Paris – Oui!

With Deb needing a visa and needing to leave the country, we mixed things up and tried the French! The three hr flight was uneventful, which is wonderful news when traveling with an 8 month old… but after arriving the Metro had a little show for us which was pretty funny:

Abigail posing with the Eiffle Tower. She just wanted cookies the whole time.

If we ever get to visit again, it will be without a baby!  She was pretty good, but carrying her everywhere and considering nap times is not what you want to do when you only have 3 days in a city like Paris. It’s alive at night, over 8000 cafes. I don’t think anyone eats, they just sip wine and talk.

Like NYC, the city is full of internationals, especially around tourist sites.   Some Indian looking folks stepping off of a tour bus found Abbey adorable snapping pictures like she was a rare white unicorn.

Everything in Paris is small, the portions of food, the hotel rooms.  I thought for sure I’d find chocolate milk, didn’t happen.  Lots of french fries though.

The reason we went, the dreaded Ukrainian Consulate

In the consulate we have a funny story.  These places, for us anyway, have not been places where humanity and mercy are shown.  We waited outside for over an hr to secure our place in line, then the doors opened.  You ‘think’ things are moving, but then we waited another hr without any movement, but at least we were warm.  Deb managed to get lost taking Abigail for a walk, and had to take a Taxi back to me.  That’s not the funny part though:)

When it finally was my turn to lunge forward at the glass window, I was greeted by a stereo-typical old Soviet looking man.  He was tall, about 70yrs old (looking), and moved like a turtle.  He took one look at my stack of papers, and mumbled something like “what do you want’ in Ukrainian.  I soon realized we were in trouble, no english, only French and Ukrainian in this building.  With my choppy Russian I explained what kind of Visa we needed, and encouraged him to open my documents.  He refused and basically told us we’d have to go elsewhere.   Finally he opened the stack of papers and began to slo-w-l-y look them over.  His eyes suddenly lit up… “Khargalyk Region?”.. which is where we are from.. He mumbles with a smirk, “I have land in Khargalyk”… Everything changed, he was nice, and processed everything without a question.  When leaving he mumbled again in Ukrainian, “say hi to Khargalyk”. Thankful for the mercy shown.

View from Musee D'Orsee overlooking the Louvre.. the most visited and largest Museum in the world.

Cheryl watched the kids this week, thank you Cheryl!  She is an amazing help to many, especially our family these days.  Dan had to step in last minute to take our kids to school as our plans fell apart.  The boys all took the bus home (public mini bus) this week and are pretty proud of themselves.

It’s getting really cold out, dipping below freezing now at nights and for the first time during the day today.  I should say cold, not really cold.. the ‘really’ cold part is still to come.  So far the house is staying nice and warm.

Tomorrow we have a men’s breakfast at the Cafe and I need to get cooking the meat.  There’s some really good things happening in our town among the students right now, I hope some of them come out for breakfast. Our kitchen is a-buzz at the moment with Deb and Broderic preparing some sort of meat loaf.  Clark is cutting what looks to be cheese, but I’m pretty sure it’s mostly going in his mouth.   Bron is feeding Abigail in her highchair, and Noah is playing his leapster.  After any sort of trip away we realize how blessed we are and extra thankful.

I found out yesterday that KFC has finally arrived in Kiev!  Not a big deal to most, but Deb and I love KFC, probably our most favorite thing to eat when leaving Ukraine.. look out cholesterol levels, here we come!

This week we will be planning for the Christmas Outreach, as well as several meetings for the Cafe documents.  We just found out we will need to pay 10,000 hrv ($1,250) to get the documents finished on the land in one month… otherwise it will be about half that and could take 2-3.   It never ends and so many pitfalls if you take one wrong step. I want to speak before the City Council in the next few weeks, re-establish our vision and heart for the cafe. We’ve opened again the clothing distribution and Tom has been helping families each Friday morning. We’re hoping things like this will highlight our passion to simply reach people with the love of God and be a light, versus trying to make a quick buck with pizza.

Bruce & Deb

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