Meet the Kids!

We got stuck in ugly, stink-ola traffic on the way to the airport last night. Hate that. I had to Enjoy Sudoku on my phone in order to keep from freaking out altogether. Fortunately, we made it by the skin of our teeth to welcome this summer’s wonderful host kids, Anastasija and Aleksijs (Nastja and Alosha).

This is their pre-hosting photo. They arrived looking even gorgeouser, which I didn’t realize was possible.

This was how these dogs elected to help out with last-minute preparations yesterday. Can you say freeloaders?

Additionally, two of the three little dogs thought it a good idea to stop and poop in the international arrival terminal as we were sprinting to get there, pleasing the airport staff to no end.

Though only a day in, I am struck by how incredibly different this hosting has been/is/will be.

1. Both kids speak really rather good English. It’s a blessing. The language barrier has never been a particular concern for us (with lots of practice under my belt, I could mime-charade many of you under the table).┬áBut to hear all these words I can actually understand coming out of their mouths, and to be able to convey information to them more or less successfully, well, it’s kind of taking my breath away.

2. We have been to their country! Latvia is no longer this nebulous land of orphanages and, well, orphanages, which is all I could picture in hostings past. It’s its own whole place with pizzerias and grocery stores and swoonworthy beet-intensive dishes.

This first day has been mostly dedicated to helping the Nastja (pronounced Nast-ya) and Alosha settle in and trying not to melt in this hideous heat wave. I’m old and astonishingly bad at bearing the heat these days.

We awoke this morning to find a rip-roaring game of Twister in play. Doesn’t the sunlight makes them look like Children of the Apocalypse?

Welcome to America! Please to eat this carb-laden wad we call monkey bread.

Useful! Not.

Can you imagine how much these pretty heads must be reeling right now? I know mine is, and I’m in my own home/city/state/country.

Alosha: “Chihuahuas are a people magnet, aren’t they?”

(Soft thud of Julia’s jaw hitting cement.)

Sunset over the East River. Alosha took that photo, thereby winning the blog-header prize. Nice job, ye young Latvian.

For a whole lot of reasons, my previous blog, Next Stop Latvia, will soon go into password-protected underground. You can still access the content–it just requires a little more interaction and effort, like once. It’ll all be fine. Trust me.