Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week 1 flew by...

Things are still going so well here.  We couldn't have picked a better girl for our family.  Anya just loves Tony and Bella, and they love her back, as do I.  In fact, I think Todd even enjoys her more than he ever expected to.  I see him making the extra effort to come home more often than he normally does in July (his busiest work month of the year.)  He frequently asks me if she's having a good time, and reminds me (as if I don't already know) that it is important to make sure she has fun while she is here.  He talks to her on the iphone when he is home.  He gave her 2 t-shirts from the farm with our name on them, and she now wears them to bed every night instead of the pj's I got her.  He has even mentioned that "too bad we didn't know about winter hosting, it would have been a better time of year" (meaning he isn't so busy.)  I told him there is always this winter.  I'm sure she would love to come back.  All of this is makes me very happy, coming from someone who had to be really talked into hosting in the first place.  

On the 4th of July we went to a parade in the small farm town next to our even smaller farm town.  It was nothing fancy, but easy in/easy out no traffic, no trouble, so my kind of event!  There were lots of tractors at the parade, a few horses, and floats.  Nothing spectacular, but when your trying to impress a 2 and 3 year old, and a 14 year old orphan, it doesn't take much.  

Speaking of "orphan", I hate that word now, whenever I use it, I feel like I am talking bad about her.  Do any of you other host families feel the same way?  When I am out in public and people ask about her, and they do, because as soon as they realize she doesn't speak English, the questions start flying.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I mean she truly is an orphan, her mom died a year and a half ago, and she has never known her father, and she lives in an orphanage, but she calls it boarding school.  So maybe that's why I feel guilty calling it anything but boarding school.  Anyway, I hope someday she becomes something bigger in life and loses that title of "orphan".  She seems to be very smart, is picking up on English quite well.  So well, in fact, that last night I was talking to my sister about her during dinner, while Anya was sitting right next to me, and I felt the need to use our special "ARP" language, just in case she understood what I was saying.  Don't get me wrong, we are still using the iphone/ipad for most communications, but Anya is definitely understanding more of what is being said around her.  
I was explaining to her one day, why my phone rings non stop during the day, (because I work from home), so then I was telling her that I am nurse, and have a home healthcare company, and either employees or patients are always calling me.  She translated back something that I thought said she wanted to be a nurse too.  Excited to hear that, I clarified that was in fact what she meant, only to find out that no, she does not want to be a nurse, but a doctor.  According to my sister Rachael, who went to Ukraine to interview the orphans for the hosting program, it is rare to find an orphan with such high aspirations for themselves.  Most of them aspire to be a hairdresser, or an actress.  

We are doing many fun things...  as I mentioned before, it seems the simple things are just as much fun as the "fun" things.  Simple things being cooking dinner, playing outside with the kids, making raspberry jelly, painting her bedroom, washing the car.  "Fun" things she really enjoys are swimming at the pool, going to the children's museum downtown, and riding bikes.  (Although she is not a fan of the NHFC rule of wearing a helmet when riding bikes.)  She is a pro at it, must have had a bike in her previous home life, and I am certain she never wore a helmet.   When I showed her the helmet, she shook her head and said, "No".  

One funny thing about Anya, is that whenever she says no, she says "no", but her tone of voice says, "No-Duh!"  I think she is just trying to graciously say no, but it comes across the other way.  At the pool the other day when I offered her a popsicle, and she said "no", I finally told her (on the translator) that when she says "No", her face says, "how dare you ask such a stupid question".   I think it translated correctly, because she thought it was funny.  

Well, I gotta go, I have 30 minutes to wake up all 3 kids and get to my cousins house for Anya's first (I think first) time to ride a horse.   I will post some pictures on Facebook later today, and come back here and post the link to them so you all can see.  


Serafina Maria Sharpe said...

I think that must be a cultural difference. Agnija is very bold in her statements when she doesn't like or want something. It sounds "rude" to us, but it seems that's how they talk.

Sandman said...

Great post. I have big trouble saying orphan now in front of her, and mostly refer to it as a boarding school. People ask so many question in front of her, and it makes me uncomfortable to answer in front if her. I know she is starting to understand much more than she is letting on. We are so in on Christmas hosting if possible. I hope she wants to come back. I know I'd come back if just Bella asked. No one could say no to that face.

Rachael said...

I know exactly what you mean about the orphan thing. I hate using it too, or feel guilty calling him that when others ask, as if he is some sort of pitiful charity case. I have caught myself telling people he is an exchange student if he is with me so as to avoid too many pitying looks abmnd questions in front of him.

There truly is a stigma to it in their culture too. Remember how when I took Katya back to Russia and Tamara was so excited to introduce her to some of the Maria's Children orphans and Katya was all, "what makes you think I'd be interested? I'm not an orphan!!" (anymore)

Francie said...

Great post! She's been so fun to be around and hang out with! She would not try Zumba with me, today! I think she may have been kinda disappointed that it wasn't really a dance lesson, but a workout! Haha! Poor kid.
BTW: You should put an updated photo of her on your blog!

Tina in CT said...

What a wonderful summer for all 5 1/2 of you!

She must be quite smart to be picking up the English so quickly.

Maybe your local university has good scholarship programs and that the dream of being a doctor could become a reality.