Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting to America, Part 2

(Recap of Part 1: After a very long day of traveling, we got stranded in America and didn't make our connecting flight. We stayed with old friends, happy to have the unexpected reunion). 

We arrived at our friends' (still called X and Y so I can maintain a surprise for one reader) home at around 9:50 p.m. The kids had now been up for 22 hours... So did they go to bed??

Nooooooooooooo! They had some cocoa with organic candy canes (YUM!). OK, still within the realm of preparing for bed... But what did they do next? (Hmm... I'm wondering if one Moscow reader has recognized the mugs on my friends' table...)

Go on a walk in the neighborhood, in the dark, with Y! He took them on a fantastic adventure to find the two "secret" playgrounds and made them feel like bonafide explorers and they LOVED it! He was trying to tire them out while giving me and my friend a chance to catch up; how really sweet...

After the walk, did they head to bed? Noooooooooooooooo!

They put on mountaineering headlamps and explored the backyard, gathering samples of of the plants in the backyard. They admired the stars (you can't see them in Moscow). 

We finally got them to calm down by playing a board game, then they lay down -- at around midnight -- and were literally sound asleep within seconds. It was unreal!

My friends' boys slept through all of this, never venturing out of their room to investigate... I can't even imagine my kids doing that... (I mean, when I hosted book club last week, the babysitter wondered if the girls could have a bit of the tiramisu -- hoping the rum would help to knock them out!)


Oh, it was just grand! First of all, it was an important family holiday* (revealed below). We reminisced about old friends from college and when we lived minutes away from other while Chris was in law school... We were each other's maid-of-honor and we miss each other so much... 

I told her that I'd recently met someone in passing who had lived in that last city where we had been, too -- and that they had longingly spoken of our favorite grocery store* and cafe*, too. It made us miss those spots even more!

We talked about times from our undergraduate and graduate programs, about being pregnant together, about when our kids were babies together...

Then we all had breakfast. A GLORIOUS breakfast of the most amazing bacon, scrambled eggs, muffins and scones. She pulled this all together with no advanced notice of our visit! All while running around to make final preparations for a big party the next day (hint!!!). 

Over breakfast, I told her that I thought she should write two books: one about crafts that are interesting and appropriate for both kids and their parents (she's a genius at this, hint!); and one about gluten-free cooking. Her muffins were INCREDIBLE! (Hint!)

I then told her about two children in Katya's school, a brother and sister who are diabetic and on gluten-free diets. Their mom is finding it a real challenge to cook for them, and I asked my friend if I could share her email with the other mom. At this point, my friend thought of something, and said, "Hey! I have a friend in Moscow who's son is also diabetic; she could be a real resource for that mom!" (You have to have figured this one out by now, M...)

So... one thing lead to another, and my friends told me about this other friend. As she described her, I didn't think we'd met, but I remarked, jokingly, "Moscow is so small, we surely have crossed paths at some point..." 

Oh, how they've crossed...

As we unravelled this mystery, clue by clue, we had goosebumps! We both grabbed our laptop to show each other pictures of the family -- to see if we were talking about the same people. I had some from Thanksgiving, she had some from before her friend's family have moved to Moscow half a year before we did.

Yes, indeed... THEY WERE GUESTS AT THE THANKSGIVING DINNER I HOSTED WITH ANOTHER FAMILY THIS YEAR! (Another family, invited by the other hosts, had in turn asked to add this family to the guest list because they thought we'd all hit it off. How right they were!)

The same little boy, her son's best friend, was on both of our laptops...! I remember hearing how devastated those boys had been to be separated; they had been the best of friends. I also remember how incredibly sad my friend had been when they had left; she and M had been so close, M had been her best friend after we moved away...

So, before I do the final reveal... Here were our older children when they were one...

And when they were three...

And when they were six, four and three...

And yesterday morning!

Surprise, Masha! I feel like an idiot that you and I didn't figure this out on Thanksgiving! I know that Katya (my friend's name is Katya, too) had given me your info before we moved -- and I remember that you and I did e-mail a few times -- but I have no idea why we didn't get together once we arrived! 

I know that that first year in Moscow was so hard for me, tortuous, really... I probably kept waiting until I wasn't such a mess to want to get together; I didn't want to make an awful impression...

When you were at Katya and Ian's, you surely saw the gift I embroidered for them for their wedding present. After they left for their honeymoon, I replicated the wreath of flowers that Katya wore in her hair for the ceremony, and the verse from their wedding program. It was such a fun project! (Ah, the things I got done before kids!)

Here's a close-up of the stitches:

Here we are right before I left... Yikes! Guess I was looking as tired as I felt...

Both girls are now up... It's past 6 a.m. now... Blogging to not feel delirious... My friend Katya blogs, too, and often when pretty darn tired. Don't we all?!

*It was Ben's birthday yesterday!
*We all miss Zingerman's Deli/Shop. 


Annie said...

What a fun post!!!

Tina in CT said...

Talk about a small world indeed!

You forgot to mention that your Katya was named for your friend Katya. It got so confusing when you all lived in Ann Arbor and you'd talk about Katya so I called them Big Katya and Little Katya.

I'm so glad that you all had a chance to visit.

Thanks goodness Katya and Ian were home when you called from the airport.

Tina in CT said...

Katya could write a text on crafts and special cooking along with teaching. Ian could write one on entertaining kids. They are a great pair(and good friends)!

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that your had some time together.
And I can not tell you how much I love your embroidery of Big Katya wreath. It is the most beautiful thing I ever seen done in front of my eyes.

Tina in CT said...

I agree with Olga about the wreath and you were just a beginner too.

I miss Zingerman's holiday cranberry nut bread toasted and spread with cream cheese. Expensive but so worth it!