, Aaron had no appetite and I was starving.  I decided to visit the local grocery store, but first I needed to exchange some money.  I went to the local bank and it took over 30 minutes to wait in line and get the money exchanged.  I went to the little grocery store and bought some cheese, crackers, package of salami, gum, 2 oranges and a Sprite for less than $5.  Things seem to be very inexpensive here compared to the UK and France. 
When I got back to the hotel, Aaron said he was about to Skype with Gus before Gus left for school.  We got to talk with him briefly and see his handsome new haircut before he left for school.  I took a little cat nap because I only had about 2 hours of sleep last night. 

We went back to see the boys and when we got there, the foster mom told Adam that the boys had been too excited to take naps.  I thought “oh boy, this could be interesting!”  The boys sure where happy to see us and took us straight back to their room and wanted to pick up playing right where we left off.  Aaron played cars and trucks with Sam.  Drew wanted me to play on an overturned box with him.  He would slap his hands on it like a drum and I would mimic his movements.  If he quit, so did I.  If he put his hands out or to the side, so did I.  Every once in a while, he would get this little twinkle in his eye and put his hands up.  I knew he wanted me to tickle him and then he would laugh.  After a while, the foster mom brought them each a yogurt cup and said (through Adam) that they each needed to have a cup of yogurt either mid-morning or in the afternoon.       
Sure enough, the boys were like little American boys who missed their naps and they were more rambunctious.  I also thought they might be testing us.  Adam had told us that the foster parents let them do whatever they want and don’t really discipline them.  It’s hard to get in the habit of say “nem” instead of “no”.  Drew kept saying the same thing to me over and over and when I would look to Adam for translation, he would say “don’t worry about it, just play with him”.  After we left, Adam told me that Drew kept asking me why I talked like that – meaning that he couldn’t understand what I was saying.  I laugh even now because the feeling was mutual J.  At about 4:30, I looked over and Sam was sitting on the couch with his eyes half open, and I made the comment that he looked very tired.  Adam immediately said “Yes, we must go.  It’s been a big day for them.”

We came back to the Hotel Pannonia and had about an hour before we met George for dinner.  He asked what we wanted and I mentioned some traditional Hungarian food.  He took us to Calypso, just  a couple blocks from the hotel.  I had goulash (in Hungary this is like a beef stew) and Aaron had cream of garlic soup.  The waiter brought a small dish of dried peppers (paprika).  Aaron sprinkled some on his soup and George said “No, that’s too much.  It’s too hot.  Take them out.”  Aaron convinced him that it was ok but I did see him wipe his brow a few times while he was eating the soup.  Then Aaron and I decided to share a Greek salad, schnitzel and mashed potatoes.  It was very good, but we were stuffed at the end.  Then the waiter came by to surprise us with traditional chocolate crepes.  He poured brandy over them and lit them on fire.  They were very good!
Now we are back in the room and it’s time for bed.  We are seeing the boys longer tomorrow and I’m sure it will be a busy day.

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