Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Home Again

When Tanya bought our Moscow Dnipropetrovsk tickets several weeks ago, the train was almost filled up with families headed to the Black Sea for holidays. The three of us got top bunks in three separate compartments but at least in the same wagon (car). Hoisting Papa up onto the bunk was no easy task but we got him there and he promptly fell asleep and stayed that way till Immigration stop in Bilgorod, Russia at 6:00 am

Clearing Russia at 6:00 am was no problem. I handed the nice lady my passport and looking as stupid as my picture, kept my mouth shut when she asked a question. One of the other ladies in the compartment, briefed by Tanya before hand, answered for me that I had been holidaying with my wife. Stamp, stamp stamp.

It was the *&%#$%@ Ukrainian immigration an hour later in Kharkiv that wanted to put me off the train because I had overstayed my three months and therefore couldn't enter the country. Tanya showed them my Ukrainian Permanent Residency Passport and they said it wasn't an official document. Tanya immediately called Oleg Nikolaievich, our Immigration Officer in P'yatikhatki (Thank God for cell phones as it was 6:00 am there.) who spoke with the border people and sorted it out.

There is always one more imbecile than you have figured on. Sometimes two.

We rolled into Dnipropetrovsk at 12:00 noon and Andrei was there to meet us and drive us back to Zhovti Vody. First stop in ZV was Roman and Lena's apartment. They got married and moved from Dnipro to Zhovti Vody while we were away. Watching Roman with his Grandfather was so sweet. He kept hugging him and patting him and just couldn't keep away from him. It had been 8 years since Roman had been to Abakan and 16 years since Papa had been here.

Not sure when Papa had seen Andrei last, he had never met Tanya nor Lena before. When Masha got out of Kindergarten at 5:00 pm we went and got her. She was so excited. Not only was her beloved Babushka home but she had brought Pradeduska too, whom she had never met. In Moscow when Pop's legs were threatening to give out, Tanya wasn't so sure that my insisting that Papa come to visit was a good idea but watching him and her family greet each other made it all worth while.

Every once in a while I do things right. Makes up for the rest.

He is 78 next week. That is old in this country. His birth certificate says he is only 77 but his mother fudged the date in later years somehow to keep him out of the army one year longer. If we didn't get him here this year it wasn't likely going to happen. His grandsons needed to see him again and his great granddaughter needed to know this man, if only to have a memory to attach stories to in later years.


  1. Wow. you made it happen. Great!

    Yes, family do deserve to get to know one another, and see one another now and then.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how you can consistently spell those long names correctly....with no vowels....then again, you could be spelling them all wrong and I wouldn't know. Thank god you're home safe and sound.

  3. glad you're back