Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Little about Our Trip

Well, our little mini-vacation ended up being alot of fun. The weather was absolutely beautiful and the first time this year I could wear a tank top and flip flops. :) I love it!

Our drive down was uneventful. Emma does well in the car. After about two hours of driving, she finally asked, "Are we almost there?" Terry and I burst out laughing. We were both wondering when those words would come out of her mouth!

I'll bet you've never seen a kid so excited to see a hotel room. Upon arrival, there was all kinds of dancing, clapping, whooing and jumping on her "new" bed. We stayed at three different hotels over the five days, and each one got the same reaction. The last hotel we stayed in was Emma's favorite. We stayed there for three days. She had her own bedroom with a TV. We don't usually let her use the remote at home (far too complicated with all Terry's "gadgets") but the one at the hotel was very straight-forward, so I taught her how to use it. Talk about addicted. I think she enjoyed using the remote more than she actually liked watching the TV!

Our first morning in Calgary was kind of a drag. We had to get up early for our appointment at the US Consulate to apply for Emma's travel visa. The appointment was absolutely not what I expected. In fact, I would describe the experience as, well, sort of --- Ukrainian. (No offense to the Americans reading this post!)

First off was trying to find the darn place. I was fully expecting to find something similar to the Canadian Embassy we saw in Ukraine. You know, a building fenced off with a flag blowing outside. When we neared the address of the building, I studied the surroundings carefully to find the American flag. No luck. I started to panic as we only had minutes until our appointment. We flagged down a local who pointed us in the right direction...into a regular looking office building. Hmmm. OK? When we entered the building, I thought for sure we were in the wrong place. A coffee shop, a drugstore and other shops lined the first floor almost like a shopping mall. But in the distance, I spotted a very official looking man who turned out to be the customs guy. We walked up to him and informed him of our appointment and that's when all the action began. Take off your coats.... show me this document and that me proof of payment....stand here so I can scan you. He rushed us through this whole process so fast and then whisked us off to the elevators. When the door opened, he kicked everyone out and let us on. The Consulate was on the tenth floor. When we got there, the whole process of coats off and scanning happened again. We were given a number and shuffled into a room with about fifty chairs. Our number was next. We sat for about a minute before our number was called. We went up to a little window and passed over all of our documents which I had gone over a million times to make sure they were perfect. The lady asked us to have a seat and she would be with us once she had gone through the paperwork.

I couldn't believe how fast and efficient the whole process was going. We took our seat among the others and waited to be called back up. After about an hour, we started to wonder what was going on. We were SOOOOO bored because there was nothing allowed in the I-Pods, no cell phones. There were no snack machines or beverages of any kind. We watched as many people were called up to the windows and were getting denied visas for various reasons. I really prayed that we had not made the three hour drive for nothing. It reminded me of the SDA rejecting a dossier for forgetting to dot an I or cross a T. Don't get me wrong, I know it's serious business and they're not going to let just anyone into the US, I was just hoping I didn't forget a minor detail which would put our application in jeopardy.

FOUR HOURS LATER (ouch!!!!) we were finally called up to the window. Another typical Ukainian "hurry up and wait" experience. We walked a little apprehensively to the window, wondering what the verdict would be....."OH, she's your daughter? And your both Canadian? No problem!" What!? It took you four hours to figure that out!!! Whatever. I won't question the gracious people who have allowed us to travel with our daughter into their country. We were just very happy to have the whole thing overwith!

After that, it was off to the hotel for some fun....

Here we our enjoying our lunch at a beautiful outdoor restaurant....

We had lots of fun on the rest of our trip. We visited the zoo and even took a trip out to Banff so Emma could see the mountains.....

In Banff, Emma spotted some horses and said, "Can I sit on the back?" How could we say no? We enjoyed the most beautiful one hour trail ride through the mountains...

Overall the trip was awesome. I was a little concerned what effect the change in routine and being away from home would do to Emma. But everything went great. She behaved very well and we all had a lot of fun. Actually, the time together seemed to really strengthen our attachment which seemed a little bit diminished since I had returned back to work.

Things have been better since getting back as well when it comes to me working. Emma seems to be getting used to it. We make it a habit of her letting me call me at work after school and sometimes she and daddy come down and see me to bring me a slurpee. Emma really enjoys these things and it seems to be making the transition easier.

This week is a huge week at work. I can't go into any details why as of yet. All I can say is that I need a lot of prayer for favour. I'll let you know more later.....

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