was up with the possum near dawn this morning -- it was lumbering thru the tall grass in our backyard. it's weird (but productive) to feel your day is 1/4 of the way over by 7 am. i hope ethan will read me books and put me to bed early tonight.
i think i left off musing about a visit to TGIFriday's on my last full day in ukraine. the more i thought about it, the more i started craving fried mushrooms of all things - i have them here about once a year. so i went for the mushrooms (which were very tasty) and a beer and eavesdropped on an american conversation and on my way out bumped into someone i knew from forest park! it was a couple and their two kids who had just arrived in kiev - they're on their way to adopting their 3rd. we had met them at a bbq in wheaton last summer held by sue kane who did our homestudy. small world!!
my visit to the embassy was quick and uneventful, and after lunch with anatole (who helps the team here) and roman, i was off to the airport. with a flight of less than 2 hours, i landed in vienna for an overnight stay. what an unbelievable city! this never occurs to me when i see chicago's massive skyscrapers, but i couldn't believe that the earth could support vienna's massive collection of 5-story heavy block baroque-looking buildings. and one is more ornate than the one before it. i walked around with my jaw at my knees for a couple hours. vienna is not as dainty and scrubbed as salzburg - and with dark storm clouds looming during my tour the gargoyles and busts and statues decorating the buildings seemed even more ominous. some cities pour their resources into their churches and to vienna, every building is a chapel to its purpose - government, the arts, and religion.
after a wonderful german-style hotel (buffet) b'fast, i was back at the airport for the flight to chicago. it was a long, 9-hour daytime flight. it seems so much longer when it's not an overnite flight and when you're anxious to get home. my mom, dad, and ethan met me at the airport and were first, front and center outside the double doors of baggage customs. ethan seemed taller and older and gave me the biggest hug of his life. neighbors were out front when we drove up and our bock had turned so lush and green, new neighbors and puppies were settling in and shelley and haley and mary b. had added some beautiful flowers and baskets to the porch for such a warm welcome!!
ethan's anxious to watch his new train video with me - we'll call sig later today and i'll update again soon! xo bb