the last week has been extremely hard for me. i'm dying without art here. he's been gone for six days and i am exhausted to the point of getting sick. six days by myself with disobedient, bored kids is one thing at home, where things are familiar. but here, with my mother-in-law hanging over my shoulder, trying to forcibly make me eat every five minutes and making doomsday predictions about how horrible our life is going to be here...it's been hard. i could stand it if art was here, but he took a train down to the city we're moving to, in the attempt to find us a flat to live in. he did find a place, and he's coming back to get us, but he can't get back soon enough in my opinion.
today i had a total meltdown. we went outside to this crappy little playground to let the kids run around for awhile, and it was bitterly cold. all the playground is made of metal, and cold metal instantly sucks all the warmth right out of you. well anyway, the kids were freezing, so we were going inside. at the last minute xander hung back and started crying that he wanted to get in the car and go home (wherever that is) so i turned back to get him, and the door to the apartment building shut behind me. all the buildings here have coded locks that you can't open without a special key, and my mother-in-law was already inside with ilya. i banged on the door for her to let me in, and i don't like to assume the worst about people but i don't see how she didn't hear me. you can hear everything echo up the stairwell. and she'd only just got inside! i was so upset. i was already freezing, and xander was blue and shivering. plus his plaintive little request to "doh home" as he says made me feel wretched for him. my poor kids don't even know which was is up anymore. i totally freaked. here i am, standing outside in ten degree weather with my freezing kid, with no way of getting inside and nowhere else to go. i burst into tears. i had no shame. i think the stress of everything that's happened the last few weeks just finally broke me or something. i mean, this is the third month of not having my own home. everyone has been really nice for the most part, and very hospitable, but i don't want hospitality anymore--i want HOME. anyway, i stood there, crying, looking at my shivering child (who was saying, "don't cry mama, i make you better") and finally i saw a woman heading toward the door to our building. i ran up behind her, trying to wipe my eyes, and she saw me and got all worried like i was some upset drunk or something. i tried to explain that i don't have a key, and that i don't know the number of the apartment to call up, and she says, "you're art's wife, aren't you?" great. i'm famous. i'm the big stupid american queen of the meltdowns. oh well. i didn't care. i was inside. i had to avoid art's mom when i got up to the apartment, because i was so angry at her that i didn't trust myself not to get tetchy. in her defense, i don't think she's the type to do something like that on purpose. although she did have a freak out session of her own when i refused to eat the ground up liver paste she tried to make me eat because i'm "anemic". she threw the bowl down and told me to make my own food next time. i guess i'm not the only one feeling the stress.
to make matters worse, my phone doesn't work. my cell phone gibbers at me in russian, and art's mom doesn't really understand anything technologically related so she can't help me. so i can't even call art to cry on his shoulder. not that he needs the extra burden right now. by tomorrow he will have spent four days total on a train, travelling back and forth between here and novorossysk.
but here i am, being a total puddleglum. things aren't really all that bad i guess. the day before yesterday we went to the airport to pick up the box the airline lost. i was really glad they found it, especially when i opened it up and discovered that art, at the last minute before we left, had stuffed it full of all my clothes. i was bummed enough when i realized all my art supplies would have been gone, but my clothes? i guess i would have had the truly russian experience of wearing the same pair of pants and shirt for a month at a time. ha. thankfully it all worked out.
another good thing: yesterday the sun came out in full. it was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. we took the boys into st. pete to go to a new aquarium they've built there, and ilya really got a kick out of riding the metro. he was so excited to see snow, until he picked it up and realized it was cold. then he cried for about ten minutes. apparently the concept of cold is something a florida-born child can't really get his head around. the kids liked the aquarium, especially the seals they had there in a big tank. there was also a glass tunnel with a moving walkway that we had to go on several times to satisfy the kids. i don't think they even looked at the fish, they were so fascinated by the walkway.
so all is not horrible here after all. i think once we're settled, and the kids have a normal atmosphere to play in, things will be better. right now, however, i just want to mistress of my own house again. i used to complain at times that i had to do all the housework and shopping and cooking, but now i would give anything to not rely on someone else for the necessities of life. maybe this is selfish, i don't know. God has blessed us, to be sure, and often i'm not grateful for what i have when i should be. i have a family i love. healthy kids. a roof over my head even if it isn't my own. these are things to thank God for.