Thank you ChrisC. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me Xander and XuMei, and the opportunity to stay home and be with them. Thank you for being the kind of Dad I wish I had had, and by being that Dad healing me and so many old wounds. Thank you for being silly. Thank you for being smart and kind and sensitive. Thank you for being funny and goofy and my own personal "lazy eyed psycho". I laugh so hard when I see this picture of you...thank you..:) Thank you for laying on the kitchen floor playing "HA HA" with us. This is all four of us laying with our heads in each others laps and then me trying to hold the camera up and take a photo of it. I used to be sad and lonely and now I am not and a whole lot of that is because of you. Happy happy birthday!
Towards the end of our trip I started just taking pictures of everything. Things we walked past everyday. The view from our hotel window. I know how quickly life overwhelms me and how easily the memories would fade. I also knew I would miss things about Uzhgorod. And people, I especially miss the people. I do not miss worrying about the water. Above is a photo of the inside of our water filter. It started out white. Every night Chris would pump and filter enough water for all of us to brush our teeth and drink the next day. We weren't certain what would happen if we drank the water but we had heard enough stories to be cautious. I forgot frequently and brushed with water out of the tap, also I drank soda and juice with ice, presumably from tap water, with no ill effects. There were NO ILL effects from the alcohol--none. No hang overs, no headaches, nothing. I am not a huge drinker but I did a bit of celebrating and usually I suffer miserably but not with their good vodka and cognac. I tried to drink and eat local products and aside from catching a cold on the plane on the way home I was a healthy traveler. In the small local grocery store there was a wall of vodka:
Through the window at the pharmacy next to the hotel: The pharmacist would not let me take a picture inside the store so I tried to get it through the window. Look at the pink figures on the box slightly left of center. Look very closely. Enlarge it if you want. It is a medicine like Viagra. It made me giggle. Below is a syringe on the cobblestone street just outside the pharmacy. Xander reached to pick it up. I yelped before he touched it and we talked at length about not picking up used medical equipment.
Dried fish in boxes at the market: Fruit at the market: The market was sometimes so busy I couldn't even get through the people. Here it was a slow day: There was a building around the corner from the hotel that was under construction. We saw several construction projects underway through out the city and Chris and I were amazed at how almost all of it is done without the aid of power equipment and tools. The view from the third floor of the Hotel Atlant. Casino: A church spire off in the distance: XuMei and Xander walking toward the Philharmonic.