Having a tough time getting uploads tonight form the hotel......
So we went shooting today and received lessons from a very business like old man who really knew his stuff. The kids and I shot a 22 and Michael shot something else--the old man assured me that Michael's gun was better suited for men while mine was much nicer for women and children. LOL Anyway, I did great, getting a few 8's and a 9 while Natasha blew everyone away, missing the first few shots completely but nailing it dead on for the last few. IF college doesn't work out, the sniper school would be lucky to get her!
Dima took us on a trip to the zoo, which was really more like a "learning center" but nothing like an American zoo. It was two rooms, both indoors, with small animals in it like snakes, some gheckos, leaf ants, turtles, and some monkey's and birds. THe kids loved it because the benevolent old woman tending the place was really softhearted and let the children hold everything that wouldn't bite their fingers off. The tree you see a pic of is in the entry to the zoo and behind it was the sleeping young homeless person.
The pictures were meant to demonstrate the extremes here....the sleeping homeless youngster, the seemingly abandoned building, which was NOT abandoned, the gorgeous, immaculate flower beds, and so on and so forth.....The apartment buildings remind me of housing projects in Columbus (Not NOLA!) or of immigrant housing up North during the 1940's--things we read about and saw pics of in high school history. Yet at the same time, the only other place where I have seen such a high concentration of BMW's, Mercedes, and Land Rovers was in Sloane Square in the 1990's. More so than in the US, wealth and poverty in interwound in every sidewalk scape.
While I can appreciate the government's requirement that we "bond" with the children while under the watchful eye of their social system, I do believe it creates a false situation. We are in a hotel room that is smaller than my living room and their are 4 of us, day in and day out. The kids are obviously used to close confinements, but Michael and I could use a room of our own, a distinction between family time and our time. For one week or so, this constant togetherness would be fine, but it is a total of 20 days for me and half that for him. I think after a few more days, Riga will be good for us--bigger place, different things to do. In a few days, I will have walked their legs off and we will have seen all of Daugavpils. They were begging to rest tonight.
I have also put the stops on the desserts at every single meal. It is becoming expensive and we can go get things in the grocery store for half the price, so while we must eat our meals out, Iam insisting on more economical snacking. We also had to put the stops on the soft drinks--one a day for the kids is MORE than enough.
So, we are down to 13 more days. I will be fine if the days stay like today and we are spared from more rain! TOmorrow Dima will show us some local church that is supposed to be nice. The next day we are expected at the social workers office and then after that we head to Riga to see Michael off and visit some site there. And I can do LAUNDRY!!! WHoopie! WE have resorted to Fabreeze for jeans to eliminate the smoke smell and simply washing undies and things we really need.
Keep your fingers crossed that the "drinking boys" give me some rest tonight!